ARTS

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March 12, 2004

Stay Tuned

*Friday*

If the phrase "Capitol N, small Y, big fucking Q" isn't immediately familiar, there's a major hole in your comedy knowledge. Denis Leary's "No Cure for Cancer" performance is one of the all-time great stand-up shows. Yeah, it's a bit dated—it first aired in 1993—but Leary is so caustic, so raunchy, so New York that it's still goddamn hilarious. He rails on the NRA, vegetarians, and just about everything else. It's on Comedy Central, so all the potty words will be bleeped out—which is kind of a crime for this act—but it's worth the edited hour for some serious comedy enrichment.

Comedy Central, 10 p.m.

*Saturday*

It might be a little too fitting to direct this to the Trading Spaces execs, but they need to hear it: if it ain't broke, don't freaking fix it. Trading Spaces was good stuff back in the day—straightforward, endearing, vaguely entertaining if you were in the right mood. But then they had to go and tinker with that shit, and it's not cool. Sure, I like Paige Davis more than the on-sedatives Alex McCloud, but what's up with Trading Spaces: Family? Newsflash: other people's kids are goddamn annoying little turds, and watching them botch simple craft projects isn't amusing, not even in a "maybe they'll get hurt" way. Did we not learn our lesson, TS? No, it seems that they will continue to tinker with the set-up, now with the ill-conceived Trading Spaces: Home Free. This is some kind of effed-up tournament, with voting or something, and a mortgage? And people competing? Oh, TLC, for shame. Tonight is a rerun of last Sunday's premiere; catch the second episode tomorrow. If you are a total herb.

TLC, 8 p.m., Sunday 7 p.m.

*Sunday*

HBO really, really loves us. They'll prove it to you tonight with two hours of some of the best TV known to humanity. The Six Feet Under rerun kicks off with a disgruntled employee shooting his boss and a few coworkers at a telemarketing center and just gets better from there. Big ups for amazing guest stars—Catherine O'Hara kicks a ton of ass as annoy-wife Lisa's neurotic boss, especially because you don't really mind people abusing Lisa; she's but a sorry replacement for the dazzling Brenda. Kathy Bates plays the standard big, hempy lesbian she always plays, but we all have our gifts. Oh, and Claire is still bonking that dragon-tattoo crematorium guy. Drama drama drama, dead people, repeat.

The Sopranos isn't as good as it used to be, but holy hell is it still good. You don't even have to be a hardcore fan to enjoy an episode now and then, and Steve Buscemi's guest appearances this season ought to be enough to convince you that now's as good a time as any to be entertained by some Italian stereotypes. Buscemi plays a fresh-outta-prison mobster and childhood friend of Tony's. Drama drama drama, dead people, cannolis, repeat.

HBO, 7 p.m. and 8 p.m.

*Monday*

Kevin Kline: awesome. Kevin Kline building a house: OK, I'm there. Kevin Kline dying of an unspecified cancer: hmm. Kevin Kline and Hayden Christensen, dying father and punked-out son duo: punch me in the face. Life as a House is a terrible movie despite featuring a pretty decent cast. Life as the Most Boring, Pointless Deathfest would have been a more appropriate title. The only reason to watch this movie is a deep love for Kline or a desire to see this weird scene where Christensen and Jena Malone (snooze) take a shower together (but they're just friends!) and then he comes, and she just laughs, kind of. What? I was a teenager once, and I gotta say, I never took platonic orgasm showers. But maybe I'm just a prude.

Encore, 7 p.m.

*Tuesday*

Bravo has made quite the name for itself as the artsy fabulous cable channel, Inside the Actors Studio aside. Whatever, that show is so good. Following their megahit Queer Eye, Bravo is trying to keep its name in the paper (mission accomplished!) with the new and saucy Significant Others. I caught the first episode, and it's sharp and witty, smart and well acted. Most of it is improvised, which usually spells disaster on TV, but the cast deftly weaves the awkward stories together as the show trails a handful of dysfunctional couples from the couch in their therapist's office through their bizarre relationships. It's enough to make you happy to be single.

Bravo, 8 p.m.

*Wednesday*

Happy St. Patrick's Day, fools. If you're going to celebrate they same way I am—that is, by bombing a final—do yourself a favor and get all cheered up by this afternoon's X-Files rerun. "Post-Modern Prometheus," perhaps better known as "The Great Mutato," is a straight-up gem, rocking out from start to finish. Shot in black-and-white and set in Bloomington, Indiana, the episode follows Mulder and Scully's investigation of an urban-lore monster with two mouths. The monster apparently has a soft spot for Cher and fried bologna. Mr. Peterman from Seinfeld plays the monster's dad—it turns out that the Great Mutato is just the sad result of some botched genetic experiments. Ah, it's always something. This episode is a classic, with lots of flirting between our intrepid agents, and a few darling pop-culture nods. Also, what the hell happened to Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny?

SciFi, 3 p.m.

*Thursday*

MTV has always been on the cutting-edge of garbage television; why should now be any different? MTV: I Want a Famous Face is the newest grotesque example of celebrity worship, and it promises to be oh-so-entertaining. In a really foul and upsetting way. Mike and Matt are aspiring actors who want to look like Brad Pitt, so they decide to go crazy on the plastic surgery. Uh, Mike and Matt? Judging by the promos and your pictures on the MTV website, you probably should have started on the show MTV: I Want some Retin-A or Accutane. Brad Pitt? Isn't this setting our sights a little high, considering that you're, I don't know, kind of busted? It's possible that your braces are holding you back, too, but I'm no plastic surgeon. Upcoming episodes include a pre-op transsexual who wants to look like J-Lo, an Elvis impersonator who wants to look even more like Elvis, and a sad, sad 27-year-old who's getting a boob job so she'll look more like Britney Spears. Why couldn't we just call this show I Have No Identity and Some Serious Psychological Issues?

MTV, 7:30 p.m.