Televisualist: Reality Slays Us (And Dr. Zaius)
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Televisualist: Reality Slays Us (And Dr. Zaius)

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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Monday

It’s the major network premiere of Nashville Star! Yes, NBC is so desperate for cheap content they’re “promoting” the third-rate reality shows from cable networks. Televisualist has never seen an episode of this show, but it is apparently like American Idol (uh-oh) for country music (argh) starring Billy Ray Cyrus as the host (OH GOD IT BURNS). So if you’re really, really desperate to get your Idol sort-of-a-fix, if you really need to see mediocre young singers murdering the “classics” of Garth Brooks and LeAnn Rimes, or if you just need to feel some sweet, sweet schadenfraude… well, you’re covered. (E!, 9 p.m.)
Hey, Pretty Woman! The movie about a businessman who falls in love with a prostitute, treats her like shit anyway, and it’s still all right! Because she gets to shop at a nice store or something. Okay, so we don’t like this movie much. (CBC, 8 p.m.)

Tuesday

Speaking of reality shows that are worthless, who the hell decided that we needed to see Keeping Up With The Kardashians? The closest these people get to even being slightly famous is having former Olympian Bruce Jenner as a stepfather. They’re not even amusing freaks like the Osbourne family. They’re just another bunch of boring, somewhat spoiled rich white people. Genuinely dull in every respect. They’re not even fascinatingly whiny and pampered. And yet, this show is a hit. The world, sometimes she does not make sense. (E!, 9:30 p.m.)
The Simpsons rerun of the week: “A Fish Called Selma.” Troy McClure marries Selma to rejuvenate his career. “You’ve fiiiiinalllly maaaaade a monkeyyyyy out of meeeeeeee!”

Wednesday

Performance episodes begin for So You Think You Can Dance this week, and now that we know who this year’s top twenty are, I’ll just go ahead and say it: they want a breaker or hip-hopper to win so badly I can taste it. This year’s crop of b-boys is probably the best the show’s ever assembled, from athletic popper Joshua to cross-trained breaker Gev to adaptable b-girl Comfort to the incredibly charming and talented Twitch. Meanwhile, most of the remaining cast is just kind of there, to the point where a lot of the girls have the same names. There’s a Courtney and a Kourtni, a Chelsea and a Chelsie, and some girl who calls herself Kherington. So yeah: year of the breaker. (CTV, 8 p.m.)
NBC debuts Celebrity Circus tonight, and… uh… Antonio Sabato Jr.? Really, NBC? That’s what counts as a celebrity? Wee Man from Jackass? Blu Cantrell? Somebody who used to be a Brady? These shows just keep defining “celebrity” ever further down. I remember the good old days of Battle of the Network Stars, when William Shatner and Michael J. Fox did glorious battle in stupid costumes. That was celebrity fighting worthy of a decadent neo-Rome on the cusp of collapse! This is just sad. But what’s even sadder is that ABC cancelled its remake of Circus of the Stars because, according to them, NBC snapped up “all the available talent.” Ye gods. (9:30 p.m.)

Thursday

MuchMoreMusic takes a break from airing the six billion shitty reality shows they bought last week to actually air a program about actual music: Heart’s “Live At The Orpheum Theater” performance from 2007. It’s a damn good television concert; the Wilson sisters still know how to rock the house. (8 p.m.)
The History Channel airs a show entitled “Ireland’s Nazis,” which is about, well, Irish Nazis. Presumably these Nazis are a lot more folksy than your typical Nazi, and when they sing “Deutschland Uber Alles,” it is done to a mournful tinwhistle. And the pipes, oh, those pipes. (8 p.m.)
Probably the best of all Futurama episodes is “The Why Of Fry,” which manages to be profound and sad (and, uniquely for the series, actually dwell on Fry’s isolation from his long-dead family) even as it is absurdly funny. “We gonna get us some PARACHUTE PANTS!” (Teletoon, 9:30 p.m.)

Friday

PBS airs That’s Entertainment, Part 2, which is the second of a series of very long compliations of numbers from old musical films, from the Thirties through to the early Sixties. A lot of Fred Astaire, a bunch of Gene Kelly, some Cyd Charisse, some Debbie Reynolds, and maybe even a little Marilyn; there are worse ways to spend a couple hours. (8 p.m.)
I (heart) Huckabees is really, really weird. But it’s not, strictly speaking, the bad sort of weird. Televisualist has watched it twice now and we still don’t get it. But we kind of like it. Kind of. (A-Channel, 9 p.m.)

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