Televisualist: The Trained Monkey Did It
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Televisualist: The Trained Monkey Did It

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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The “Duck Dynasty” stars are here seen cosplaying as their walls.

Monday

In case you want to catch Nickelodeon’s latest attempt to create a hit tween sitcom from scratch, YTV has the premiere of Wendell and Vinnie, which is about a tween living with an adult with a tween mentality and, well, just keep saying “tween” until it doesn’t make any more sense to you. (8 p.m.)

Tuesday

We’re actually kind of impressed that Face Off has made it to a fifth season of battling makeup artists. Of course, if you told us “competing models” would make twenty seasons, we wouldn’t have believed that either, but this is the way TV works now, right? (Space, 9 p.m.)

Although Televisualist is generally quite scornful of TLC’s docudrama reality series, we don’t mind The Little Couple quite so much, primarily because the eponymous couple, both living with dwarfism, are really pleasant people who just have slightly unusual lives because, well, they’re really short, and the world isn’t built for them. It’s not the most interesting show in the world, to be honest (six seasons of this show is… a lot, really), but it’s okay. (10 p.m.)

Heroes of Cosplay is a docu-reality show about cosplayers, and, this might shock you, but the producers have chosen to focus on nine cosplayers, eight of whom are extremely attractive women, and the ninth of whom is a token dude who dresses up in armour. On the one hand, we’re amused that the dude has to be the token for once; on the other, judging by the previews, there’s definitely a little bit of “let’s film all the pretty girls posing in sexy costumes” thing going on. But at least they go into the complexity of the costume builds, and that is interesting. (Space, 10:30 p.m.)

Wednesday

Oh my god, Bad Girls! This gets paired off frequently with Posse, which was made a year earlier, because Posse is a Western where the heroes are mostly black, and Bad Girls is a Western where the heroes are mostly female. However, there is one important difference, which is that Posse is a hilariously awesome three-quarters-insane balls-to-the-wall-and-then-through-it flick, and Bad Girls is completely terrible. (FX Canada, 7 p.m.)

Hey, does anybody remember when Duck Dynasty premiered, and we were all, “huh, a show about guys who make duck calls” and figured it would last maybe a season or two? Well, funny thing, it’s doubled its viewership in every season and is now the second-most-watched show on American cable TV (only The Walking Dead gets more viewers). So, the next time we explain the premise of some stupid-sounding reality series and you think, “Why would they even make that show? Who would watch this?”—well, this is why. (A&E, 10 p.m.)

Thursday

Mama Drama aired last year on VH1 in the States. The premise was, “Let’s put a bunch of mother-daughter pairs with no sense of boundaries in a house together.” If this sounds like your type of show, that’s great! Just stand still while we douse you in gasoline. Trust us, it’s a new type of skin treatment. (MuchMoreMusic, 9 p.m.)

Owner’s Manual is a new reality show from AMC (current motto: “Look, we like scripted television too, but it’s expensive okay”) wherein one guy reads the owner’s manual for any given piece of dangerous equipment (a train, a plane, a big drill thing, et cetera) and the other guy just sort of wings it and maybe dies. Well, if it pays for the final season of Mad Men, we guess it’ll do. (10 p.m.)

Friday

The Simpsons rerun of the week: “The Book Job,” wherein Homer gets Neil Gaiman and Lisa to write a tween-fantasy-literature novel. Tweens again, oy vey. “I heisted myself to the bestseller list once again—and the most brilliant part is I don’t even know how to read!” (CFMT, 6 p.m.)

The Weekend

Whodunnit? has become our guilty pleasure for the summer because it’s so deliciously hammy: the butler/host with his fake British accent over-enunciating absolutely every terrible pun the writers could cram into “the killer’s” messages when he reads them each episode, the way the contestants are “murdered” when they’re eliminated and become the next challenge to solve (and have to hold their breath when they’re being “inspected” at the morgue, and also not snicker), the ridiculously convoluted murder plots “the killer” puts together (example: rigging a hidden switch in the kitchen to release a mountain lion so that the contestants won’t realize the victim actually died as a result of being sprayed with cyanide gas, rather than being mauled to death), and of course the absolutely ridiculous ideas the contestants genuinely come up with because they usually don’t manage to find all the clues “the killer” puts in plain sight (“…and that is when your trained monkey shot him!”). Also the fact that we’re pretty sure we’ve known which contestant is secretly “the killer” since episode two (it’s Cris the former beauty queen, whose line readings are just a bit too… clean). It’s been silly as hell, but also lots of fun, and that’s enough. (CTV, 8 p.m. Sunday)

CORRECTION: August 13, 8:00 AM This post previously referred to “Cris, the former beauty queen,” as “Chris, the veterinarian.” The correction has been made above.

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