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.
This was originally going to be a picture of Jesse Eisenberg, but then “The King’s Speech” did really well in the awards leading up to the Oscars and… well. Image by Brett Lamb/Torontoist.
MondayThe annual Tournament of Hearts is on again, for those of you who find curling deeply thrilling. Not saying it’s wrong to find a bunch of people playing giant shuffleboard on ice exciting. After all, it’s definitely a lot more exciting than competitive eating, or an episode of Wipeout where Bruiseball is the second round stunt, or that show where the Real World people have contests to see who is, I think, the realiest and worldliest. In conclusion: curling. It’s Canadian, and therefore you are morally obligated to adore it for some reason. (TSN, all day long)
Nothing says “let’s celebrate Family Day” like Die Hard. When Bruce Willis shoots the evil Germans, he’s doing it to promote family togetherness! (Spike, 8 p.m.)
So Mad Love premiered last week, and you could be forgiven for thinking that perhaps it was just another episode of How I Met Your Mother, because it’s basically the same show: take talented comic cast (Tyler Labine, Judy Greer, Jason Biggs, Sarah Chalke), have them sit around in a bar, have some of them be lawyers, have the rest of them be unreasonably wealthy for what they do, rely on amusing dialogue and strong delivery so that nobody notices it’s the same damn show. (CBS, 8:30 p.m.)
TuesdayFor those who want to keep track of how the current round of The Biggest Loser is progressing, the leader at present in terms of total number of pounds lost appears to be—big surprise—the former Olympic wrestler Rulon Gardner. However, Gardner faces stiff competition from Arthur Wornum, the second-heaviest person to ever compete on Loser, entering at 507 pounds and currently down to 415 after seven weeks. Arthur’s BMI prior to entering the competion was 77.1. Of course, in other respects neither Rulon nor Arthur can hold a candle to Moses Kinikini, currently leading in total percentage of weight lost: he’s lost nearly a quarter of his overall mass. Loser’s ability to be broken down statistically in this manner makes it the baseball of reality shows. It’s only a matter of time before somebody invents its equivalent of sabermetrics. (NBC, 8 p.m.)
WednesdayYou know which show critics don’t talk about? Better With You. I mean, heck, The Middle has suddenly become a critical darling for being sort of competent in a bland, third-generation-derivative-of-Malcolm In The Middle sort of way, probably because everybody turns it on and says, “hey, the janitor from Scrubs is on this, I like him,” and that’s good enough for critics, who have to sit around and pretend that Big Love isn’t boring. And it isn’t! And I’m not saying that because HBO pays me money or anything! Anyway, it is well past time to recognize Better With You as the underrated bit of pop genius that it is, because it has Kitty from That 70s Show in it, and she is worth at least two and a half Scrubs janitors. (ABC, 8:30 p.m.)
The Simpsons rerun of the week: “A Fish Called Selma,” wherein Selma marries Troy McClure. “Gay?! I wish! If I were gay there’d be no problem! No, what I have is a romantic abnormality, one so unbelievable that it must be hidden from the public at all cost.” (Comedy Network, 9 p.m.)
ThursdayThis week on Outsourced: It’s still kinda racist and lame! (Global, 10:30 p.m.)
Hey, has anybody else noticed that the ads for Rules of Engagement are the same ones they’ve had all along, but now Adhir Kalyan is Photoshopped into the pictures awkwardly since he’s now the second most entertaining bit of the show other than Patrick Warburton? It’s almost like the producers are only grudgingly admitting that a non-white character could be popular in a mainstream sitcom. Which is of course not the case, because that would be terrible of them. No, they’re just cheap. Really, really cheap. Which you already knew because David Spade is in it. (City, 8:30 p.m.)
FridayJust before the Oscars start up, you can relive Oscar battles of years past, as Shakespeare in Love is on tonight. Why is it on? Because it stole the time slot that Saving Private Ryan rightfully deserved, dammit! At least that’s what Steven Spielberg says. But Shakespeare is still heaps of fun ten years later and hasn’t aged at all, and there are plenty of romantic comedies that can’t say that, so screw the haters and watch Ben Affleck in tights and a ruff! (Bravo!, 8 p.m.)
The WeekendThe 2010 Canadian Aboriginal Music Awards really picked the worst possible weekend to have their ceremony. We’re not saying they shouldn’t have a ceremony, or that the nominees aren’t deserving of recognition. All we’re saying is that the day before the Super Bowl, you don’t see Major League Lacrosse having their Lacrosse Jamboree or whatever they have. And if they don’t have a Lacrosse Jamboree, they totally should. There really aren’t enough jamborees these days. (City, 8 p.m. Saturday)
Anyway, the 2011 Academy Awards are this weekend. At this point, the race for “Oscar juggernaut” seems to be down to The King’s Speech and The Social Network, which are actually both excellent films, but which also have both attracted criticism for being not entirely true to the true-life events they ostensibly portray. To which we say: they are movies, and as such will sacrifice accuracy for narrative strength, and to complain that they describe elements incorrectly is to assign them a responsibility they did not ask for and should not have been granted. Now, admittedly, neither of these two films is as good as Winter’s Bone or Animal Kingdom was, but at least those latter films got nominations, and it’s not like this is a year where Crash is going to win Best Picture; we’re going to get a Best Picture winner with coherent storytelling, excellent acting and dialogue, and both comedic and dramatic content of quality. And that is not nothing. (CTV, 8:30 p.m.)