Televisualist: Funnier and More Handsome Than Rob Schneider
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Televisualist: Funnier and More Handsome Than Rob Schneider

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.

Alec Baldwin and Tina Fey as Jack Donaghy and Liz Lemon in 30 Rock. Illustration by Brett Lamb/Torontoist.


Mr. D is the CBC’s new sitcom offering starring standup comic Gerry Dee as an incompetent teacher, which according to Dee is not a great stretch as he used to be an incompetent teacher. (TOTALLY TRUE FACT: My little brother was in his gym class when he was a teacher. Asked about him, my little brother’s response was “yeah, he mostly sucked.”) The show looks mildly funny, in the way that CBC sitcoms so often are, but also has a particularly un-CBC streak of viciousness to its gags. We’re curious to see if this pans out and the CBC actually has made a really dark comedy, or if each episode ends with Mr. D showing that he really likes his kids after all. Could go either way. (8 p.m.)

Little Mosque on the Prairie begins its sixth and final season with Carlo Rota having mostly left the show, having been gradually written out due to his increased commitments in Los Angeles, where they apparently pay their actors in money rather than in pieces of paper with “PLEASE GIVE ME SOMETHING, I AM AN ACTOR” written on it. But it’ll be nice to have the rest of the cast back for one last round. (CBC, 8:30 p.m.)

Redemption Inc. is Kevin O’Leary’s new reality show wherein Kevin O’Leary sets out to redeem 10 ex-convicts by giving them a fresh start, and one of them will get $100,000 and a new business courtesy of Kevin O’Leary. If the idea of Kevin O’Leary making moral judgments about absolutely anybody sets you on edge, we want to reassure you that you are not alone and this in fact makes just about everybody other than Kevin O’Leary profoundly uncomfortable. (CBC, 9 p.m.)


The CBC’s big drama offering in the new year is Arctic Air, in which characters talk about how Yellowknife is the “new Calgary” and Adam Beach squints at everybody, delivers his lines in flat monotones, and pretends that he is acting when he does this. Which we could believe if Adam Beach comes to every role with the understanding that he is playing the most boring person in the world. (9 p.m.)

Meanwhile, CTV gives us a “sneak peek” at their new show, The L.A. Complex, which is about Canadians who move to Los Angeles in order to make it big in show business. This show is some sort of elaborate joke, right? In order to make a show about Canadians, CTV sets it in L.A. and makes it about Canadians who can’t make it in Canada because the entertainment industry there is so desperately focused on leeching American content to reduce cost, so they head south? Is CTV just fucking with us at this point? Is that what they’re doing? Because it feels like that’s what they’re doing. (9 p.m.)


Are You There, Chelsea? used to be called Are You There, Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea which made more sense for the name of a show based on Chelsea Handler’s terrible book about her terrible life. (Fun fact: Chelsea Handler herself stars in this show playing her own older sister, which is just weird.) We like Laura Prepon because we remember her from That ’70s Show, but this is burning away all of the goodwill she built up from that. This show is awful, and mean, and not even a little bit funny (even with Natalie Morales and Lauren Lapkus in the cast, who are both great comic actresses). It’s not quite as bad as Work It, but it is damn close. Avoid like the plague. (NBC, 8:30 p.m.)

It’s the People’s Choice Awards, which exist primarily to remind us that the people who vote in the People’s Choice Awards are terrible people with awful taste. No, really, this is a good thing: you can sleep better knowing that you are better than the millions of people who voted that Twilight: Eclipse was the best movie of 2010, or that Adam Sandler was the best comic actor, or that Shit My Dad Says was the best new TV comedy. There is a category this year for “favorite celeb-reality star,” where Kim Kardashian could legitimately win an award of some kind. You are better than these people! That is why the People’s Choice Awards present a valuable service. (CBS, 9 p.m.)

Televisualist doesn’t normally watch Republic of Doyle. Nothing against the show, but we’re just not big on crime/detective shows as a rule, even when they are well-made (and Doyle is certainly well made). However, we will watch tonight’s third-season premiere. Why? Because Russell Crowe is in it. Yes, the famous Russell Crowe, not some other dude with the same name. How did they manage to snag Russell Crowe to guest in this episode? Do they have pictures of him fighting a cute puppy or maybe molesting Degrassi kids? We don’t know. But we’re going to watch Russell Crowe’s first-ever Canadian TV appearance, because come on, how could we not? (CBC, 9 p.m.)


30 Rock returns! Hooray! That is all. (City, 8 p.m.)

Rob is Rob Schneider’s new sitcom, where Rob Schneider plays a guy who has just married an insanely hot girl who has an enormous Mexican family so he can make lots of “ironic” racist jokes, and…look, we know the funny guy/hot wife dichotomy is a TV tradition that goes all the way back to The Honeymooners, but this is where it just breaks down. It was cool when Kevin James had an improbably hot wife. We even put up with Jim Belushi having a very improbably hot wife. But Rob Schneider? No, no, no, no, no. CBS, you have ruined it for everybody. On the other hand: it is still better than Work It. (8:30 p.m.)

The Finder is a new show about an Iraqi war veteran who suffers brain damage and, as a result, becomes an extremely talented private detective thanks to the effects of his brain damage. You know, as brain damage is wont to do. (Global, 9 p.m.)


The Simpsons rerun of the week: “Trilogy of Error,” one of those multiple-storyline episodes the show busts out every so often. It features Linguo, Lisa’s grammar robot, which is choice. “Linguo, dead?” “Linguo is dead.” (CFMT, 10:30 p.m.)

The Weekend

Let’s be honest: there are only two real reasons to watch the 69th Annual Golden Globe Awards. One is a sneak preview of who Hollywood favours to win the Oscars (or, as we like to call them, “the ones that matter”). The other is to see what Ricky Gervais says in his monologue that will be outrageous and insulting. We’re personally hoping for a lot of mocking of Adam Sandler, who worked very hard to make multiple movies in 2011 that were as bad as humanly possible. (CTV, 8 p.m. Sunday)

It’s the animated-series version of Napoleon Dynamite, which we were all sitting around waiting for with baited breath six years ago. And by “we,” I actually mean “anybody but me,” since I really fucking hated Napoleon Dynamite. (Global, 8:30 p.m. Sunday)