Televisualist: Sick Day
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Televisualist: Sick Day

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.

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Look at Warwick Davis there, no doubt using some story from when he was Wicket in “Return of the Jedi” to lull Karl Pilkington into a state of false complacency. We must be wary of such things. Look at the man’s eyes. He is a natural predator.

[NOTE: Our intrepid television columnist typically does his weekly column after reviewing promotional material, watching screener copies, and doing copious research. This week, however, he was sick with what he only referred to as “probably plague of some kind.” We were going to have somebody else do the column this week instead, but he insisted that he could do it. We have edited what he sent us into the most coherent mass possible. Our apologies in advance.]

Monday

It’s The Biggest Loser‘s series finale. But really, these people are going about it all wrong, because just judging from this weekend, the way to lose weight is to be afflicted with a horrible, energy-sapping plague that removes all desire to eat. Granted, that wouldn’t be as oddly telegenic as the runs through the desert and marathon exercise sessions that Biggest Loser features every season, and also Jillian Michaels would have to come up with some new stuff to scream at her charges. (“GET SICKER!” “SNIVEL MORE!” “YOU CALL THAT WHIMPERING AS IF YOU WISHED YOU WERE DEAD? I DON’T EVEN BELIEVE YOU WANT TO NOT EXIST!”) But she would probably be up to it. (NBC, 8 p.m.)

So it’s another season of Dancing With the Stars and we don’t know whether it’s fairer to make jokes about Andy Dick being a contestant, or Kellie Pickler. (D.L. Hughley is a distant third, mainly because of the fact that so many people mispronounce his name.) I mean, Pickler, as a former American Idol contestant who sort of managed to slightly rise above that for a few years, is returning to her pervious fame level here. On the other hand, the case for making a joke about Andy Dick is that he is Andy Dick, one of the most universally loathed celebrities there is. We’re talking about a guy who got thrown out of the AVN porn awards for groping! So, yeah, Dancing With the Stars is now a show that decided to have Andy Dick appear. Good on you, guys. (ABC, 8 p.m.)

Bates Motel is a series-length prequel to Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho. We’re not sure who wants to watch “Young Serial Killer: The Series,” but then again Dexter has been running for how many years now so who are we to judge. (A&E, 10 p.m.)


Tuesday

Splash is another “celebrities do things!” show, and this time around the celebrities (which include Louis Anderson, Keshia Knight Pulliam, and Drake Bell) are platform and springboard diving. The show was previously a minor hit in the UK (where there is a constant appetite for moderately famous people doing ridiculous things, enabled in part by the UK’s murderous sense of class) and now it comes to the New World! Hooray, we guess. (ABC, 8 p.m.)

Urban Tarzan is some show about animal control people in the big city, but you know what really is more important that that? There is a NeoCitran shortage. You can’t buy it anywhere because something went wrong with the NeoCitran factory and now, when important people are sick, there is no hot lemon drink that makes everything all better. Why are people not writing their members of Parliament about this? “Dear Member of Parliament: Why is there no NeoCitran yet? What the fuck. Signed: A TAXPAYER.” Seriously, this is how wars get started. Wars. (Spike, 10:30 p.m.)


Wednesday

Last week on Survivor, Brandon Hantz got himself eliminated, and this is noteworthy because he was eliminated mostly because he was clearly mentally unfit to play the game—which was also pretty obvious the first time he played it. There needs to be more of a conversation about this. CBS quite clearly brought someone back to play Survivor because of his name-recognition value. But should that have been trumped by the “yes, but he is also pretty obviously unstable and bringing him back will just end up doing him harm” factor? Particularly when you throw him into the same tribe as Phillip, who is revealing himself to be even more of a narcissistic lunatic than he did previously? And when you know—or at least suspect—that Brandon is capable of doing harm to others? (Global, 8 p.m.)

Millionaire Matchmaker returns, but you know what? NyQuil isn’t nearly as great as it used to be. Did they change the formula? It used to be you would down your cup of NyQuil and BOOM, you were out for eight hours of “Too Unconcious To Notice That You’re Sick.” Now, it doesn’t do that. Did the NyQuil people get sued, maybe? Somebody missed an important job interview because they took some NyQuil beforehand and then sued the NyQuil people? Way to ruin it for the rest of us, “Guy Who Took Nyquil Before His Important Job Interview.” I mean, they make DayQuil for a reason. (Slice, 10 p.m.)


Thursday

This is officially when the 2013 NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Tournament kicks off—or, if you prefer, “March Madness.” Of course, the NCAA is currently being sued over its ability to profit off the likenesses of college athletes basically forever, so who knows how many more of these March Madnesses there will be. Also, this year’s edition will no doubt be quite important for the purposes of the NBA draft, which is currently mostly all over the place and does not have anything near a consensus top pick. All of this is to say that when number-seven Creighton plays number-ten Cincinnati in the first round, it will have import beyond the basic level of who wins prizes based on how well they filled out their NCAA winner’s sheet in the office pool. (CBS, beginning at 2:30 p.m.)

Returning for another season: Wife Swap, that reality show that felt like it should have ended three years ago, but that somehow keeps going. Which is probably the only thing it has in common with this plague Televisualist is suffering from. Well, that and the fact that we refer to ourselves in the third person more than we should, although at this point we’re exhausted enough that it all seems to make sense. Why doesn’t everybody just refer to themselves in the third person all the time? That way, we’d all be more like the Rock, and who doesn’t want to be more like the Rock? Because the Rock is kind of great, except—and this is an odd thing—when he’s actually wrestling. He’s famous for being a pro wrestler, but he’s best at not wrestling! That’s amazing. What show were we talking about again? Oh, right, Wife Swap. You know whose wife they should swap? The Rock’s. That would be great. (ABC, 8 p.m.)

The Simpsons rerun of the week: “Pray Anything,” wherein Homer prays for good things to happen because he’s jealous of Ned Flanders. “If it weren’t for Alcoholics Anonymous, I’d still be sucking the juice out of glow sticks.” (Comedy Network, 8:30 p.m.)


Friday

We’ve been sitting at the computer for an hour now, trying to think of something to say about Last Man Standing, which concludes its second season tonight and seems likely to be picked up for a third season, on the basis that it can get ratings slightly better than a rerun of, say, Shark Tank. (It’s possible that we’ve been sitting here at the computer for longer than an hour, because consciousness keeps fading in and out, and discussing a Tim Allen sitcom is not really going to keep you sharp.) Why is this show still on? Is it just that it can sometimes beat a rerun of Kevin O’Leary yelling at somebody on television and reminding us all that he has a really punchable face? Is there that big a market for Tim Allen’s stale mid-90s standup routine, recycled into another bad sitcom? Why doesn’t ABC just air reruns of Home Improvement instead? Wouldn’t that be cheaper than paying Tim Allen to make new versions of the same show? Are the major networks just refusing to acknowledge that their creative bankruptcy is turning Nick at Nite’s business model into the new hot thing? (City, 8 p.m.)


The Weekend

An Idiot Abroad returns for a third season of Karl Pilkington grumbling while he travels. This time around, he’s joined by Warwick Davis, who will remind us all that we liked Willow, while teaching us valuable things about traveling while extremely short. We wonder if Warwick Davis ever just tries to travel as other people’s carry-on luggage in order to save money. Yes, it would be dishonest, but if we were that size, we would certainly consider it, what with the price of airfare and all. We are certainly not suggesting that people of lesser size are inherently dishonest, either. Although you have to admit, Warwick Davis has always looked kind of shifty. Can we trust him? Seriously, can we? (Discovery, 8 p.m. Sunday)

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