Televisualist: The Christmas Onslaught Begins
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Televisualist: The Christmas Onslaught Begins

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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Zach Braff of Scrubs gets the yank. Illustration by Brett Lamb/Torontoist.

Monday

Hey, tidbit totally unrelated to this week’s How I Met Your Mother (which is a rerun anyhow): did you see last week’s Slapsgiving episode? Remember how Chris Elliot showed up with a boardgame called “Diseases” and it was horrible? Well, guess what: Brett Lamb, who does the lovely drawings every week for Televisualist, designed the cover of that game for the show! (He didn’t tell me about it until afterwards or I would’ve mentioned it last week.) Is that awesome or what? I say that’s awesome. (CBS, 8 p.m.)
The first of about a dozen airings of How The Grinch Stole Christmas is tonight. November 30? Really? Well, it’s the Grinch, so we can mostly forgive it. But seriously now. The Grinch should not show up outside December, or else you get things like that Jim Carrey movie. (8 p.m.)
However, we cannot in any way forgive Shrek The Halls for airing outside of December. Or, for that matter, airing at all. Ever. (ABC, 8:30 p.m.)

Tuesday

Scrubs returns. Here’s the thing: originally Scrubs was going to just end last season (hence the teary finale episode and all). But then ABC looked at the show’s numbers and said “well mayyyyyybeeeeeee we want another season.” So Bill Lawrence, the show’s creator, came up with an idea that was basically AfterScrubs where new interns would start work at Sacred Heart. But then John McGinley and Donald Faison found that they still needed work so now they’re supporting cast members, but Judy Reyes and Neil Flynn were able to get other jobs so having the show set at Sacred Heart wouldn’t quite work, and then they lost the set so Bill Lawrence said “well mayyyyyybeeeeeee we could set it at a medical school with a new hospital and call it New Sacred Heart and nobody would notice.” And then Zach Braff realized he couldn’t get a job anywhere else either, so he said “well mayyyyyybeeeeeee I could come back for some of the new season.” All of this basically makes Scrubs like, the Frankenstein’s Monster of one-camera half-hour comedy shows. No matter how much you think it’s gonna die, it doesn’t die! (9 p.m.)
Barack Obama has a presidential address tonight, about America’s new strategy for military action in Afghanistan. And then afterwards you can watch CNN to hear the opinions of a bunch of political consultants, practically none of whom have any relevant expertise or wisdom to contribute. (All major American networks, 8 p.m.)
So You Think You Can Dance is down to the final ten, having eliminated all the tappers in the first three weeks and subjected viewers to Nathan and Mollee, quite possibly the worst pairing in the history of the show to make it to top ten. However, Russell the krumper and Legacy the B-boy have demonstrated an impressive amount of skill, and Ellenore is one of the loveliest female contemporary dancers ever to show up on this program, so on the whole, it’s all good. Especially if Nathan and Mollee get eliminated this week. (Fox, 8:30 p.m.)

Wednesday

This week’s episode of Bones features a competitive video gamer as the victim. Doubtless Bones will handle this as adroitly as they handled the episodes where a vampire fetishist, comic book geek, and roleplaying nerd were the victims of the week: i.e., embarrassingly and patronizingly. (Global, 8 p.m.)
The Simpsons rerun of the week: “How The Test Was Won,” wherein Springfield Elementary purges Bart and the other not-so-smarties so that they can pass an assessment test, but more importantly Homer misses his insurance payment and spends the entire episode terrified of accidents, in one of the most clever more recent episodes in Simpsons history. “Insurance is the greatest deal ever. If I get hurt, I get paid. And man, do I get hurt!” (Comedy Network, 9 p.m.)

Thursday

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation is perhaps one of the most unjustly celebrated Christmas movies of all time. It’s not particularly funny. Its jokes are predictable and telegraphed. The performances range from “annoying” to “horrendous” (and Chevy Chase manages both). The story makes no sense whatsoever. And did we mention how much Chevy Chase sucks? And yet, Televisualist knows no end of folks who proclaim this to be a “classic.” What the hell. (AMC, 8 p.m.)
Tonight on The Hour: Lyle Lovett. We mention this because Lyle Lovett is traditionally a freakishly entertaining talk show guest, and usually provides a good show. (CBC, 11 p.m.)

Friday

NBC re-airs A Muppets Christmas: Letters to Santa, which is far inferior to the classic A Muppet Family Christmas or the feature-length Muppet Christmas Carol, but we guess you take what you can get. More Muppets are always to the general good. (8 p.m.)
Dollhouse returns after a hiatus, with Fox shoving out the remaining episodes for two hours back-to-back each Friday until there are no more ever again. Our long national nightmare ends on January 22, everybody! (8 p.m.)

The Weekend

If you really want to see some people beat the crap out of some other people, you’re in luck, because this weekend is the finale of The Ultimate Fighter‘s tenth season (the first to feature heavyweight fighters since season 2). Rashad Evans’s team completely destroyed Quinton Jackson’s team through the season, resulting in an all-Rashad-coached final of Roy Nelson v. Brendan Schaub. If you have no idea what any of that means, here is the short version takeaway: these guys are going to beat the living shit out of each other and it will be pretty awesome. (Spike, 9 p.m. Saturday)
Jack Frost is an absolutely horrifying movie, albeit unintentionally. It was supposed to be a family film about a guy who comes back from the dead as a snowman to spend time with his son, but the Michael Keaton–voiced snowman is so fucking creepy that it is actually the single best way to terrify a small child that we have ever seen. Seriously, you would probably do better showing the wee tykes Trainspotting. They would learn valuable life lessons from it. Jack Frost will only guarantee a lifetime of therapy. (Teletoon, 7 p.m. Saturday)

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