October 16, 2003

Stay Tuned with Margaret Lyons


Now's your chance to catch up on all the episodes of Making the Band II you missed when you had a job. MTV, rather than coming up with new or creative material, is rehashing that same old shit for five hours, starting at 5 p.m. Watch P. Diddy get huffy when the six members of Da Band (uh-oh, looks like I ruined the drama for the episode where they have to name themselves) act like total babies, beat the shit out of each other, complain about everything, show up late, and sing/rap extremely crappy songs.

MTV, 5 p.m.


The World Series starts at 6:30, mofos—why would you watch something else?

Fox, 6:30 p.m.

Perhaps you want a little culture during your baseball commercial breaks. Perhaps all you know about Cat on a Hot Tin Roof you learned from that episode of 90210 where Brenda auditions for it and fakes that really crappy southern accent and then that sleazy British guy invites her to England. In any case, you can catch Richard Brooks' adaptation that promises "All the sultry drama of Tennessee Williams' Pulitzer Prize winning play!" Starring Paul Newman, before he was made of leather, and Elizabeth Taylor, before she was weird and crazy. Let the sultry drama begin.

PBS, 8 p.m.

If you think baseball is a little boring and want something more competitive, more edge-of-your-seat, more heart-pounding, more about clams, tonight's episode of Iron Chef has your name all over it. Iron Chef Chinese Chen Kenichi is sure to thrill in this battle of the clams, but was probably a lot more exciting when it was filmed in 1995.

Food Network, 9 p.m.


Carnivále is weird. The midget from Twin Peaks runs a traveling—you guessed it—carnival, complete with a strong man, conjoined twins, a bearded lady, a comatose woman who communicates through her tarot-card-reading daughter, a guy who sees the future and makes out with the bearded lady, a lizard guy, a snake charmer, and…a burlesque show? What kind of carnival is this? How come the kid from The Man Without a Face can resurrect dead kittens and make crippled little girls on the prairie walk, and why is he trapped in a mineshaft? Why does everyone on this show exclusively call breasts "titties"? The questions go on and on. Carnivále is strange and creepy, and tonight marks the halfway point of the 12-episode season. Tune in to learn all about Carnival Justice. Small hands. Smell like cabbage.

HBO, 8 p.m.


Holy shit, brace yourself: tonight starts the new season of Joe Millionaire. This time around, some fuckstick from Texas fools women from Europe into thinking that "hee's reech" (as one kind of ugga blonde squeals on the promo), but he's actually just a broke-ass rodeo clown. Man, that Swedish lady is going to be so sad.

Fox, 8 p.m.

VH1's I Love the '80s ruled last Christmas break. I Love the '70s was pretty OK over the summer. So let's hope I Love the '80s Strikes Back doesn't suck. It's a cute enough concept—talk to funny people about the '80s, let the hilarity ensue—that works when they interview actual funny people (Mo Rocca, Michael Ian Black) but sort of flounders when they interview not funny people (Hal Sparks, members of N*SYNC). Tune in for two hours every night this week (two years per day) to relive it all, even the parts you weren't alive for.

VH1, 8 p.m.


Little known fact: Gilmore Girls isn't shitty. You might think it's shitty because it's on the WB, the place where shitty shows go to do crossovers, but it's not. The dialogue is surprisingly sharp and fast-paced ("Say something to make me hate you!" "Go Hitler?"), the plotlines mostly credible, the acting decent enough. Now that Rory is off to Yale, you can relate to the show a little better—you have a super hot mom, right? And grandparents that pay for everything? Tonight, Rory is indecisive, Lorelai is neurotic, and Luke is gruffy but mysteriously hot—so it's pretty much like every other episode.

WB, 7 p.m.

GQ is a relatively classy publication. Spike TV is the channel that runs episodes of The A-Team. The two go together about as well as Hummers and L'Oreal, the co-sponsors of this year's masturbatory GQ Men of the Year Awards. Chefs, style hounds, musicians, athletes, and actors gather to get shit-faced and pretend like they care about stuff.

Spike TV, 8 p.m.


Tonight's West Wing is a rerun, which is a blessing if you consider how unbelievably dull and shitty this season has been. Back in the good old days, when Aaron Sorkin was writing what was once the best show on television, snappy dialogue crackled between intelligent characters as they explained complex political issues and discussed personal drama. Now, not so much. On tonight's episode, Josh and Amy argue about women's rights while trying to mask their undying, passionate nerd love for each other. In the most recent new episode, Amy put her bare feet on Josh's desk, and then they kissed. John Wells has officially sucked the life out of the Bartlett presidency.

NBC, 8 p.m.


How hard does your show have to suck to be replaced by Whoopi in NBC's no-show-can-fail, Just-Shoot-Me-was-on-for-years Thursday night lineup? Too bad, Coupling. Instead of forcing yourself to watch the excruciating half-hour of Whoopi Goldberg sucking slightly less hard, give Extreme Makeover a try. An incredibly fucked-up spin on the standard new-outfit-and-hair-do idea, Extreme really goes the distance, providing its participants with "multiple plastic surgeries." Yipes. I was hoping, based on the title, that the show would turn everyday folks into snowboarders or BMX bikers, but oh well—I'll settle for humanity at its most vile.

ABC, 8 p.m.