The Joys of Christmas Programming

10 12 2012

Falalalalala -lala-lala

Tis the Season.

I watched a Home Alone Marathon last night… as a result, I set a marble trap at my door before I went to bed. Just in case. They’ll never outsmart the well-prepared.

The signs of Christmas are all around us – I’m not really referring to Christmas trees, lights or the occasional flurry, I’m much more interested with what the networks have come up with to keep us tuned in this Christmas. They bank on us forgetting how MUCH we hate Christmas specials hosted by marginal celebrities and their even more marginal friends (I’m talking about you Blake Shelton…). They KNOW that we’ll forget how excruciating it is to sit through a Holiday parade… unless it’s muted. Otherwise, you have to listen to the cheese-ball announcers pretend their degree in Journalism was worth it.  And they consider us to be naively entertained by any ‘new’ special, game show or filler episode on TV between Thanksgiving and New Years that has anything to do with Christmas, giving, or singing. They wouldn’t spend a dime on this rot if we didn’t fall for it… every year.

This year?

Extreme Home Makeover takes over the TV for 2 hours every Monday for a  SPECIAL Holiday edition. 2 hours. Remember when Extreme Home Makeover was an HGTV show, and the most compelling part of the show was the big reveal? Now its a show that spends 1:45 minutes forcing waterworks from even the coldest of hearts. Just when you thought a story couldn’t get anymore tragic… they throw in a terminal illness, or a war veteran. And just so we are clear on the semantics… a makeover is working with what you’ve got to make it better. Ty and crew do NOT ‘Makeover’ – they tear down and build mortgage busting mansions that would make King Louis XIV jealous. Just sayin’.

Today, I look at the TV line up for this evening (yes, i start planning my attack at 8am, don’t you dare judge.) and see a new show that I don’t recognize airing after the Voice on NBC. The show is called ‘Take it All‘ – it’s a limited -run gameshow, and it’s hosted by… wait for it, in fact, I could give you 3 guesses and you’d nail it in one… Howie Mandell.

Howie Mandell – who says the show is, and I quote, “The Price is Right meets Jerry Springer“. That sounds like afternoon programming at the retirement estates in Crocketbluff, Arkansas. Or what’s on a loop in the 7th ring of hell. Either or…

That’s not all ladies and gents… after an hour of this insult to intelligence, stay on NBC for the sophomore season of Michael Buble Christmas – featuring his famous pals, Carly Rae Jepson (Grammy nominated… don’t shoot the messenger), Rod Stewart (yep, still living) and Blake Shelton (who did he sell his soul to?).

Oh it’s on. It’s officially the Christmas season – when TV gets really really bad, and we don’t care.

What are YOU watching tonight?


A Farewell …Monday TV Night

21 12 2009

It is the night I have been looking forward to (dreading with my entire being) for weeks now. Tonight could quite possibly be the best TV night for two weeks (during which, we are supposed to be filling our time with friends, family and frivolity…) so, stay in tonight…and say farewell to an old friend…new programming.

Here’s what I’m watching tonight:

Sing Off-

It is the LIVE finale…and it all comes down to democracy tonight. The final 3 groups (Spanish group, Nerdy Collegians and the Voices of Lee) will sing for the votes of the American People, and to win the ultimate prize…a pre-christmas 15 minutes. This show has been a GREAT December filler…too bad it was executed so quickly and will end tonight…but thanks to NBC for providing us with some entertainment last week and this week. I suppose I have to make a prediction here? Okay, I havent had much time to judge the odds of each group…so I will make a (bold and perhaps reputation altering) prediction based solely on 3 nights of cheers…The Spanish group will take it. Tune in to see if I’m right , tonight NBC 8pm.

Leafs vs Buffalo-

Could easily be billed as Leafs vs Ryan Miller…because this guy has stoeln the last 2 games from us in a nasty, ugly way. Can Kessel, Poni and Blake figure it out tonight? Or will it be the unlikelies that step up? It could be a goalie duel as the Monster comes off a great game  (and is no longer a shut-out virgin) against Boston and will be in net again tonight. The Leafs would love to continue winning before Christmas , (and this is the last game on tv before the break…unless you are a rich Leaf fan and have Leafs tv) but they will have to figure out “Americas Goalie” tonight to keep it going. RSO 7pm.

Christmas Movie: Die Hard-
recently voted the “Christmas Hater’s Favourite Christmas Movie”…so whether you are in the mood for some Christmas-themed commi-terrorist killing or are consider yourself a Humbug…this would be a perfect option for tonight. CHCH 8:30

Whatever you decide to watch, have a great TV Night.

Wednesday night (…in brief)

17 12 2009

Wednesday was PVR overload for me…and I had to stay up super late to catch every (rare) minute of NEW shows.

Singing, Dancing and Comedy ruled the night…and here’s my recaps of all the reasons I stayed in last night:

The Sing off:

Each group sang a medley of a particular group, included were The Who, The Beatles, (shocker…) Jackson 5, Beach Boys and Journey 
Then one was voted off; Forced to sing a “swan song” with ironic lyrics. in this case, it was (the group that shouldve gone last night) The Older Women group… and they sang “Leaving on a Jet plane”.

Next, the “judges” picked a song for each group to sing…and I gotta tell ya…this was a huge bust. Each song was an eyebrow raiser, did NOTHING for their arrangments/voices, at times were unrecognizable and most were over 15 years old (what IS the demographic?) Not that it came as a surprise to me, the “judges” are the most un-watchable segment of this show— I can sit through sob stories, swan songs and video-pieces out the wazoo…but as soon as the Pussy Cat doll starts (hearing herself speak) imparting her infinite wisdom (trying to fit lines of the song into dialog) I turn the channel to ANYTHING less blood boiling.

moving on, then another group is given  the axe (is that a song? if it is…it’s in the swan song repertoire), and it is… The Socals (tanned LA college group), and they sang a song I didnt recognize…but it had the words “leaving” and “on my way” in it, so it was fitting.

So it is down to three: Nerdy College Group, Spanish group and the Voices of Lee (whom I have wanted to go since night one…) The winner will be decided next monday…on a live (and totally democratic) results show (and probably the last live/new thing before Christmas…)


***spoiler alert: after much filler, much recapping and much guy-liner (Glamebert was there…) a winner was crowned: Diamond in the Rough Russel beat the Crown Jewel of dance Jakob for the title. See my full report in the previous post.

SNL: Christmas –

If you live in Canada, you saw this last night. If you live in the States (or Canada) you can watch it on NBC tonight (our country seems to get the best of both worlds….:)

It was great, a look back at the classics including :
Alec Baldwin as an ornery head-Elf (“Elf You!”), Steve Martin’s Christmas Wishes, Hugh Laurie and a disfunctional Christmas (“Sit down Judith!”), Two A-holes at a nativity scene (“hear that babe?”) and Will Farrel as Roubert Goulet…absolute classics.
This is the first (and only) Christmas Special I have seen this season (I will be watching the Grinch, White Christmas and Muppet Christmas on my own…commercial free thank you.) and it was totally worth the extra two-hours of TV…Americans…watch it tonight, Canadians…you have one more chance tonight!

and the Leafs lost…so did the RaptorsRoy Hallday is a Philly…a trifecta of sports let downs in TO.

An ALL NEW Wednesday

16 12 2009

We made it half-way through the week…and are being seriously rewarded with a (Tuesday dethroning…) fantastic night of television. And considering it’s also snowing at my house…it’s almost like a Christmas Miracle…an ALL NEW night of song, dance and (watchable) Christmas specials…

Here’s what I’m watching tonight:

SYTYCD: Finale-
Last night felt rushed…tonight is going to feel like a snails pace…2 hours worth of video pieces, “best performances of the season”, judges accolades and tears, Paula Abdul sightings (…?), and random guest performances…until the very last 2 minutes where Cat will finally reveal the winner of this season!

You want a bold prediction right? Well, the odds are against me…I no longer have a 25% shot at the right guess (1 in 4), this season they have made it far more difficult with a 16% chance (1 in 6). those are worse odds than me passing my math exams by guessing “c” on every question.

Here’s my method:  I believe that the married couple are not going to make top 4. That eliminates 2. Then I don’t think Ellenore will win…now its 1 in 3. And I think a guy will end up winning…1 in 2. Now comes the tough choice between star-quality and god-given talent.

I think Jakob will win…there.

Tune in tonight 8pm, FOX/CTV


Sing Off-
It is now down to five groups: Bright sweaters, Nerdy College, LA college, Spanish and Older women.
I personally think the judges made the wrong decision last night eliminating the All-Girl group with the funky hair…but look whos judging I guess. Maybe the Pussy Cat Doll didnt like the competition for face time? But this is the last show before next week’s finale…so it should be good. One will go again tonight, making a TOP 4…which will then be voted on (bringing back democracy!) to decide the ultimate winner. This means, Nick (I sing too) Lachey only gets 2 more shows, and 4 more hours of (extended 15 minutes) his revived career.

Tune in tonight, 8pm NBC

SNL: Holiday Moments-
I am so unbelievably excited for this…! 2 hours of past and present SNL Christmas episodes/sketches…including appearances from Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin. And any time I get to see more Debbie Downer skits, Molly Shannon, Classic Steve Martin, Will Farrel, or Kristiin Wiig as “Gilly” or “A**holes buying a tree“…I’m so there. Now, this is airing in Canada TONIGHT on Global…but is advertised as being aired tomorrow on NBC in the US. So, not sure if this is two seperate shows or just staggered airing. but definitly tune in tonight, 9pm Global.

Leafs vs Phoenix-
The Game that Couldve Been“…as in, if the Coyotes HAD moved to Hamilton…this wouldve been the first game of the potential rivalry. But alas, it’s jsut another game against a team we can beat, extend the streak and get into a play off spot. Stakes high enough for you? Its on Sportsnet tonight, 7pm.

Whatever you decide to watch, have a great TV Night.

Saturday TV Night

12 12 2009

So Friday was admittedly a bit of a bust — hopefully you made plans last night so that you can be free to STAY IN tonight! It’s a very full night…expecially if you like sports, classic Christmas specials and comedy

Here’s what I’m watching tonight:

Saturday Night Live-
It’s new, and it’s hosted by Taylor (at some point will bare his chest) Lautner… this will be a good one to watch in private…don’t let your kids stay up, better to enjoy him alone (am I right ladies?) so that you can’t be convicted for your comments. Not only is (17 year old, keep that in mind) Taylor hosting, but Bon (I have better hair than you) Jovi is performing! To me, this is absolutly can’t miss TV for anyone (with eyes). It will be intertesting to see if Yaylor can keep his own withe the pros…because let’s face it…he’s not generally paid to “act“, and there may even be one or more sketches where he might have to wear a shirt. Tune in tonight, NBC 11:30pm

Leafs vs Washington-
The Leafs will try again to suffocate the wonder boy, Ovechkin, in hopes of getting back on the winning track. In the last meeting, The Leafs pulled out a shoot-out win…spoiling Ovi’s party in the capital of Hockey…his favourite stage to put on a performance. Should be a good one…if Toskala‘s up for it. CBC 7pm

Christmas Classics:
The Polar Express (an eerily realistic- Tom Hanks-filled flick…)
Its a Wonderful Life (just TRY to hate this movie)

Another Suggestion—
For those who want to try a new sport on for size…the womens finals in Curling is on tonight, this determines who will represent Canada at the games…TSN 8pm

Friday TV Night (or lack thereof…)

11 12 2009

My blog can only thrive on the decision of networks to actually put ENTERTAINMENT on the air every night! Therefore, the following post is dedicated to scrambling, pre-season programming put together by stations who think I won’t be in on a friday night…or that I enjoy seeing reruns of floundering (and redundant) police procedurals. sigh…

Here’s what I’m ( being forced into) watching tonight:

Spectacle: Elvis Costello interview Bono and the Edge-
Okay, this is slightly peaks my hipster interest…old blues/rock and roll legend meets old (and new) prog-rock do-gooders. You are destined to be a legend when your name is either: Elvis, Bono or “The Edge“…seriously. This interview as done in secrecy, in a backlot studio in Toronto (canadian content!) during the Film Festival this summer (not hard to be illusive when the rest of the city is in Yorkville scoping for a glimpse of Oprah). The difference between this “interview style” show and…every other…is that it takes itself very seriously and delivers. Most musicians go on “talk shows” and talk about a) their model wives, b) their “new album“, c) their drug problems and consequent stint in rehab or c) how famous they are. This show is musician to musician…peers talking good ole fashion music because they CAN…but most shows do not ask them to, or feel that the audience won’t be able to keep up. In this case, you are allowed to be an intelligent musical audience, a breath of fresh air.

so tune in for this one… there is lots of music talk,  impromptu musical performances/duets and a very laid-back-poetry-cafe feel…check it out, tonight CTV 10pm.


Raptors take on Atlanta, TSN2 7:30pm
Olympic qualifying Curling, TSN 8pm

Christmas Specials:

Santa Clause 2, CBC 8pm
Letters to Santa, CTV 8pm

I told you it was sparse…if you have the option to go out…my advice is to take it tonight! There are some interesting things coming up this weekend, so stay tuned…it will get better!

Monday Wrap

8 12 2009

Uncharacteristic for this time of year–This monday was (surprisingly) full of new content to tune into…and I’m SURE you watched at least one or two Christmas Specials (hard NOT to…we were kind of cornered!)

Did you watch one of these?

Carrie Underwoods Christmas Variety Show-
This one came up really quickly…and everytime I thought about whether or not to watch…I was torn (but of course..I did). When the idea of a show forces people to scrunch their faces/squint in confusion, or emit a “really?!?” (meaning…”what the heck?!”)–it’s usually a sign that most people will watch out of pure curiosity to see if it will be better than they imagine. The show was in the traditional variety format of yore– singing, lots of guests, behind-the-scenes skits etc. At first I couldnt really get my head around the focus…was it supposed to be Christmas–sy, or was it just a Carrie concert at Christmastime, or was it a chance to see Carrie and some friends have a Christmas-esque party? I decided just to stop over-thinking (around the time her mom came out to “sing”) and enjoy the kinds of programming (corn) that passes (people put up with) this time of year. Carrie is adorable, she sings really well, she has lots of talented friends and a very cute family…thank you for giving me something to watch for two-hours in place of Dancing with the Stars.

Leafs vs Thrashers-

Result: Leafs 5 Thrashers 2

After an “I-Dont-Wanna-Talk-About-It” game on saturday night…I watched last night as a loyal (yet resigned to another embarassing slide) Leaf fan…and was pleasantly hopeful after getting through the first period without a deficit. After the intermission, The Leafs came out with a mission…and with a renewed (or just…new) propensity for breakaways, tape to tape passes and rebound control…the second and third period was ALL Leafs (welcome back Antropov and Kubina…good riddance…)

The Good:

  • Leafs scored the first (second, third AND fourth) goal!
  • Toskala (the rare) made some game-savers early on to give the Leafs a chance.
  • The Leafs had a couple of great odd-man rushes (that in most games do not materialize), but one in particular was a 3-1…and they capitalized on the chance!
  • Poni got two goals within 2 minutes of eachother…in pretty fashion!
  • The leafs didnt visit the penalty box very often…which is also rare.
  • A win at home.

The Bad-

  • Grabovski passing instead of shooting on more than three ocassions that could have given him some (much needed) points on the board. This guy is all speed, all finese…but no results!
  • Failed to capitalize on a 2-man powerplay for almost 2 full minutes…what has happened to our powerplay prowess?
  • Thrashers looked stunned throughout the game— lots of giveaways, odd-man rushes, penalties and no defense infront of their young goalie. Shame on you.
  • Kessel didnt score! (save it for thursday against Boston Phil…)

Next try: Wednesday vs Islanders

You Might also have run into: The Santa Clause (my only favourite Tim Allen vehicle), Christmas Shoes (Isnt hearing the song enough?), Lots of NFL and lots of Curling (try it…do it….)

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