Televisualist: More Fun Than Emptying a Box of Tissues
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Televisualist: More Fun Than Emptying a Box of Tissues

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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Guy Fieri, host of Minute To Win It, depicted in the only method simplistic enough to do him justice. Illustration by Brett Lamb/Torontoist.

Monday

One of TVO’s recent BBC pickups is Lost Kingdoms of Africa, a four-part doc series about African history, which can best be described as a tangled mess that anthropologists and archeologists are still trying to unravel. Last week’s episode about Nubia was interesting, and this week’s episode, focusing on the history of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, looks to be even more fascinating. Highly recommended if you like your history television to involve more than just Nazis. (10 p.m.)
Hey, does anybody remember when Winona Ryder was the it-girl of the moment and when Ethan Hawke was still widely regarded as a vulnerable artistic type rather than the dude who took down Denzel Washington in Training Day? And hey, how about when Ben Stiller was still considered comedically edgy rather than the guy who wears a silly costume every year at the Oscars? Man, Reality Bites isn’t just a mediocre relationships movie; it’s a frigging time capsule. (CHCH, 9 p.m.)

Tuesday

The Kids In The Hall: Death Comes To Town concludes (as does our series of interviews with all of the Kids), and although the quality of this miniseries has not quite been on par with the classic series and has been somewhat hit-or-miss with its gags, it’s still been pretty entertaining television, all things considered. Really, given that Televisualist was one of the six people who felt that Brain Candy was actually not half bad, we were fairly sure we would like this. And we did. (CBC, 9 p.m.)
The men’s NCAA basketball tournament doesn’t actually begin for real until Thursday, but there’s a single-game playoff to determine whether Arkansas-Pine Bluff or Winthrop is the school that will get trounced to fuck and back by #1 seed Duke in the opening round of the southern regional bracket. Do you like college basketball enough to watch this? Maybe you do! (The Score, 8 p.m.)

Wednesday

Human Edge this week considers the lawsuits arising over Borat, officially making Human Edge current for 2006. (TVO, 10 p.m.)
Scrubs airs its ninth-season finale, having survived a rocky creative experience in rejiggering the show to become effectively a brand new show that happens to still have Turk and Dr. Cox and sometimes Dr. Kelso on it. NuScrubs hasn’t been bad: Dave Franco (James Franco’s little brother) has been a comedic standout as the douchebaggerific Cole, and Eliza Coupe’s Dr. Mahoney is nihilistically funny. But it’s still uneven, and Kerry Bishe standing in as “the new J.D.” just doesn’t work very well. Ratings have been pretty bad, but the show is cheap to produce so there may be a tenth season yet. (ABC, 8 p.m.)

Thursday

The men’s NCAA basketball tournament kicks off for real today, now that everybody knows whether Arkansas-Pine Bluff or Winthrop is the fourth sacrificial lamb (joining Lehigh, Vermont, and East Tennessee State, who will lose to Kansas, Syracuse, and Kentucky, respectively). Really, as fun as it is to see schools you’ve never heard of competing–like Sam Houston State, Old Dominion, and Wofford–the lowest seed to ever win an NCAA tournament is eighth (Villanova in 1985). So as much as we’d all like to see the University of Montana go on an improbable run and then all get movie deals, realistically it’s going to be Kansas, Syracuse, Kentucky, or Duke, or maybe a #2 or #3 seed sneaks into the top four and pulls off an upset. But it’s still college basketball, the most entertaining form of the game known to man. So that’s not nothing. (all day on The Score and CBS)
The Simpsons rerun of the week: “Itchy and Scratchy Land,” one of the most berserk episodes ever written. When the hordes of attack robots charge, you’ll think you’re watching a Halloween episode, but you aren’t! “I’ve already planned our vacation for this year. We’re going to the Highway 9 Bird Sanctuary. I understand they’ve installed a new bird feeder this year. It’s shaped like a diner! And it’s on this really tall pole!” (Comedy Network, 9 p.m.)
A very special two-hour episode of FlashForward, if you’re still watching that. Is anybody watching this show? I mean, I like lots of the actors on this show. I just can’t get excited to watch it. Can’t really say why. I suspect most people share my opinion, given the show’s ratings. (A-Channel, 8 p.m.)

Friday

Hey, are you sad that the Olympics are over? Then Thin Ice is for you! It’s like Olympic figure skating, except for money rather than medals! The hosts are notable figure skating legend Kurt Browning and notable idiot Elisabeth Hasselbeck of The View, and we’re sure the two of them will have tons to talk about. Just heaps. (ABC, 8 p.m.)
CHCH commits a movie sin by airing Crocodile Dundee and then Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles but skipping over Crocodile Dundee 2! Why would you do that to us, CHCH? WHYYYYYYYYY? (7 p.m. and 9 p.m., respectively)

The Weekend

The finale of Thin Ice! More Browning! More Hasselbeck! More…all that stuff! (ABC, 8 p.m.)
Minute to Win It is NBC’s new game show where people get one minute to do increasingly more difficult tasks as they gamble their winnings à la who Wants To Be A Millionaire: pulling all the tissues out of a box one-handed, lifting paper bags from the floor using only their teeth without falling over, and so forth. Basically this is a show for people who felt that Millionaire was a little bit too intellectual for them, and host Guy Fieri certainly does his utmost to cater to that vibe. (NBC, 8 p.m.)

CORRECTION: MARCH 16, 2010 This article twice misidentified the host of Minute To Win It as Joe Fieri—his name is Guy Fieri.

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