Televisualist: Bow Wow, M*A*S*H, and Magic Flash
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Televisualist: Bow Wow, M*A*S*H, and Magic Flash

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.

Monday

The History Channel airs reruns of M*A*S*H all day long today, which gives one the rare and odd opportunity to see both the pilot episode and the famous series finale, “Goodbye, Fairwell And Amen.” Oddly enough, the finale airs first, and then the pilot. I’m sure the History Channel has a good explanation for that. Probably something to do with archeology or something like that. Regardless: M*A*S*H holds up very well indeed; if you removed the laugh track, it could air today on network TV and nobody would blink an eye. (finale airs 6 p.m., pilot 8:30 p.m.)
Film critics who are very important will tell you how Some Like It Hot has the best ending line of any movie ever. They are wrong; the final gag hasn’t aged well. That having been said, the movie as a whole still delights, with the banter between Tony Curtis, Jack Lemmon, Marilyn Monroe, and Joe E. Brown still the gold standard for clever wordplay and rapid-fire jokes. If you haven’t seen it, it’s worth a look; if you haven’t seen it and you like to write, it’s a must. (Peachtree, 10 p.m.)

Tuesday

American Idol is actually kind of interesting this year; usually the show gets boring in between the tryouts and the final few episodes, because there’s only three to five people you might actually want to hear for more than twenty seconds during any given season, and for the bulk of the show they’re surrounded by a massive horde of sucky, mediocre-to-crappy singers (and Randy and Paula). It’s a pain to watch and a pain to listen to. But this season, rather than just have the ordinary, usual crappy karaoke group, they have given us a bunch of totally bugfuck assholes like Tatiana Del Toro and Nick “Norman Gentle” Mitchell! These people are not just bad, but entertainingly bad! They will get in yell-fights with the judges and explain, over and over again, how this is everything to them! Anyway, the first twelve of thirty-six take the stage tonight, as Fox is apparently determined to expand this show until it implodes upon itself, much like a black hole. (CTV, 8 p.m.)
TLC has two new episodes of 17 Kids and Counting, the horrible television show about the famous (and horrible) Duggar family, who pop out, like, a kid every year. Thankfully, their insane family planning got them a TV show! So it all ends well. Except that they are insane. (9 p.m.)

Wednesday

Televisualist isn’t exactly sure what the 2008 World Magic Awards are. Well, obviously they are awards for magicians. But we don’t know if there are, like, nominees or presenters or what. Presumably there will be cool tricks: a disappearing tank, maybe, or a lion eating a woman, or a woman eating a lion, or something like that. And Neil Patrick Harris is the host! So that should be entertaining at least. (SunTV, 8 p.m.)
TVO has been broadcasting BBC One’s re-envisioning of Little Dorrit, and… it’s very good, honestly. Not particularly our cup of tea, as we are not one for the costume drama serials, but it’s very good. It’s not even halfway through yet, so there’s still the opportunity to make up ground. (9 p.m.)

Thursday

Newsworld has a one-hour special on Barack Obama’s visit to Canada, presumably so we can all pretend, just for a little while, that he is the prime minister. Ahhh, sweet release. (8 p.m.)
Somewhat famous used-to-be-a-child rapper Bow Wow has a comeback television special! (Johnny Carson will not make an appearance juggling an automobile.) Live from Nashville! Because when you think “hip hop,” you think Nashville. (SunTV, 10 p.m.)

Friday

Tonight’s E! True Hollywood Story is… Mario Lopez? Seriously? A.C. Slater from Saved By The Bell merits a true Hollywood story? Aren’t we kind of dredging the bottom of the lake of celebrity now? Then again, this is the network that thinks Kim Kardashian needs her own television show. (8 p.m.)
Teletoon airs Superman III, AKA “the shitty one with Richard Pryor where Superman gets drunk and needs a shave.” Everybody who thinks Batman Forever is the worst franchise-killing superhero movie of all time really needs to watch this. (9:30 p.m.)
The Simpsons rerun of the week: “Bart Carny,” featuring one of the last appearances of the late, great Jim Varney. “Listen carefully, and watch me wink as I speak, okay? The guy I’m really looking for, wink, is Mr. Bribe, wink, wink.” (Comedy Network, 9 p.m.)

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