The Wife:

We don’t usually do news here, but since I’m trying to decide what shows I can and can’t watch next year (thus, can and can’t cover) because of grad school, I figured I’d help you all out by sharing my handy-dandy season schedules for the major networks here at Children of St. Clare.

I’ve listed everything by hour, as most networks are running hour-long shows these days, so two half-hour shows are listed in the same box with the time the latter show starts in between them. If a show runs longer than one hour, I’ve indicated the length and listed it in the hour in which it starts. Asterisks (*) indicate new shows, and I’ll have some snap judgments on those shows following these graphics:

falllineupMTWRF

And here’s the weekend schedule for the fall, which, as you can see, is largely blank:

FallineupSS

In January, the networks will change to their midseason schedules:

midseasonlineupMTWRF

And here’s the weekend midseason schedule

midseasonlineupSS

Now, on the midseason schedule, you may notice some funny little symbols after the network names. Here are those footnotes:

  • # ABC has not yet announced its midseason lineup. The have, however, three new shows on deck: V, Happy Town and The Deep End, as well as returning shows Lost, Wife Swap, True Beauty, The Bachelor, Better Off Ted and Scrubs. Timeslots all to be determined.
  • + CBS has not yet announced its midseason lineup, but has the following shows for midseason replacements: Miami Trauma*, The Bridge*, Undercover Boss*, Arranged Marriage*, Rules of Engagement, Flashpoint
  • = CW’s midseason debut is Parental Discretion Advised, timeslot to be determined.
  • Additionally, Fox has Hell’s Kitchen scheduled for Summer 2010, and has Kitchen Nightmares on deck to fill holes in the schedule.

Now, for my snap judgments . . .

NBC: While we all know by now how I feel about Jay Leno, I can honestly tell you that the only one of their new shows I will definitely watch is Joel McHale’s comedy pilot Community, joining the NBC Thursday comedy block in 30 Rock‘s spot until it returns at midseason. Community has a good premise (McHale finds his college degree is invalid and must go back to community college to make up the credits), and has both McHale and Chevy Chase, who turned in a good performance as the villain at the end of Chuck season 2. I am overjoyed that Chuck is returning at midseason, as I think a 13-episode run will give us only the most super-concentrated awesomeness Chuck has to offer. I do not need another medical show in my life, so I’m declining Trauma and Michelle Trachtenberg’s nursing show, Mercy. 100 Questions looks so much like Friends that it is entirely out of the question for me. But then there’s Day One, which has a nice pedigree of coming from the people who work on Lost, Heroes and Fringe. It could be awesome, or it could be hokey, but I think it’s the only other promising thing NBC has to offer us.

ABC: I am delighted that ABC has given a permanent slot to Castle, allowing Nathan Fillion to prove he is charming, rakish and shouldn’t be a showkiller! He and Adam Baldwin have broken their own curse! Other than that, though, I am extremely concerned at how unimpressive the new shows debuting for fall seem, compared to the stuff ABC has on deck for midseason. Not a single one of the Wednesday night comedy block shows looks palatable. Hank looks downright abysmal, The Middle looks, well, middling, Modern Family falls flat and Cougar Town is trying way too hard. I might DVR Eastwick because I like Rebecca Romjin and Lindsay Price, but I have no emotional ties to either the previous film or the novel upon which it’s based to grab my immediate attention. I watched a clip from The Forgotten and I can tell you right now that I think it’s going to be the most dour procedural on television, and I certainly don’t need that in my life. I am, however, intrigued by Flash Forward because I like both time travel and Joseph Fiennes. But what sounds really interesting are the midseason shows. The Deep End is about law students and, out of all the ABC clips I watched, it certainly has the most character, pizzazz and joy. It also has Tina Majorino, looking the prettiest she’s ever looked. I will give that a shot when it premeires. I will also give hardcore sci-fi reboot V a shot, as we certainly don’t have any shows on network TV currently dealing with alien invasion, and I’m really jazzed on the trailer for Happy Town, which seems like its going to be a slightly more normal Twin Peaks (in that its a small town mystery), only this time, with Amy Acker!

FOX: I’m wary of a fall edition of SYTYCD, but I do see the benefit of it giving FOX a consistent schedule so that things don’t get shitfucked when Idol rolls around at midseason. Perhaps, if this is a success, going forward we’ll have to find a new totally awesome summer reality competition . . . maybe one for actors? OR MAYBE WE CAN MAKE A TRIPLE THREAT SHOW BECAUSE I WOULD TOTALLY WATCH THAT????? (Please, FOX?!!!!) Fox is actually my favorite of the networks so far, actually. I’m happy to see they’ve renewed Dollhouse and paired Bones with Fringe, which makes for a really rockin’ Thursday. Also excited to see Sons of Tucson with Tyler Labine as it looks pretty funny from the promo.  Human Target looks pretty fun, too. And you best fucking bet I will be watching Glee. The only thing I think I’d really pass on, here, is Past Life, and that’s just because I’m not really interested in seeing a show that solves crimes using past life regression (although one of my favorite X-Files episodes has exactly that conceit). So, rock on, FOX. You are my winner for next season.

CBS: I will be skipping pretty much every new show on CBS this year as they continue to build their police procedural empire. However, I will give a try to the new Monday comedy Accidentally on Purpose, even though it’s based on the memoirs of a film critic I don’t like very much, the Contra Costa Times‘ Mary F. Pols, who can’t seem to see the good in anything at all. The show is set in San Francisco, though Pols lives somewhere in the Walnut Creek area in reality, I assume, and Jenna Elfman plays the fictional version of Pols’ film critic who accidentally gets pregnant by a younger, one-night stand and decides to keep the baby, and it’s daddy. I generally like Jenna Elfman and, of course, adore Grant Show, who will be playing her boss. I will also give Three Rivers a shot, because it stars Moonlight‘s Alex O’Laughlin and its about organ donation, so there’s a chance I could see him repeat at least part of his horrifying performance in Feed, a film in which he kidnaps obese women and feeds them their own fat until they die. (How he would repeat part of that performance, I don’t know, but I’d like to see CBS try.)

CW: Will I watch a show produced by Ashton Kutcher about teenage models called The Beautiful Life? Yes, I will. Will I watch a show about teenage vampires called The Vampire Diaries? Indeed, I would probably watch something like that, as long as it sucked in a good way and not a bad way. Melrose Place? I have even less of a connection to that show than to 90210, so I’m not inclined to watch the reboot — especially since Ashlee Simpson’s on it. But, hey, I might need some mind-numbing crap to counterbalance all my grad school reading, so perhaps. I’ll give Melrose Place a perhaps, a perhaps perhaps, even, if I choose to continue watching 90210, making my Tuesday nights just like 1992. I am, however, surprised that CW axed the Gossip Girl spin-off, as even though I didn’t like the backdoor pilot, I did think the show had potential. I’m also surprised they axed Jason Dohring and Minka Kelly’s legal show, Body Politic, if only because I was hoping both former Moonlight vampires would have jobs come fall, but I guess it just wasn’t in the cards for Josef Kostan nee Logan Echolls.

So, as the curtain on this TV season falls, you can look forward to me actually writing about Mad Men this summer, as well as many, many articles on SYTYCD. After that, I’m going to have to see what my fall schedule is like and compare it to the above fall schedules to see what I can really watch and what I can, in turn, cover.

I’ll make you guys a chart of all that later.

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A quick catch-up with My Name Is Earl…

The Husband:

Here we go, four posts in one.

“Joy In A Bubble”

I always tend to gravitate toward the episodes of Earl that hold within them a lot of sweetness, so I was incredibly pleased with this one which taught Joy a very valuable lesson — that just because she’s a bitch, her children shouldn’t have to suffer because of it.

When Earl takes on an item on his list that he “cost Joy a hot tub, he finds one on the side of the road (complete with a homeless man living under it) and gives it to her as a present. Unfortunately, it’s full of disease so she gets a horribly infected toe, resulting in her having to be bubbled up Travolta-Gyllenhaal style in her own trailer. This turns off Darnell considerably, as he is very serious about disease.

Joy: Are you boiling your clothes?

Darnell: Uh…I’m making iced tea!

To make it up to Joy, Earl has to be Joy for a while, including going to the beauty salon and catching her up on all the gossip, as well as picking the kids up from school. There, he finds that the boys have been ostracized because Joy is so hated by everybody, and Joy doesn’t want her kids to be around anyone who hates her. As one school official tells Earl:

“About time she got a real disease. She comes down with cancer every time we need parents for a field trip. First couple of times we even raised money for her.”

When Joy learns of Camden’s hatred of her, she bursts out of her bubble and intends to take vengeance on all those who done her wrong, but she finally thinks better of the situation and learns to be a better parent. It’s these kinds of episodes that get me to really love this very silly show, a characteristic that separates it from dumber sitcoms.

“Stole An RV”

This less-than-funny episode, though, dealt it unnecessary violence and fairly worthless chaos, as Earl helps a war veteran (Jerry Van Dyke) regain everything they took from him when they stole his RV and accidentally blew it up. For one, they pull a Lars & The Real Girl on him and dress a Real Doll like his wife, and follow it up with finding him a jug so he can get back into playing his favorite instrument.

“I love the jug. Easiest instrument to learn. Hardest to master. Actually, that’s not true.” — Veteran

When they mention that they lost the shriveled ear he had, he goes nuts and stalks a former war buddy whose ear he cut off years earlier, now intent on cutting his other ear. He goes all house invasion on the war buddy, but by the end they are okay again, the buddy giving the veteran his final heart medication pill so he doesn’t die.

The episode was too formulaic and look-at-me crazy to be anything special, but I still got some great quotes out of it.

  • “They don’t watch black-and-white movies because it reminds them too much of newspapers.” — Darnell
  • “I think I know the difference between a prehistoric pig and Jumbo Sally!” — Joy
  • “You can’t catch a pig with bacon. That’s like trying to catch a cow with a cheeseburger.” — Darnell
  • “This should be a lesson about trying to kill people when you’re over 60.” — Earl

“Sweet Johnny”

In a formulaic but ultimately interesting episode, Earl takes on item #7 on his list, in which he went out of his way to suggest dangerous stunts for Sweet Johnny the Stuntman (David Arquette) to do, thus getting him bedridden for days and allowing Earl to tap his girlfriend Sheila’s sweet ass. When Earl returns to meet Sweet Johnny ten years later, it turns out that one day Sweet Johnny hit his head in his house and now has Clean Slate-amnesia, with which his mind resets every time he falls asleep, so for a decade he has been thinking it’s the day before a big Danny Deckchair-type stunt.

Oddly, Courtney Cox Arquette was not interested in participating in this stunt.

Oddly, Courtney Cox Arquette was not interested in participating in this stunt.

Earl has to deal with his mischief each day as he has to retell Sweet Johnny of his affair with Sheila, and while his intentions are noble — including finally trying to save him from killing himself with his balloons-plus-lawnchair stunt — he realizes that no matter what, he cannot win against the list this time, as Sweet Johnny will not remember Earl’s repentance no matter what.

I’m always appreciative of a break from formula, which is why I’m one of the sole people to enjoy Earl’s time in prison as well as when he was in his coma, leaving others to deal with the karma list.

“We’ve Got Spirit”

Earl is taken by surprise when he intends on fixing an item on his list — “kept Kenny from his dream of being a cheerleader” — only to find out that it was actually Randy who had his sights set on this dream. Earl decides to accompany Randy to cheer camp, where his brother couldn’t me more excited.

“My name is Randy! *Clap Clap* And I like candy! *Clap Clap* And I like corn dogs! *Clap Clap*” — Randy

Their instructor, though, is a sour former cheerleader who was soured by being attacked by her school’s mascot, a rabid badger, one day during a game, leaving her with a rack-like scar on the left side of her face. (No matter that with the casting of Jenna Elfman as the cheer coach, My Name Is Earl continues to find a way to put every single Scientologist actor in Hollywood on the show no matter if they’re talented or not.)

Come visit the Scientology Center! You know you want to!

Come visit the Scientology Center! You know you want to!

When Randy and Earl find that, at the cheer camp, their own Camden team is a bunch of misfits, they attempt to revitalize their spirits and make Camden #1 (or at least not last place). Earl then has to sleep with the cheer coach to keep them from being thrown out of the camp (the coach’s daughter is on a competing team), but that doesn’t come without its major problems.

“Is your eye going to drip every time you blink?” — Earl

In the episode’s B-story, Joy discovers that one of her sons has a crush on Catalina, so she does everything in her power to make herself more sexually appealing to her son, including wearing lingerie and glitter while reading him his bedtime story. Finally, Darnell teaches her the very important lesson that no son should be attracted to his mother, except for an occasional awkward dream during puberty that nobody likes to talk about.

Both stories were pretty half-baked in my opinion and epitomizes my major issues with the show when it gets too formulaic. So far, the season hasn’t been entirely up to snuff, so I hope that the writers learn to break out of their funk and rely more on their own spirit and ensemble then easy laughs and too many guest stars.

This episode did give me this wonderful line, though, which Joy screams to her son when she catches him eyeing Catalina:

“You just like her cuz she’s the same color as pancakes!” — Joy

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