Televisualist: Unemployed In Trumpland
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Televisualist: Unemployed In Trumpland

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.

Luckily, George Takei is trained to deal with human wind tunnels after a career spent in the presence of William Shatner.


Monday

Undercover Boss: Abroad is basically the standard Undercover Boss formula of “have a boss go undercover, complain that the work is hard, then give the employees prizes so as to not have to do anything about how the work is shitty,” except these are global companies rather than American ones. But don’t expect to see any undercover bosses going to work in overseas sweatshops, because that would run contrary to the principles of Undercover Boss—or lack thereof. (TLC, 9 p.m.)

“Do you want me to send you back to where you were? Unemployed, in Greenland?” “You mean, you’ll put down your rock and I’ll put down my sword, and we’ll try and kill each other like civilized people?” “Rodents Of Unusual Size? I don’t think they exist.” “Let me explain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up.” “Mawwidge, that bwessed awangement, that dweam wiffin a dweam.” “It just so happens that your friend here is only mostly dead.” “Probably some local fisherman, out for a pleasure cruise at night in eel-infested waters.” “Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.” “This is true love—you think this happens every day?” If you don’t know The Princess Bride, what the hell is wrong with you? (CHCH, 9 p.m.)

Tuesday

Making a long-overdue triumphant return (or, well, sorta) is Cougar Town, which is apparently sticking with the Cougar Town name for the time being. (Let’s be honest, it should just be called Boozing.) But we love the show no matter what it goes by, because Bill Lawrence has brought along all of the comedic silliness from Scrubs, and also because the show’s unofficial crossovers with Community are wonderful bits of meta-humour. (City, 8:30 p.m.)

New Girl has been steadily improving after a shaky start, partly by downplaying Zooey Deschanel’s quirkiness so that her Jess, rather than just being a set of adjectives, is actually a human being. The gag writing has been steadfast throughout, but a few weeks ago Lizzy Caplan (Party Down) joined the cast on a temporary basis, and—quite apart from the fact that Lizzy Caplan is beautiful and talented and awesome on numerous levels (except for the fact that she is in a relationship with Matthew Perry)—she is a perfect foil for Zooey Deschanel. One can only hope that Team New Girl recognizes this and brings her on full-time. Sadly, we doubt that will happen. (City, 9 p.m.)

Wednesday

Survivor returns for a fresh new season, and the wrinkle this time around is the “One World” gimmick, wherein the two tribes will live together rather than on separate beaches. It’s interesting, because this actually has a lot of potential to alter the standard Survivor gameplay. Now, the capacity for inter-tribal alliances and coordination early in the game exists on a level that has never really been available to Survivor players before. Of course, this will depend on whether the producers have cast actual players rather than the idiot brigade of wannabe-starfuckers they’ve been casting the last couple of seasons. The lack of returning “All-Stars” can only help in that regard. (Global, 8 p.m.)

Thursday

The Simpsons rerun of the week: “Lard of the Dance,” wherein Homer steals cooking grease from restaurant grease traps for profit. “Marge, if you don’t mind, I’m a little busy right now achieving financial independence.” “With cans of grease?” “No, through savings and wise investment. Of course with grease.” (CJMT, 10:30 p.m.)

Friday

I’m probably horrible at heart, because when I saw that the 43rd NAACP Image Awards were this week, the only thing that came to mind was: “I wonder how long the Whitney Houston memorial/tribute segment of the show will be?” Oh well. (NBC, 8 p.m.)

So, on Twitter last week there was a #FiveFavoriteMovies hashtag game floating around, and on my list was Glory (along with Big Trouble In Little China, Hard Boiled, Three Kings, and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, since I know you’re wondering), and someone asked, “Really? Glory?” And I said “yes,” and told them to catch it on some Turner-owned network since it was only a matter of time. And here it is! Glory: Providing quality content to Turner-owned networks since the early 1990s. (Turner Classic, 8 p.m.)

The Weekend

The Amazing Race comes back for its 20th iteration, with a team of former Big Brother contestants (because CBS wants Big Brother to really be an omnipresent thing), a team of Jersey Shore wannabes (because CBS wants to get the almighty Snooki dollar), a team of federal agents, a team of border-patrol agents, a team consisting of an ex–combat pilot and his wife (because CBS is the network of NCIS and as such must pay homage to the mighty American military/police machine), a team of married circus clowns (because CBS cannot ruin The Amazing Race, no matter how they might try), and a team of friends whose names are Mark and Bopper (because one of them is named Bopper!). (CTV, 8 p.m.)

Also returning to the reality world: Celebrity Apprentice, a.k.a. “Donald Trump can’t run for president because he needs the money from his horrible show.” This season’s selection of individuals willing to demean themselves by submitting to the notion that Donald Trump is in any way fit to judge them for charity includes Arsenio Hall, Dee Snider, Lou Ferrigno, Clay Aiken, Penn Jillette, Tia Carrere, and George Takei (who we desperately hope will not take any of Trump’s crap). (NBC, 9 p.m.)

As we see Pan Am come to what is almost certainly its end (no official cancellation announcement has been made, and ABC previously said that despite its awful ratings the show is on the bubble for renewal, but network shows that stop after 14 episodes and have bad ratings generally don’t come back), let us consider what did not work about this show. The stupid espionage subplot? No, that did not work. The attempts to remake Mad Men with a PG rating? Nope, that didn’t work either. Christina Ricci doing light comedy? Definitely didn’t work. The CGI planes? Didn’t work. But the girl who played the French stewardess was definitely good. So there is that. Maybe she’ll get to be in a real show in the future. (CTV, 10 p.m.)

Life’s Too Short is Ricky Gervais’ new sitcom, but really it is Warwick Davis’s (Willow, and so much more) show about being Warwick Davis and also being a famous dwarf. Davis, Gervais, and Stephen Merchant all play fictionalized versions of themselves (à la Curb Your Enthusiasm) and they are all basically pricks. So it’s funny. The “Liam Neeson does comedy” clip that went viral a couple of months ago is from this show, so if you liked that, you should like this show. (HBO Canada, 10:30 p.m.)

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