Televisualist: The Less-Famous Version of Yourself
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Televisualist: The Less-Famous Version of Yourself

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.

According to the Unofficial Family Guy Wiki, Kathy Griffin is Peter Griffin’s famous cousin, so she and Lois could totally make out and it would be cool. If you’re into that sort of thing. We aren’t, though. Illustration by Brett Lamb/Torontoist.


Surprise Homecoming is formulaic. You know what you’re gonna get: soldier-reunion porn. Lots and lots of soldier-reunion porn: kids hugging fathers and mothers, husbands hugging wives, parents hugging their kids. Also, for some reason, Billy Ray Cyrus. We’re not entirely clear on why he’s there, to be honest. (TLC, 8 p.m.)
“What did you expect? ‘Welcome, sonny?’ ‘Make yourself at home?’ ‘Marry my daughter?’ You’ve got to remember that these are just simple farmers. These are people of the land. The common clay of the new West. You know… morons.” Blazing Saddles! (CHCH, 9 p.m.)
The Simpsons rerun of the week: “Lisa the Iconoclast,” wherein Lisa discovers the truth about Jebediah Springfield. “I think, Lisa, that you’ve been taken in by an obvious forgery. Unfortunately, historical research is plagued by this sort of hoax—the so-called confession. It’s just as fake as the Howard Hughes will, the Hitler diaries, or the Emancipation Retraction.” (Comedy Network, 9 p.m.)


It’s a marathon of The Agents! Which, sadly, is not about spies but instead about realtors competing to sell homes. We strongly suspect that the realtors pay the TV producers to be on the show rather than the other way around. That wouldn’t happen if they were spies, we tell you what. The spies would be all, “No, not only will you pay us, we will kill you afterwards so you cannot disclose our identities. And then we will kill everyone who watches.” Granted, these would be some awfully impractical and bloodthirsty spies, so perhaps it’s for the best that this show is about realtors instead. (W, starting at 8 p.m.)
Frontline this week covers “the Pot Republic,” California’s oldest, largest, and most well-known marijuana market—one that now operates quasi-legally, due to the medical marijuana regime in California. Frontline always delivers the goods when it comes to news documentaries, so we say watch this one. (PBS, 9 p.m.)


Televisualist is terribly impressed with Awkward., the new series from MTV (which, yes, has a period in the title). In comedic tone, the show resembles nothing so much as Daria, the beloved and wry animated series MTV produced in the ’90s, but it lacks that show’s often crushing cynicism and so becomes its own thing. It’s very well written and Ashley Rickards, the lead actor, has good presence and comic timing (and actually is age-appropriate to play a teenager). This is either going to be a “too good for TV” cancelled-after-one-season show that critics later smugly refer to when they want to make a point about some show they hate, or the next show kids will refer to and you won’t get it because you’re old, maaaaaaan. (Much, 8 p.m.)
Deadliest Warrior this week is Joan of Arc versus William the Conqueror. Guys. You’re not even trying anymore! (Spike, 10 p.m.)


Nerds be forewarned: tonight’s Community rerun is “Advanced Dungeons and Dragons,” one of the best episodes from the second season and also the one with the largest number of dork call-outs. “I attack him using my… additional notes!” (City, 8 p.m.)
On Televisualist’s list of “things we noticed, then forgot about, then noticed again, then forgot about again, then remembered, then checked to make sure it was still valid so we could write it up in the column”: Vision TV is airing reruns of The Benny Hill Show. Because your day needed more “Yakety Sax.” (8 p.m.)


For those who felt Jersey Shore was not enough, MTV Canada brings you Geordie Shore, which is basically Jersey Shore but set in Newcastle, and despite what you might expect has absolutely nothing to do with Geordi La Forge from Star Trek: The Next Generation. We understand that the cast of this show has more fun than everybody else has ever had at the British seaside combined. Apparently some British politician was so shocked by the cast being Shore-riffic that he’s going to raise questions about it in Parliament and will presumably be all verbally horrified in traditional British ways. I hope he takes off his bowler hat first, and then maybe he can stammer adorably! (8 p.m.)
The 17th Annual X Games are happening! (As opposed to the “X-Games,” which is what the X-Men do when they play Scrabble.) This year’s events are the four now-traditional X Games: BMX, skateboarding, motorcycle supercross, and rally-car racing. It is our sad duty to report that inline skating, surfing, and street luge have gone to Xtreme Heaven. (TSN, 3 p.m.)

The Weekend

“I wish I was famous” reality programming hits a new low with Same Name, a show where sorta-celebrities like Kathy Griffin are paired off with everyday normal nobodies named Kathy Griffin, and Nobody Kathy Griffin gets to live Famous Kathy Griffin’s life, while Famous Kathy Griffin has to go live Nobody Kathy Griffin’s shitty life! So you get the combination of envying celebrities their lives but at the same time watching them be humiliated! I don’t think reality-celebrity programming will ever come to a purer distillation of the form than this. (CBS, 9 p.m. Sunday)