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.
Gordon Ramsay is so very, very angry. Illustration by Brett Lamb/Torontoist.
MondayThis is just insane: The Bachelorette has its special “Men Tell All” episode, where the contestants who lose share gossip from behind the set as cattily as possible. Then, in addition to that, 20/20 has a “Stories Behind The Rose” special because if there’s one thing we desperately need it is even more behind-the-scenes stories from the set of The Bachelorette. All this might be justified if The Bachelorette was a ratings juggernaut, but unfortunately it gets about a third again the ratings of Two and a Half Men and The Big Bang Theory reruns. Thank God this miserable show ends in a week and we get several glorious months of nothing Bachelor related, other than the occasional People magazine cover, which is avoidable. (Bachelorette: CTV, 8 p.m.; 20/20: SunTV 10 p.m.)
The Simpsons rerun of the week: “Bart To The Future,” which is one of the single worst Simpsons episodes ever. Namely, it is the one with the (second) future flash-forward, where Lisa is president and Bart is her Billy Carter analogue. “If you want to see the future, throw a treasured personal item onto the fire—not a firecracker!” (Comedy Network, 9 p.m.)
TuesdayMasterChef is the latest entry in Fox’s longstanding campaign to make sure Gordon Ramsay is on television every single hour of the day forever. This is the American version of the hit Australian MasterChef which in turn was an adaptation of the hit British MasterChef, and the Australian version is actually oddly paced for North American audiences given that after the audition stage, the Aussie version then airs six nights a week. It seems unlikely that the American version will take its cues from the Aussies in that regard. More likely, Ramsay will continue to be usually right in the most annoying way possible. Dear Gordon Ramsay: I’ve never seen a judge on Top Chef spit out food they didn’t like. This is because that is something toddlers do. (CTV, 9 p.m.)
Breakthrough With Tony Robbins features the famous motivational speaker going to troubled people’s homes and motivating them to better their lives, presumably with speech of some kind. Also with jet plane rides, extreme sports adventures, boot camps, skydiving, camping in the middle of nowhere, and shouting. Does shouting count as speech? Let’s say it’s a different thing. (NBC, 8 p.m.)
Deadliest Warrior concludes its second season by putting Navy SEALs up against Israeli commandoes. Using Deadliest Warrior‘s special brand of bullshit-turned-science, experts will determine whether Israeli commandoes can beat up SEALs with krav maga and whether you would rather be blown up with C4 in a waterproof bag or semtex in a cellphone. Somehow, the “modern” episodes of this show are never as good as the ones where they stab pig carcasses (“the closest thing to human flesh!”) with swords. (Spike, 10 p.m.)
WednesdayA Lion In The House is a pretty grueling documentary about five families, each one with a child suffering from cancer. That’s right: not one kid with cancer. Five of them. For some people this may be terribly inspiring stuff, and really we don’t doubt that it is in many ways. But five cancer kids? Come on. We have limits. (TVO, 9 p.m.)
ThursdayThis week’s rerun of Glee, “Wheels,” perfectly illustrates the delicate balance in the show between crap and brilliance. The episode has Mr. Metrosexual Teacher decide that, because one singer performs in a wheelchair, they should do a song where everybody is in a wheelchair, which is both a very, very stupid idea and downright painful to watch. But it also features the competition for a solo on “Defying Gravity” between Kurt and Rachel, which is both a lovely performance and a heartfelt bit of drama, and key to Kurt’s excellent character arc through the season. No other show on television is quite like Glee in this regard. (Fox, 8 p.m.)
The Goonies! The freaking Goonies! If you do not know The Goonies, well, you are probably much younger than I am and therefore I automatically feel disdain for you. But if you do know The Goonies, then you understand the joy at a surprising airing of it. (CHCH, 7 p.m.)
The 2010 Summer X-Games kick off on TSN with… well, the usual. Skateboarding, BMXing, rollerblading, and so forth. The nice thing about the X-Games is that they’re invariably very entertaining to watch even if you don’t follow the sports in question, because cyclists and boarders doing awesome flips in midair is invariably entertaining. Also, you get to expand your vocabulary a bit, and that’s always good too. (2 p.m. and 9 p.m.)
FridayTelevisualist still does not watch Flashpoint. Please stop asking us about Flashpoint. It is a perfectly competent cop procedural. We don’t watch it. What more do you want? We’re more exposed to Hugh Dillon by playing Left 4 Dead 2 than by watching Flashpoint. That is just how things are sometimes. (CTV, 8 p.m.)
The WeekendThe Last Picture Show is one of those movie classics which, once you get past the inflated rep, is still very good. It is at this point oddly freaky to see Jeff Bridges when he was very, very young (even freakier than it is seeing him de-aged in the TRON: Legacy trailer), but the key takeaway from watching this film is that you’re left wondering what would have happened if Peter Bogdanovich’s giant ego resulting from this film’s success had never come about, given that it more or less wrecked his career to a point from which he never really recovered. Bogdanovich then discusses the film post-screening in the subsequent episode of The Interviews with Brian Johnson; it is likely that he will be both extremely smart and a giant pillock. (TVO, 8 p.m. Saturday; The Interviews follows at 10:10 p.m.)
For those of you who missed the first airing of Rubicon, AMC’s new conspiracy-based drama… well, despite the fairly awesome presence of Miranda Richardson, it thus far feels like a shadowy-men-by-numbers show, taking the greatest paranoid hits from other conspiracy shows and summing them up neatly. However, the second episode also airs Sunday right after the first repeats, so maybe the pilot is just a weak opening. (AMC, 8 p.m.)