Clearly, you shouldn't be at home watching TV on a Friday night. That's a little shameful. But in case you have mono or you want to watch something while you pre-gamesomething you don't have to pay attention toit is, for the time being, acceptable to watch Miss Match. Alicia Silverstone flexes her acting muscles as a vaguely ditzy divorce lawyer (who claims that she could have worked at any firm, but chose to work with/for her dad) who moonlights as a matchmaker. Oh, the wacky hijinx; oh, the dramatic tension. Oh, what a not very good show. The first episode was pretty predictable and didn't seem too concerned with the fact that people whose divorces are newly finalized are perhaps not the prime candidates for new relationships. The real reason to watch this show is to comment on the unreasonable fashion choices Silverstone sports, and even that gets tiresome: you can only say "A lawyer would never wear that to court" so many times. Perhaps you could incorporate that into the pre-gaming.
NBC, 7 p.m.
Friday also marks your chance to catch up on Monk, last summer's USA hit about a detective with obsessive compulsive disorder. Tony Shalhoub just won (and deserved) an Emmy for his role as the title character, but Bitty Schram (A League of Their Own) as his ho-bag-with-a-heart-of-gold assistant is equally deserving of praise. Monk is a highly creative and surprisingly intelligent spin on the tried and true detective genre that blends interesting characters, creative guest stars (Amy Sedaris, Andrew McCarthy) and sharp writing into a cable comedy/drama success.
USA, 9 p.m. and 11 p.m.
Jack Black is hosting Saturday Night Live for its season premiere. Five bucks says it will be lukewarm, with some spots of humor, but overall nothing special just like every episode of SNL for the last 15 years. Just kidding, Jimmy Fallon, you know I love you.
NBC, 10:30 p.m.
Just when I thought Sunday nights had gone to shit since Sex and the City started sucking ass and The Sopranos got way too obscure, Trading Spaces: 100 Grand arrives to rock my world. Doug and Laurie are each getting $50,000 to make people with crappy taste cry. Tune in to see Ty grapple with his adult ADD, Amy Wynn make lesbians everywhere swoon, and Paige suck up oxygen that the rest of us with real jobs would otherwise breathe.
TLC, 7 p.m.
Monday nights. Sports. Fall. Monday night football? Baseball playoffs? Guess again, ass-wipe. Try the real thrill-of-victory, agony-of-defeat world of competitive double dutch. You haven't seen real athleticism until you've seen a squad of French-braided, Umbros-wearing 13-year-olds go crazygonuts jumping rope. Why is double dutch not an Olympic sport?
ESPN 2, 8 p.m.
ESPN is trying to sneak its way into the FX-dominated world of "gritty" dramas with Playmakers, the story of a fictional football team. Playmakers uses drugs, sex, comas, domestic violence, loyalty, and all your standard sports clichés (old guy still thinks he's got it, new guy snorts coke before games) to make an hour of watchable, if far from fabulous, TV. You don't really get to see the Cougars in action, but you do get your weekly reminder that athletes use a lot of potty words.
ESPN, 7 p.m. and 8 p.m.
Did you ever wish you were in a sorority? Me neither. But Sorority Life is good anyway. This season tracks the vapid existences of aspiring Zeta Sigma Phi sisters as they argue over their Range Rovers, apply too much lip gloss, make ugly crafts, and, of course, bitch each other out. It appears that none of these girls can ever be on time, even though, like, the point of their sorority is punctuality. Or something.
Fraternity Life is similarly weak but slightly more entertaining. The first episode of the season introduced the brother and fifth-year Chris, but he goes by his nickname Snatchand can he introduce you to his ferrets? He owns ferrets. The most recent episode involved a guy puking on himself, the pledges doing a lame scavenger hunt, and going to an underage club in Las Vegas. Both Greek shows cover pretty well-worn territory in reality-TV land, but with drinking, competing, bitching, and impeding catfights and homoeroticism, it's worth tuning in.
MTV, 10 p.m. and 10:30 p.m.
Oh please, everyone watches Friends on Thursdays. In case you didn't know, this is the last season. Did you catch that? The last one. After this, no more Friends. If you're a first-year, Friends has been on since you were in third grade.
If you can't respect your TV roots, but you just like saying "Moby Dick" and "sperm whale," now's your chance to catch the epic saga of Moby Dick: The True Story. The hour of edge-of-your-seat whaling adventure includes what happens after the ship sinks, which is starvation and cannibalism. Ahoy, mateys.
Discovery Channel, 7 p.m.