ATTACK OF THE TACKY!

Here and abroad, Jersey Shore and Russian Dolls are cheese without borders

REALITY

Americans are traditionally unengaged in foreign affairs, so thank goodness reality TV is willing to expose us to other cultures. The fourth season of MTV's Jersey Shore (Thursdays, 10 p.m. ET/PT) has sent them off to Florence. On the premiere, they arrived in a vast house decorated to look like a Renaissance redo of their Seaside Heights home and said many enjoyably ignorant things. Snooki, whom I have come to love as a sort of slightly more articulate koala, described Europe as "that big country." No one seemed to understand why their hair dryers kept shorting. "I know this is an old city," said J-WOWW, "but c'mon now, we need more outlets." The arbitrary leap overseas moves the show that much closer to pure sitcom-an improvement. Back on these shores, Lifetime's new Russian Dolls (Thursdays, 10:30 p.m. ET/PT) is an indulgent, rather mild look at Russian-Americans in Brooklyn's Brighton Beach. The women are harshly glamorous, but the only drama in the premiere came when a grandmother won a talent pageant and her bored relations walked out before she got her prize. It's tacky, da-or should we say duh?-but likable.

JERSEY

bgwhite bgwhite bgwhite  

DOLLS

bgwhite bgwhite   



Most Eligible Dallas

Bravo, Aug. 15, 10 p.m. ET/PT |

bgwhite    



REALITY

The posh Dallas singletons in this new reality series toy with romance while moving from swank clubs to beautiful apartments to moneyed parties. The experience is like having the velvet rope lifted, then wishing you could use it to hogtie the charmed circle behind it. This might have worked better with a stronger unifying theme-housewives, chefs, plumbers. Instead you get hung up on ludicrous isolated details: Why would anyone phone room service and order fries for their dog?

YOU'VE GOTTA SEE THIS ...

IN THE FLOW WITH AFFION CROCKETT

The comic, showcased in a new FOX series Aug. 14, does a clever Obama-and a killer Chris Rock.

THE GREAT FOOD TRUCK RACE

A new season rolls out Aug. 14 for the Food Network's tangy culinary contest on wheels.

CMA MUSIC FESTIVAL

The best of the four-day country marathon-with superstar Taylor Swift, Sugarland and Lady Antebellum-airs Aug. 14 on ABC.

MY FAVORITE TV REDHEADS

CONAN O'BRIEN

CONAN

I have to give him props for what he does every night: You don't get a bad day and you have to always be on. He's an icon.

CAROL BURNETT

THE CAROL BURNETT SHOW

A great actress, an incredible comedian; so smart and warm.

LUCILLE BALL

I LOVE LUCY

As a child, I'd try to stay home sick from school to watch I Love Lucy, and then I'd be miraculously cured!

AGNES MOOREHEAD

BEWITCHED

She's such a gorgeous and fierce actress. She always appealed to me in her colorful outfits.

FUNNY FATHER

WHAT'S IT LIKE BEING A SINGLE DAD?

It's my most important job. I have them [Kitty, 9, and Mary Lou, 6] for half the week. I cook all their meals, take them to school and do their homework with them. But I miss making ponytails and tying their shoes.

CONGRATS ON YOUR FOUR EMMY NOMINATIONS!

I will cheat on the good of it and go along for the ride like it's Disneyland. But I'm not looking forward to wearing a tuxedo. I'm going to fail on my elegance.

HOW DID YOUR KIDS REACT TO THE NEWS?

My daughters always cheer me on. They've seen pieces of the show and like to see me be an incompetent dad. It's fun for them to see how not real it is.