Televisualist: Dustin Hoffman Is Really Short, You Know
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Televisualist: Dustin Hoffman Is Really Short, You Know

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.

We still think he's funnier when he's wearing a dress.



Monday

The Simpsons rerun of the week: “Poppa’s Got A Brand New Badge,” wherein Homer (and Lenny and Carl) become the new Springfield police department. “You know, I’ve had a lot of jobs: boxer, mascot, astronaut, imitation Krusty, baby proofer, trucker, hippy, plough driver, food critic, conceptual artist, grease salesman, carny, mayor, drifter, bodyguard for the mayor, country western manager, garbage commisioner, mountain climber, farmer, inventor, Smithers, Poochie, celebrity assistant, power plant worker, fortune cookie writer, beer baron, Kwik-E-Mart clerk, homophobe, and missionary, but protecting Springfield, that gives me the best feeling of all.” (Comedy Network, 8 p.m.)


Tuesday

It’s the 2012 State of the Union Address! Watch as Barack Obama again gives an excellent speech and Republicans generally act like dicks to him. Then stick around for the official “response” speech, which this year is being given by Indiana governor Mitch Daniels, who is one of those Republicans who really wanted to run for President until he realized nobody wanted to vote for him to be President, and will nurse a sick and twisted grudge about this for the rest of his life. (8 p.m., major American networks; CNN will show the Response speech as well)

It’s Perez Hilton: Superfan! Where Perez Hilton hangs out with famous people who, like, actually do stuff for a living rather than being a pointless drain on society. SPOILER ALERT: none of it rubs off on him and he remains a terrible, terrible human being. (MuchMusic, 8 p.m.)

Saw Dogs is yet another reality show about people who have odd jobs. This time around, they are chainsaw sculptors, and in truth this is one of the better offerings in the “interesting jobs” subset of reality show because how often do you encounter chainsaw sculptors? And they really are phenomenally talented. (Outdoor Life, 9 p.m.)


Wednesday

Touch is the new offering from Tim Kring, who created Heroes, and that really, really should have been a warning to people, since Heroes went on for far too long, mostly because people thought the concept was a good idea and ignored the glaring fact that the show itself was dogshit. This show is about Kiefer Sutherland having an autistic child, except the autistic kid has magic powers and can predict the future—you know, as autistic people do—and so Kiefer Sutherland needs Danny Glover to explain how the kid is doing this, and the answer is “he has magic powers and can predict the future.” Then you add on a bunch of mushy dialogue about how Kiefer can now sort of communicate with Magical Autistic Son and you have what Tim Kring considers a television show. Uh huh. (Global, 9 p.m.)


Thursday

Now that Newt Gingrich has won South Carolina mostly on the basis that he was willing to complain that the media was obsessing unfairly over his predilection for leaving wives battling terminal illnesses, his tendency towards massive hypocrisy and his pretty racist comments about black people, Mitt Romney is no longer the automatic frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination, and that means it is time for yet another Republican presidential debate, this time meant to be a showdown prior to Florida’s GOP primary next week. Which candidate will be the first to utter a racist dogwhistle while maintaining plausible deniability? (CNN, 8 p.m.)

Todd and the Book of Pure Evil concludes its second season, and we’re glad that this show has found an audience because it’s the sort of genre-expanding thing that should be made in Canada. And also because it gives Jason Mewes a job that doesn’t require him to hang around Kevin Smith all the time. (Space, 9 p.m.)


Friday

Chuck concludes with the final two episodes of the series airing back-to-back, and realistically it should not have lasted this long but somehow it did, which has to be at least partly because of their endorsement deal with Subway. But it was a reasonable deal with the devil in order to keep the show going, and the Subway product placement was never too Subway Club. I mean, obvious. (CHCH, 8 p.m.)


The Weekend

We don’t generally advertise pay-per-view events of any type, but this weekend is the 2012 WWE Royal Rumble, and we will always have a soft spot for the Royal Rumble, which usually ends up being an entertaining evening of pro wrestling. The Royal Rumble match itself is a big part of the reason why this is the case, of course, but we are also looking forward to CM Punk (a.k.a. “the most exciting wrestler in years”) and his title match with the truly unfortunately named Dolph Ziggler. (PPV, 8 p.m. Sunday)

The big thing this week is Luck, HBO’s new horse racing drama with an insanely good pedigree: created by David Milch, who created NYPD Blue and Deadwood (and also John From Cincinatti, but let’s not mention that). Pilot directed by Michael Mann, director of Heat, Ali and Collateral! Starring Dustin Hoffman, Nick Nolte and Dennis Farina—and those are only the big names in an excellent cast that also features Richard Kind, Kevin Dunn, and Kerry Condon, among others. So… why isn’t the show better? Because the pilot drags. There’s no nice way to say otherwise. The pilot is a boring episode, and this is all the less forgivable given the plot of the episode (which has a clever scheme in it, and we won’t spoil it for anybody). It should be so much better than it is. The rest of the season feels similarly underwhelming, much in the way that Boardwalk Empire feels like HBO has taken to making “HBO shows” that have all the hallmarks of a quality HBO series without actually being those things. Disappointing. (HBO Canada, 9 p.m. Sunday)

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