Televisualist: Reality Possibly Superior To Olympics
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Televisualist: Reality Possibly Superior To 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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Brett Lamb is not a fan of Survivor, to say the least. Illustration by Brett Lamb/Torontoist.

Monday

Hey, are you filled with Olympic fever? Are you totally stoked for such events as biathlon and luge? Have you replaced your daily masturbatory fantasy object with that comely Olympic athlete you saw in the advertisement for Petro-Canada, except that they’re also wearing a medal while you do it? Then CBC has you covered with Vancouver Welcomes The World on CBC. Except for that last one. The CBC does not help with that sort of thing. (9 p.m.)
New episode of Hoarders, the reality show that is surprisingly successful given that every show is pretty much the same thing: people who compulsively hoard stuff watch their lives fall apart because hoarding is symptomatic of larger mental and emotional disorders, and also because it’s gross and visibly weird to everybody else. It was interesting the first time we watched it. Why it’s a series, we dunno. (A&E, 10 p.m.)

Tuesday

Past Life scrapes the bottom of the procedural barrel by being a series about a doctor working at a behavioural health centre who solves crimes and other problems based on people’s past lives. No, seriously, that’s really what the show is about. Her partner is of course a retired NYPD homicide detective, because when you retire from the police force the first thing you do is go work at a behavioural health centre. The only thing this show has going for it is Richard Schiff showing up as the doctor’s mentor, which is all right because although it doesn’t make the show not crap, Richard Schiff is always deserving of a paycheque. Maybe when this one tanks he can go on another Fox series about people who solve crimes with homeopathy or something. (A-Channel, 9 p.m.)
Tonight on Nova: extreme cave diving. What is extreme cave diving? How is it more extreme than regular cave diving? Because regular cave diving is pretty psychotic already, you know? Maybe in extreme cave diving the cave is rigged to explode if you don’t make it through in time, or something like that. (PBS, 8 p.m.)

Wednesday

A Charlie Brown Valentine isn’t the original Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown (the one where Charlie Brown doesn’t get any valentines and is crushed), but instead a relatively mediocre special produced after Charles Schulz’s death about Charlie Brown wanting to ask out the little red-haired girl while Peppermint Patty and Marcie want to ask him out. Not really worth your time. (ABC, 8 p.m.)
The Simpsons rerun of the week: “Homer Alone,” wherein Marge freaks out and has to have a vacation at Rancho Relaxo (no, not that one) while Homer takes care of the kids as well as he can, which is not that well. “Hello, room service? I’d like a banana fudge sundae. With whipped cream. And some chocolate chip cheesecake! And a bottle of tequila!” (Comedy Network, 9 p.m.)

Thursday

Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains is the twentieth edition of Survivor, and with such a significant number it’s another “all-stars” season. This time around, the two beginning tribes are the “Heroes” and the “Villains.” The Heroes are mostly fan favourites like Rupert from Survivor: Pearl Islands, Colby from Survivor: Australia, and Sugar from Survivor: Gabon, but the Villains are a little more eclectic in that there are genuinely popular-but-devious players like “Boston Rob” Mariano and Sandra from Pearl Islands combined with completely hateful douchebags like Randy from Gabon and Coach from Survivor: Tocantins. All of that aside: the all-star seasons are frequently the most entertaining seasons of Survivor because there’s never anybody boring and everybody knows what they’re doing, so high hopes for this time out. (Global, 8 p.m.)
The Office has been having a great season thus far as the final collapse of Dunder Mifflin yielded great comedic impact, but what’s even better is that when Dunder Mifflin got bought out by another bigger company, the producers of The Office got Kathy Bates to play the CEO of the new company. This is because Kathy Bates is as awesome as actors get. (NBC, 9 p.m.)

Friday

The Winter Olympics begin with the opening ceremonies! Who doesn’t like opening ceremonies? Sure, they’ll probably seem relatively minimalistic after the Chinese Olympic ceremonies two years ago, but on the bright side you can be sure that if anything goes wrong, we won’t harshly punish anybody for screwing up. (CTV, 7 p.m.)
If you don’t care about opening ceremonies, there’s always Spider-Man 2, the best of the Spider-flicks. Hey, this movie is only six years old and thanks to massive studio screwups Marvel is already talking about “rebooting” the franchise! Hollywood: where “reboot” is the new “we fucked up.” (Global, 8 p.m.)

The Weekend

The weekends are the biggest ratings time for the Olympics, so the schedule is top-loaded this weekend with viewer-friendly sports: freestyle skiing, short-track speed skating, figure skating, and hockey. You will of course have your choice of NBC, TSN, CTV, and the Aboriginal People’s Television Network (really!) providing coverage; we strongly recommend avoiding NBC coverage because it is sadly pathetic in its jingoism and disinterest in actually broadcasting sports as opposed to pre-produced video packages about inspirational athletes. (All weekend.)
The Amazing Race kicks off its sixteenth season with brothers who are cowboys, a middle-aged lesbian couple, a pair of detectives, a pair of attorney moms, a father/daughter team, and a grandmother/granddaughter team featuring the Race’s oldest contestant ever (71). All of this plus a trip to Chile, skywalking, befriending llamas, and much more as the single best reality show on teevee kicks it up one more time. (A-Channel, 8 p.m.)

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