I took a little flak for recommending Degrassi: The Next Generation last week, but I stand by my assertion that the Noggin is the kickingest kids' channel ever. Their other flagship show, Radio Free Roscoe, is a bit sharper and sassier than Degrassi, with the crazy adventures of four wacky Canadian high school students and their underground radio show. Lily, Robbie, Ray, and Travis broadcast after school under pseudonyms, critiquing school policies (no headphones!), bitching about their asshole principal (doesn't care about the Boxer Revolution!), and investigating neighborhood crimes (bike theft!). Yeah, it's probably a little lame to be home on a Friday night watching children's programming, but Radio Free Roscoe almost makes you forget what a loser herb you are.
The Noggin, 7:30 p.m.
No matter how long I live in Chicago, I will never get used to hearing "Live from New York, it's Saturday night!" at 10:35. That's an 11:35 phrase if ever there was, and though SNL isn't exactly appointment television, it's not hard to catch a sketch or two before heading out to the wild nightlife of the Central time zone. Tonight, host Christina Aguilera stretches her acting chops by proving once and for all that she's more than just another pretty face. She's a grotesque mishmash of hypersexualized pop culture whoring, too. My money's on a Paris Hilton sketch, a Britney sketch, and I'm keeping my fingers crossed for a revival of "Old French Whore!" At least she won't be singing.
NBC, 10:30 p.m.
Every so often, I come across a reality show that forces me to wonder, where the hell was I when this show held auditions? Dream Job, ESPN's attempt at a reality contest show, premieres tonight. World's biggest botard Stuart Scott hosts 12 wannabe sports anchors competing for a one-year contract with SportsCenter. Based on the bios from the ESPN website, the producers seem to have picked a pretty varied bunch: a guy who describes himself as "an Asian Mario Lopez," a Brown senior, a saucy actor, a marketing exec, and a handful of average joes. This show could probably go either waybotched reality snoozefest (Dream House) or genuinely entertaining rare job contest (King of the Jungle)but minus Playmakers, ESPN really needs a hit. You could say they're due. Or that they could go all the way. Or that they just need to keep their eye on the ball. Or insert your own sports cliché here.
ESPN, 9 p.m.
Sex and the City finally ends tonight, giving the corny and sentimental promo department at HBO a much-needed vacation. Blah, blah, Paris, blah, blah, Mr. Big, blah, blah, why won't Sarah Jessica Parker just do a nude scene like everyone else?
HBO, 8 p.m.
James Brolin? Ew. Married to Barbra Streisand? Ew again. James Brolin hosting Love, Sex & the Miracle of Birth? I think I just threw up a little in my mouth. TLC promises "an in-depth look at the medical conditions surrounding sex and childbirth," and if that's not enough to make you buy a jumbo box of condoms, I don't know what is. Yeah, I'm sure that all this science-y stuff is very interestingonce-sterile men fathering babies, lifesaving strategies for premies, the genetics of homosexualitybut I just can't understand why TLC execs thought James "Reagans" Brolin needed to be the comforting voice explaining placentas or whatever.
TLC, 9 p.m.
Are you there, Mel? It's me, Margaret, and oh man, am I stoked for The Passion of the Christ. Ash Wednesday has never been so exciting! In anticipation of this rockin' J.C. tribute, PAX is giving us The Making of The Passion of the Christ, and if there's anyone we can trust to give us the honest lowdown on crazy guy Mel Gibson, it's definitely the fine folks at PAX. On-set interviews with the cast and crew, behind-the-scenes footagethe only thing that could make this preshow better would be a holla from J.C. himself. I think it would be pretty awesome if it turned out that on the set, all the actors were really silly, and everyone spent all their time making inappropriate religious jokes, pretending to perform miracles and shit, and cursing in Aramaic.
PAX, 8 p.m.
Somewhere in TV world, a programming executive was secretly replaced by a drunken monkey. That's the only plausible explanation for how we wound up with Burt Bacharach: Tribute on Ice. Professional ice skaters clearly have terrible, terrible contracts if they can be forced to participate in such an all-out crapfest, whose second act features a Dionne Warwick medley. Was there a big need for Brian Boitano to skate to "Alfie"? Cause, uh, I was doing OK in this "Alfie"/Boitano-less world, but now that I know it's out there I'm confused, and yet intrigued.
ESPN2, 9:30 p.m.
I caught on to The Apprentice a little late, but I have to say: that is some addictive shit right there. Donald Trump's little whiney underlings are so bitchy and weirdit's hard to take your eyes off them. And they're mysteriously stupid. Take Heidi, who, commenting on Troy's personality, said, "He's from Idaho, so he's got that Southern charm." Oh, Heidi. To think the evil and scary-looking Omarosa called you "unclassy." Tonight, the recruits have to market a new product, which probably means the boys will be boring, some of the girls will be stupid, and Donald Trump will be oddly obsessed with good manners.
NBC, 8 p.m.