Televisualist: Listener, Ham, and Bunny Jam
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Televisualist: Listener, Ham, and Bunny Jam

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

Back in 2003, ABC aired I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here!, which was kind of like Survivor with a more famous and less appealing cast, and where in reality there was actually next to no actual hardship on the parts of the celebrities. It bombed. However, because there are ultimately no new ideas in television, it is back! With an even less appealing cast: Heidi and Spencer from The Hills, Sanjaya “worst American Idol finalist ever” Malakar, and Stephen Baldwin, whose entire career now depends on a string of celebrity-themed reality shows to disguise the fact that nobody actually gives a shit about him any more. (MuchMoreMusic, 8 p.m.)
Oh, wow, Twister? Seriously? Hey, anybody else remember when Bill Paxton and Helen Hunt plus the director of Speed were enough to create a box-office hit? Man, the ’90s. What were we thinking? (Space, 9 p.m.)

Tuesday

The very last episode ever of According to Jim! The only ones mourning its passing are television critics, who will never, ever have as ripe a target as Jim ever again. Never again will we be able to write things like “[brilliant low-rated series] gets cancelled but According to Jim is still on the air? What is wrong with society today?” And all of our Jim Belushi jokes will need to be retooled to focus on some other actor we don’t like! Really, we’re all panicked about this. Trust me. (ABC, 8:30 p.m.)
Earth 2100 is a two-hour special focusing on how population growth, climate change, and resource depletion “could” result in catastrophe. You have to love that the “there’s no problem!” movement is so entrenched despite having essentially no argument beyond “nuh-uh” that ABC feels the need in their promo copy to make sure we’re told that doing a ton of bad, wasteful things only opens up the mere possibility of bad things happening. (9 p.m.)

Wednesday

CBC reruns Canada’s Next Great Prime Minister in the hopes that maybe this time someone will care. Hey, maybe CNGPM can replace According to Jim for TV critic jokes, and…no, no, nothing can replace Jim Belushi. Nothing! (8 p.m.)
In Plain Sight got renewed for a second season. Televisualist is of two minds about this show. On the one hand, Mary McCormack is awesome and the rest of the cast (and especially Lesley Ann Warren) is similarly excellent. On the other hand, most of the plotlines tend to feel very pedestrian and the dialogue is, at best, serviceable. So it all kind of balances out and leaves one with a show that, while serviceable, is not spectacular. (Global, 9 p.m.)
The Listener follows in the footsteps of Flashpoint as a Canadian-produced drama airing on an American network, which is really the most interesting thing about it—the whole “telepathic paramedic” story hook doesn’t quite work and it mostly relies on Craig Olejnik’s charisma to pull it through to watchability. (CTV, 10 p.m.; NBC airs both this and the second episode tomorrow starting at 9 p.m.)

Thursday

E!, continuing their “it’s new to you!” strategy that barely works in the internet era, “debuts” The Beast, the Patrick Swayze FBI drama that actually debuted back in January. However, this time we are inclined to overlook it, because The Beast is very good and Swayze, in particular, is absolutely amazing; his haggard, driven appearance (at least in part derived from, you know, his incurable cancer) brings his possibly corrupt FBI veteran to life. (10 p.m.)
The Simpsons rerun of the week: “Much Apu About Nothing,” wherein Apu faces deportation when a “no immigrants” proposition threatens to pass in Springfield. Features the justifiably infamous “Bear Patrol” sequence, probably the sharpest societal mockery in Simpsons history. “Immigunts! Even when it was the bears, I knew it was dem!” (CFMT, 7:30 p.m.)

Friday

We could understand Don’t Forget The Lyrics! during the week. That made sense. You’re tired, you come home, Don’t Forget The Lyrics is on, and you watch Wayne Brady make fun of some dorky white people for an hour and you don’t have to think. It’s the television equivalent of comfort food. But who the hell would watch it on Friday night? Somebody explain that one. (Fox, 8 p.m.)
We must admit to a particular fondness for Space Jam, the amazingly commercial and entirely ridiculous Bugs Bunny/Michael Jordan teamup movie, complete with brand-new extraneous girl bunny to pair off with Bugs and not nearly enough Daffy Duck. But still, we like it. Mostly because it doesn’t pretend to be anything other than what it is, and because Bill Murray is in it, and also because the Monstars song (by B-Real, Coolio, Method Man, LL Cool J, and Busta Rhymes) is probably the hardest song to ever show up on a kiddie movie soundtrack. (Family Channel, 9:15 p.m.)

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