SUNDAY, NOV. 18
8 P.M. | FOX
Jack Black supplies the voice of a guy who owns a comic-book store. Marge opens a women's gym, and Homer worries that her exposure to the world of taut abs will cast his donut-fed paunch into shadow.
AMERICAN MUSIC AWARDS
8 P.M. | ABC
Jimmy Kimmel hosts the night, with performances by supercrooner Celine Dion (right), Alicia Keys and Maroon 5. Top nominees, with three nods each: Justin Timberlake
, Beyoncé Knowles
, Linkin Park and Daughtry.
MONDAY, NOV. 19
ELLEN'S REALLY BIG SHOW
9 P.M. | TBS
Making like legendary (if oddly sepulchral) variety host Ed Sullivan, Ellen DeGeneres rounds up acts including Mary J. Blige, Sheryl Crow
and Wayne Newton, who appeared on Sullivan's show back in the '60s.
10 P.M. | SHOWTIME
As a wildfire forces the evacuation of Majestic and raises knotty questions about the marijuana crop, Mary-Louise Parker acts on a scary, desperate gleam of inspiration: It's a perfect little crystal of a moment.
TUESDAY, NOV. 20
A CHARLIE BROWN THANKSGIVING
8 P.M. | ABC
Another seasonal Peanuts
classic, this one dating from 1973. Snoopy and Woodstock cater the big dinner for Charlie, skipping the turkey and bringing in popcorn. I'm sad already.
THURSDAY, NOV. 22
10:02 P.M. | ABC
This returning drama feels like a salt-of-the-earth Gossip Girl
: plenty of sexy young people, only they tend to be licking small-town wounds. Nick (Bryan Greenberg, right, with Geoff Stults) backtracks from Knights Ridge to Manhattan to track down a friend who fled a marital disaster. Stults, with his broad-shouldered magnetism, has the most heft here.
SATURDAY, NOV. 24
BILLY RAY CYRUS: HOME AT LAST
9:30 P.M. | CMT
Four-part series about the singer, Dancing with the Stars
hoofer and dad to Hannah Montana
's Miley as he tries to balance all the commitments in his achy, breaky head and finally get some rest.
FOX, Tuesdays, 9 p.m. (ET) |
The fourth season of FOX's hit medical drama has been playing out an unusual and chancy story gambit. Dr. House (Hugh Laurie), whose outer surfaces are dry, crusty and abrasive–the man is one big slice of cold, unbuttered toast–found himself without his old team. And so, episode by episode, he has been working through a batch of fellowship candidates in search of replacements. The surprising joke is that so many of these young doctors tend to mirror House's dysfunctional misanthropy, only without his saving irony or brilliance (although at least Olivia Wilde gives off the same quiet allure she brought to The Black Donnellys
, and Kal Penn's performance has a loose, shaggy humor to it). You could argue that, in the manner of a David Cronenberg movie, they represent the unconscious spawn of House's anger. For the most part, though, it's more like a nuttily intense hospital reality show. Call it Doc Nation
. In fact, episodes end with elimination ceremonies–one week House even handed out roses, a la ABC's Bachelor
. How will this grim yet entertaining experiment end? With the worst candidates House-broken in spirit and sent to Private Practice
, I hope.
Keeping my three little ones from TV? Ha! But these minimize the guilt.BUNNYTOWN
(Disney) Candy-colored bunny puppets populate this cheery series, which skips the life lessons and the ABCs in favor of sing-along music and lots of rabbit-eared silliness.
(PBS) The gimmick here is that the words onscreen are embedded in visual cues (the letters P-I-E take the shape of a pie). Will it teach your kid to read? Doubtful, but it's still gentle F-U-N.
YO GABBA GABBA!
(Nick Jr.) With a DJ in orange spandex and songs like "There's a Party in My Tummy," this is one trippy show. Did I mention Elijah Wood stops by to perform his "dancy dance"?
(PBS) Another series with a literacy theme, this one cleverly links princess-chic and superhero-cool to reading power.
MY FRIENDS TIGGER & POOH
(Disney) Although the Hundred Acre Wood loses some of its warmth in CGI–and Christopher Robin has oddly been replaced by a girl named Darby–the show is as sweet as honey.
1 SHE MAKES SHALLOW SEXY
As a fun-loving, mean-spirited Manhattan real-estate agent teasing out the worst impulses in her old friend Sam (Christina Applegate), she gives a performance that's outlined in bold and energized by tart vivacity–she's a cartoon Sex and the City
2 SHE'S THE PERFECT FOIL
to costar Applegate, who's funny in a different, squiggly way: She's more like a Sex and the City
3 THERE'S A REAL WARMTH
to her performances, not only here but also on Rescue Me
this season and last year's Related
. She may be topped with a gorgeous cascade of Jennifer Lopez
hair, but underneath there's something of Edie Falco's grounded human feeling.
JON & KATE PLUS 8
Think your Thanksgiving is going to be hectic? Jon and Kate Gosselin, the stars of TLC's reality series
Jon & Kate Plus 8 (Mondays, 9 P.M. ET), will be wrangling their eight kids: 7-year-old twins and 3-year-old sextuplets. Multitasking matriarch Kate offers her strategies:LET THE RELATIVES HELP
One year after dinner, I brought down eight pairs of pajamas and told the adults: "Dress 'em!" It's the quickest I've ever gotten the kids pajama-ed and ready for bed.
USE NAP TIME WISELY
I buy a 25-lb. turkey. We eat around 1 o'clock and then I do four dishwasher loads while the kids nap.
COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS
Any day we all get to spend together is a great day.