Televisualist: A Documentary Critical of War Porn! Also, War Porn
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Televisualist: A Documentary Critical of War Porn! Also, War Porn

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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Illustration by Brett Lamb/Torontoist.

Monday

The unstoppable Bachelor juggernaut (well, semi-juggernaut) resumes with The Bachelor: Jason and Molly’s Wedding, wherein former Bachelor Jason Mesnick, the one who changed his mind after picking a finalist and started seeing the runner-up, marries said runner-up, making him the first Bachelor to actually marry somebody from the show. Trista Rehn, the first Bachelorette, was the first person overall from this set of shows to actually marry their chosen TV suitor. “But Televisualist,” you say, “you hate this show and everything it stands for. Why do you know all of this? How can you summon all this information forth to discuss the TV wedding of two people you care nothing about?” And the answer is because we are professionals here, dammit. (City, 8 p.m.)
Ron James: Quest For The West. Did the West get lost? Well, if it did, Ron James will find it! Or something. (CBC, 9 p.m.)

Tuesday

Ikiru, one of Akira Kurosawa’s earliest and most personal films (Roger Ebert believes it is Kurosawa’s greatest film), is a simple little story about a bureaucrat who, when he discovers he is dying of cancer, becomes determined to create a children’s playground so he can create at least one meaningful thing with his life. It’s incredibly affecting without being cloying, simplistic, or overly sentimental. If you haven’t seen it, you should. (Turner Classics, 8 p.m.)
The Simpsons rerun of the week: “Bart Gets An Elephant,” wherein…well, you know. “Son, when you participate in sporting events, it’s not whether you win or lose, it’s how drunk you get.” (Comedy Network, 9 p.m.)

Wednesday

“Cycle” fourteen of America’s Next Top Model (because they’re too good to have “seasons” like everybody else) kicks off with Perez Hilton involved for some reason, presumably because the producers wanted to find a way to make me even less interested in it. (A-Channel, 8 p.m.)
Here is the best one-two movie punch CHCH has served up yet since it became all-movies all-the-time: The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai followed up by motherfucking Robocop. How can you not love that? The only way that could be better is if they capped it with Big Trouble In Little China. Which they did not do. (Banzai at 7 p.m., Robocop at 8:30 p.m.)

Thursday

Interestingly timed given the debut of The Pacific later this week is Love, Hate and Propaganda: WWII for a New Generation, a documentary about how films worshipful of American GIs are creating an illusory, romanticized image of war and World War II specifically. It’s definitely the sort of doc that exists to argue a point rather than the sort that exists to inform, but those documentaries are often the most fascinating, and this one avoids being preachy. (CBC, 9 p.m.)
Sons of Tucson is a wacky new sitcom about three parentless kids who come to an arrangement with a homeless loser so they don’t have to go to a foster home. It’s trying to tap the Malcolm In the Middle vein as deep as it possibly can, but in this case the network is like a junkie who doesn’t realize that if he wants to shoot up more heroin, he’s going to have to inject it into his eyeballs or in his armpit or between his toes or something like that. (Global, 9:30 p.m.)

Friday

Who Do You Think You Are? is like that boring relative you have who insists on telling you alllllll about your family tree and how your great-great-uncle-cousin Stebediah once fought the savage Injuns with a butter churn and that’s why we have electricity now, except that instead of your boring relative, it’s a celebrity that isn’t even related to you! So it’s an hour of learning about Emmitt Smith’s family. We can tell you’re thrilled already. (City, 8 p.m.)
The New Guy is widely disparaged as being a terrible movie, but honestly, it’s not that bad a flick. The concept of “nerd decides to make good at new school by acting crazy-like” is actually pretty funny, DJ Qualls is honestly hilarious, and Eddie Griffin steals all the scenes he’s in. Granted, Eliza Dushku can’t do anything other than be Eliza Dushku, but so what? She’s pretty and that’s all that is needed for this. Underrated. (MuchMusic, 9 p.m.)

The Weekend

Celebrity Apprentice is like Celebrity Mole in that it used to be a show about normal people and then television executives decided that normal people weren’t as interesting as Sharon Osbourne, Bret Michaels, Sinbad, Cyndi Lauper, and, wait for it, former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich. This is like the opposite of “edge of your seat.” (Global, 9 p.m. Sunday)
HBO’s The Pacific is nominally a followup to Band of Brothers, being another ten-episode miniseries produced by Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks about World War II, but this time about the war against Japan rather than the war in Europe. However, it’s not the same viewing experience at all: this time, rather than focus on one company of soldiers, the miniseries follows three individual marines (two of whom later wrote books about the experience) and as a result spends less time concerning itself exclusively with the front line. This is not to say that there are not a lot of war-bits in this miniseries, because there is a shitload of that. But for a ten-part miniseries about World War II, this is a lot more meditative on the dehumanization of war than Band of Brothers was, which has the side-effect of making it harder to watch. In other words: it’s a worthy followup, and not a clone. (HBO Canada, 9 p.m. Sunday)

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