WASHINGTON, February 4, 2013 —The day after the Super Bowl has the same climactic emptiness as the day after Christmas. First off, it’s a Monday in the middle of winter, and that’s a good enough reason to be in a blue mood all by itself. But for many football fan-atics, there is also the stark realization that their Sundays will be empty until the next season starts this fall. No more kickoff times. No more Dorito-nacho-pizza-brewski parties in the designated man-cave. Grim times indeed.
Combine winter’s miserable Mondays with those post-Super Bowl Blues and it feels like that moment you awoke on December 26th and suddenly realize all the built-up energy and enthusiasm dedicated to Christmas Day is gone, and won’t return until another grinding 364 Great Depression II days have passed. Yikes. Pass the Zoloft.
On the other hand, if you’re inclined to wallow in the late-winter blahs, all of this is a perfect set-up for viewing tonight’s installment of The Following on Fox. As we’ve noted here before, this disturbing horror-detective series taps into the dark side of human nature—namely the all-too-real fact that very bad people do very bad things while our defense against both real-life and fictional predators is both fleeting and illusive.
Casting Kevin Bacon as the flawed Ryan Hardy, the world-weary FBI agent pulled out of retirement to capture escaped serial killer Joe Carroll (played by James Purefoy), may be the stroke of brilliance that lifts this controversial and violent show from its already-patented rivers of gore into a surprise ratings success.
Bacon’s gaunt physical casting as Hardy, along with his character’s burned out, vodka-guzzling personality in a very odd way seems an uncannily dead-on representation (no pun intended) of what real people feel like as they read about and endure the pain of the real-life blood baths that have become all too familiar these days both in the U.S. and around the world.
Gratuitous, sadistic cruelty seems to be one of the signatures of the early 21st century, a time in history that once seemed to hold such promise. So it’s not surprising that, just like Bacon’s world-weary, reactivated Federal cop, we, too, are no longer surprised or shocked by the depth of human depravity. Yet we still hold onto the small, perhaps fading hope that we can do something about it. We are sickened by it all, and just like Bacon, we anesthetize ourselves against this gratuitous yet commonplace violence without ever totally surrendering to its inevitability.
Just writing about this gets me depressed. But, like plenty of other viewers across the country, I’ll watch The Following again tonight because Kevin Bacon’s brilliant portrayal of Ryan Hardy makes it too compelling not to. I want to see the good guy win, even if it takes the whole season and all the vodka in Russia to get the job done.
But first, I’ll go online and watch that Budweiser Clydesdale “War Horse” commercial again. And immediately following The Following I’ll stream the video of the Paul Harvey - Dodge Truck farmer commercial. Bookending The Following with these two upbeat Super Bowl commercials will help remind me that, although there are very bad people out there, there are more good decent folks in this country just plugging away and trying to live the American dream against all odds.
As for the reality of today, it’s “back to work everyone.” The party is over till next year. Except for Mardi Gras, which is next week in New Orleans. Hopefully, they’ll be able to keep the lights on this time!
All times are EST:
ABC: The Bachelor: (New) Sean takes the 11 remaining bachelorettes to Whitefish, Mont., where eight compete in a relay race and Sean takes one woman on a helicopter ride over Glacier National Park and then to a concert. Also: Drama erupts after the group date; and Sean goes on a two-on-one date.
CBS: How I Met Your Mother: (New) Barney uncovers the lost episode of Robin’s “Underneath the Tunes” as Robin Sparkles. Meanwhile, Marshall and Lily are concerned that Ted’s new girlfriend is a stalker.
FOX: Bones: (New) Angela goes undercover to help solve the case of a slain Derby Doll.
NBC: The Biggest Loser: (New) The contestants learn and inspire others by healthy living habits. Meanwhile, Bob fights to get his Blue Team motivated.
CW: The Carrie Diaries: (New) When Carrie (AnnaSophia Robb) is invited to a Halloween party in the city by Larissa (Freema Agyman), she decides to invite Walt (Brenden Dooling) to go with her to keep her company. It doesn’t take long before the night goes awry and Carrie is forced to babysit Larissa, who has clearly taken too many drugs.
CBS: Rules of Engagement: (New) The seventh season begins with Liz moving in with Jeff and Audrey, but she soon wears out her welcome when she takes Jeff’s side on everything. Meanwhile, Adam and Timmy team up to beat the rest of the company at Ping-Pong.
CBS: 2 Broke Girls: (New) After discovering that Candy Andy closed up his shop following their breakup, Caroline visits a psychic for a reading about her future love life
FOX: The Following: (New) Hardy and the team try to predict the actions of one of Carroll’s followers. In other events, Paul has difficulty controlling his jealousy over Emma and Jacob’s relationship; and the origin of Hardy and Carroll’s relationship is revealed.
CW: 90210: (New) Naomi and Max (guest star Josh Zuckerman) see a marriage counselor to decide if they are going to stay married, while Teddy tells Silver he won’t ruin her chance to have a baby if she agrees to his terms. Navid uses Liam’s celebrity status to help him get into an elite secret society and Annie rushes to tell Riley (guest star Riley Smith) her true feelings before he undergoes an experimental surgery.
CBS: Mike and Molly: (New) Mike begins transforming the basement into a living area for him and Molly to live in, but the construction work is more than he – or his eyebrows – can handle. Meanwhile, Carl invites Samuel to live with him.
ABC: Castle: (New) Castle and Beckett discover evidence that links a young woman’s murder to Sen. William H. Bracken (Jack Coleman) — the man responsible for the murder of Beckett’s mother; Beckett faces complications as she tries to finally bring Bracken to justice.
CBS: Hawaii Five-0: (New) Five-0 investigates when a mysterious man targets select police officers for revenge and McGarrett is the next on his hit list.
NBC: Deception: (New) A shattering revelation goes public on the night of Mia’s debutante ball.
New episodes of:
Finding Bigfoot: Further Evidence at 8 p.m. on Animal Planet
Continuum at 8 p.m. on Syfy
Extreme Smuggling at 8 p.m. on DSC
The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills at 8 and 9 p.m. on BRAVO
Shipwreck Men at 9 p.m. on DSC
Alaska State Troopers at 9 p.m. on NGC
Cake Boss: Next Great Baker at 9 p.m. on TLC
The Layover with Anthony Bourdain at 9 p.m. on Travel Channel
Love it or List it at 9 p.m. on HGTV
Hoarders at 9 p.m. on A&E
Top Gear at 9 p.m. on BBC
Intervention at 10 p.m. on A&E
Pawn Stars at 10 p.m. on History Channel
How the Universe Works: Expanded Edition ay 10 p.m. on SCI
Cake Boss at 10 p.m. on TLC
Hotel Impossible After Anthony at 10 p.m. on Travel Channel
Lizard Lick Towing at 10 p.m. on truTV
For movie lovers:
The Shawshank Redemption on AMC
Primary Colors on FLIX
The Simpsons Movie o FMC
The Dead Zone on IFC
Diamonds are Forever on REELZ
Bonnie and Clyde on TCM
Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God on HBO
The Iron Lady at 9 p.m. on SHO
Clear and Present Danger on CMT
A Thousand Words at 9:30 p.m. on MOMAX
Contagion at 10 p.m. on CINEMAX
Transit at 10 p.m. on HBO
King of New York at 10:15 p.m. on IFC