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Televisualist: The Rise of Jimmy Fallon (and Also, We Still Hate the Olympics)

Each week, Torontoist examines the upcoming TV listings and makes note of programs that are entertaining, informative, and of quality. Or, alternately, none of those. The result: Televisualist.

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Not pictured: Canadian athletes taking selfies with Vladimir Putin, because seriously, what the hell, you guys.


Today in Olympics: Lots and lots of snowboarding, two-man bobsled (you can cheer on the Jamaicans, because come on, why wouldn’t you cheer on the Jamaicans, they’re the only reason to watch the Winter Olympics, really), women’s mass biathlon (this is like the seven thousandth biathlon event; how many biathlons are necessary? Do we just want to give Norway medals? Couldn’t we do that without biathlons?), team ski jumping (sadly, they do not all jump off the ramp at the same time, so this sport is a lie), and Canada versus Switzerland in the women’s hockey semifinals. (all day, CBC, TSN, SportsNet, and NBC)

The Simpsons rerun of the week: “Gorgeous Grandpa,” from last year, in which Grandpa turns out to be a former professional wrestler. It also features a really brilliant Mr. Burns song: “You’ve got to love to be hated / find the good in being bad / oh the crowd is full of gentlemen / but they’ve paid to see the cad.” (Fox, 11 p.m.)

The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon should prove a welcome change from Jay Leno’s antiquated, mediocre, nobody-ever-really-liked-it-but-it-stuck-around show, considering that Jimmy Fallon’s Late Night proved to be an excellent talk show, friendly and engaging, like a warm blanket made out of puppies or something like that. Anyway, Fallon’s first guests are Will Smith and U2, so yeah, big times. (midnight, NBC)


Today in Olympics: women’s giant slalom, short-track speed skating (the roller derby of speed skating, except everybody has knives on their feet, because skating), ice-dancing finals (“it’s like team figure skating, but less exciting!”), halfpipe snowboarding, and the “men’s individual Gundersen,” which is proof that the Olympics are just fucking with us now. (all day, CBC, TSN, SportsNet, and NBC)

Tonight in West Wing reruns: “In The Shadow of Two Gunmen,” the first of the second season premiere two-parter that follows the assassination attempt where Josh gets shot and that kicks off the best season of the show and one of the best in television history. (CITS, 8 p.m.)


Today in Olympics: Women’s giant slalom medal finals, halfpipe medal finals, more short-track speed skating, women’s semifinals in curling (how can you stand the suspense of waiting to see who makes curling finals, really), yet more biathlon, and women’s bobsled. (all day, CBC, TSN, SportsNet, and NBC)

Nature tonight is all about honey badgers, presumably because the good folks at PBS know how to cash in on a meme: i.e., with educational science programming! That’s what moves the tote bags! (8 p.m.)

Super Fun Night concludes and, well, it wasn’t that good, really, so we are marking its demise with solemnity. Solemnity we say. (City, 9:30 p.m.)


Today in Olympics: “Team Gundersen” (really), the gold medal match in women’s curling (which will either have Canada involved or people will just complain a lot because we didn’t make the finals), the women’s bronze medal and gold medal games in hockey, and women’s figure-skating free skate (actually, technically the sport calls it “ladies’” rather than “women’s,” but we say hell with that noise). (all day, CBC, TSN, SportsNet, and NBC)

Aw, hey, Ever After! We remember when every girl we knew was totally into this sorta-feminist (but still sometimes questionable) “realistic retelling” of the Cinderella story, with Drew Barrymore in the Cinderella role and also no magic. Man, that was a long time ago – wait, only 1998? Man, we could’ve sworn this was early ’90s. That makes us feel better. (Lifetime, 8 p.m.)


Today in Olympics: Men’s gold medal curling, men’s semifinals in hockey, team pursuit speed skating (which is sort of like tag on skates, except there’s no tagging), and still more goddamn biathlon. Maybe the biathlon events start on day one of the Olympics and just go the whole time? That might make sense. (all day, CBC, TSN, SportsNet, and NBC)

Despite its title, Hello Ross has nothing to do with Ross from Friends but is instead a vehicle for Ross Matthews. Does that disappoint anybody else? We miss Friends. We would even take Joey at this point. (E!, 10 p.m.)

The Weekend

This weekend in Olympics: On Saturday, we have men’s biathlon (of course we do), the men’s hockey bronze medal game, the women’s figure-skating gala performance, slalom skiing, and four-man bobsled. On Sunday, there are the end of four-man bobsled and the gold medal men’s hockey game—and then we’re done with stupid Olympics until 2016. We will have made it. Our long struggle is nearly over, people. (all day, CBC, TSN, SportsNet, and NBC)

As if by magic, as the Olympics leave us, The Amazing Race comes back! This is another “all star” season and features a lot of repeat All Stars (the cowboys, the Harlem Globetrotters, etc.) but so what: it’s still the Amazing Race, and that’s so much better than the Olympics it ain’t even funny. (CTV, 8 p.m. Sunday)


  • Basshat

    We get it; the writer is not a fan of the Olympics. If he was funny, the daily whine might be amusing but this just comes off as needy and self-indulgent.

    • dsmithhfx

      I like it that someone in the media has the cojones to admit they hate the Olympics. I don’t actually hate them, I don’t pay any attention to them. They are a collosal waste, though.

    • waltkovacs

      It’s a column about what is on TV, and the only thing on TV is the Olympics because it takes over several networks, and the rest sort of give up trying to counter program, instead just holding off the good stuff for sweeps anyway.

  • KG

    Jimmy will be great, but Jay Leno “nobody really liked it but it stuck around”? Number one for 20 years. Obviously SOMEBODY liked it, but maybe no one will admit to it. Corny jokes, everyman shtick, predictable and dependable for that, that’s what Mr. and Mrs. Average watching late night TV like. Sort of like Kenny Rogers on the radio in the 80s. Nobody admitted liking his music but he sure sold a lot of records and had a lot of hits.

    • YouNeedaNewReporter

      Well considering Jimmy’s opening with a band whose best work was 27 years ago, this actually IS the same as your parents’ Tonight Show.

      [ I do have to put a word in though for Jimmy, because based on his musical performances alone he's pretty much the most talented guy who has ever held the seat]

      • OgtheDim

        I would put what I’ve seen of Steve Allen up against Fallon. Both very good, and original.

        Paar was a great conversationalist but the work load almost killed him. (90 minutes 6 nights a week)

        Carson is the cipher for understanding the Hollywood entertainment industry as created and managed by the generation that fought through WWII. Power, pizzaz, various intoxicating substances, a desire to grow talent, and in general a lot of hard work, eventually winding down to 60 minutes of the same stuff that made people feel safe after a day of worrying about the bomb, oil prices, inflation and various Presidential follies.

        Leno was and is a holdover from the late 70′s. A hint of post modernism but not enough to scare people. He tried to duplicate rather then create. I get the feeling most people watching him were never going to watch Letterman, let alone Conan.

        All that should have been thrown out post SNL late 70′s, and with shows like In Living Colour.

        And in many ways, it has with the Daily Show.

        Fallon…Fallon is just on. Should give Jon Stewart a run for his money.

        Now if only they wouldn’t all be so freaking white male…..(not the Wayans of course)

        • CaligulaJones

          “Now if only they wouldn’t all be so freaking white male”

          I guess you missed Arsenio’s comeback then?

          • silverflurry

            You’re not seriously bringing up race. Have you seen Arsenio? At least Fallon’s comfortable in HIS skin.

          • CaligulaJones

            Er, no. Og the Dim did that, please check your reading comprehension skills before logging on to the internet.

            The rest of your three sentence post doesn’t make much sense either.

  • stoobiedood

    Best Olympic coverage I`ve read for two weeks. SOOO much better than the mainstream media`s constant lamenting about “heartbreak“and “disappointment“ when someone (like Chan) gets a silver medal. Yeah, right, recognition as second best in the whole f***ing world is like, something to blubber over. Canada: We Moan the Podium!!