WASHINGTON, March 26, 2013 —Tonight, a raft of rickety reality shows fills the network airwaves yet again. “Splash,” “Hell’s Kitchen,” “The Voice,” and “Dancing With The Stars” are all on tonight to peddle their questionable brand of snake oil entertainment. Of the four, “Splash” is the most questionable entry with its D-list celebrities regularly taking turns flailing and belly flopping into a hapless, helpless swimming pool cruelly dragooned into service for this colossal mess through no fault of its own.
The good news is the two “NCIS” shows on CBS soundly whipped all four reality shows last Tuesday night. Score one (two, actually) for superb writing and great acting. The original “NCIS” garnered almost 20 million viewers and “NCIS: Los Angeles” boasted almost 17 million loyal viewers.
The bad news is that nine million people tuned in to watch “Splash.” Apparently, watching those D-list celebrities literally taking a dive is considered entertaining these days. Apparently, it doesn’t take much to grab hold of your 15 minutes of fame—or more—these days, as long as you don’t mind making a public spectacle of yourself.
It’s almost like network bobbleheads are taking bets on just how low they can go with the reality show genre before people simply stop watching. Whatever wild and crazy pitchmen (pitchpersons?) were responsible for peddling dreck like “Splash” to ABC, it doesn’t much matter. They need not worry about their career paths, even in this economy. There will always be used cars—“pre-owned” cars for the politically correct—to sell if their latest bottling of Magic Entertainment Elixir fails to score in today’s Hollywood. In today’s La-La Land, nothing breeds success like spectacular failure.
Even with A-list stars, “Splash” would be a hard sell to any TV viewer with half a brain. The fact that anyone is watching this show at all carries with it some truly frightening implications.
But maybe the sight of Louie Anderson floundering unsuccessfully to extricate himself from the swimming pool’s malevolent clutches, much less execute a recognizable dive, is simply a huge joke pulled off by bored network heads. Or, perhaps, lacking a suitable mid-season replacement show to plug into this slot, they fell back on the old adage, “if you throw enough stuff against a wall, some of it will stick.” On second thought, no. That’s giving them way too much credit.
Is it just me, or do the major network moguls who frantically hawk their reality show nonsense remind anyone else of our elected representatives in both houses of Congress? Picture a bunch of overpaid, out-of-touch, horizontally-challenged cretins sitting around another Hollywood swimming pool, swilling scotch, puffing on illegal Cuban cigars and taking turns patting each other on the back for their unparalleled brilliance while they decide how long their next extended vacation in the French Riviera will be and voilà! The two magically become interchangeable. Doesn’t say much for today’s Ruling Class, n’est-ce pas?
Until people stop routinely endorsing the demise of good TV by gluing their eyeballs to the endless reality show flatulence the networks peddle, don’t expect anything to change. The same is true of our do-nothing Congress. Until people wake up and take back the future of this country from an elite cadre of out-of-touch morons, don’t expect anything to change.
Until then, in both cases, the joke, alas, is on us. Do we both feel better now?
All times are EST:
ABC: Splash: (New) The second half of the celebrity contestants dive into the pool.
CBS: NCIS: (New) A massive storm brings the NCIS team aboard the USS Borealis, where everyone becomes a suspect once the crime scene proves that Mother Nature wasn’t the only culprit. Tension builds when McGee discovers that his estranged father, Navy Admiral John McGee (Jamey Sheridan), was on board during the incident.
FOX: Hell’s Kitchen: (New) Chef Ramsay leads a 3K run with help from Olympic athletes Maurice Greene, Natalie Coughlin and Danell Leyva. Meanwhile, the teams prepare healthy lunches for the runners; and communication issues arise during the dinner service.
NBC: The Voice: (New) Usher and Shakira settle in alongside Blake and Adam as the coaches compete to land the best new voices for their teams.
CW: Here Comes Peter Cottontail: (Repeat) In this classic Easter special, a peddler named Seymore S Sassafrass tells the story of young Peter who dreams of becoming the Chief Easter Bunny. The special was directed by Jules Bass and Arthur Rankin, Jr.
ABC: Dancing With The Stars: (Live) Josh Groban and Icona Pop perform; the couples face elimination.
CBS: NCIS: Los Angeles: (New) While the LA team chases leads digitally and locally, the NCIS: Red team travels in their mobile trucks, nicknamed “Laverne and Shirley,” in a race to track down a cunning terrorist before he disappears.
FOX: New Girl: (New) After a death occurs in Nick’s family, the gang travel with him to Chicago, where they help with funeral plans and meet his family.
NBC: Go On: (New) Anne and Ryan compete for the affection of a lover’s heart. Courteney Cox guest stars.
CW: Beauty and the Beast: (Repeat) Muirfield and the police close in on Vincent. Meanwhile, Tess finds something that alters her relationship with Cat.
PBS: 180 Days: A Year Inside an American High School: (New) Chronicling a year at Washington Metropolitan High School in Washington, D.C., an inner-city school where, on any school day, about half of the students don’t show up. Second-year principal Tanishia Williams Minor featured in the documentary.
FOX: The Mindy Project: (New) Mindy’s new neighbor may turn out to be Josh’s ex-girlfriend Heather—the woman who ruined her Christmas party—but not if Mindy can successfully sabotage her rental application. Meanwhile, Danny faces a moral dilemma when he helps out a childhood friend.
NBC: The New Normal: (New) David gets involved with the Boy Scouts again, but realizes that they still have some outdated views on homosexuality.
ABC: Body of Proof: (New) Kate falls for a handsome and mysterious man named Sergei at a political event; when a girl is murdered near the hotel where Kate and Sergei are staying, Kate thinks Sergei may be responsible.
CBS: Golden Boy: (New) A wealthy philanthropist is found dead in her apartment. As Clark and Owen investigate, they discover she was a recovering addict with a shady past. Elsewhere, Clark’s mother, Nora, asks for help with a loan shark who is harassing her.
NBC: Smash: (New) When Derek and Jimmy butt heads over “Hit List,” Karen gets caught in the crossfire. Jesse L. Martin, Leslie Odom, Jr., Daphne Rubin-Vega and Jamey Sheridan guest star.
New episodes of:
Income Property at 9 p.m. on HGTV
Top Gear at 9 p.m. on History Channel
Doomsday Preppers at 9 p.m. on NGC
Face Off at 9 p.m. on Syfy
19 Kids and Counting: Duggars Do Asia at 9 p.m. on TLC
Hardcore Pawn at 9 p.m. on truTV
Storage Hunters at 9:30 p.m. on truTV
How We Invented the World at 10 p.m. on DSC
Justified at 10 p.m. on FX
Snooki & JWwow at 10 p.m. on MTV
Apocalypse 101 at 10 p.m. on NGC
The Definitive Guide to Aliens at 10 p.m. on SCI
Robot Combat League at 10 p.m. on Syfy
Cougar Town at 10 p.m. on TNT
For movie lovers:
Open Range on ENC
Dear John on FMC
Rock of Ages on HBO
The Truman Show on IFC
Days of Wine and Roses on TCM
Timeline on TMC
Sparkle on STARZ
Barabbas on REELZ
Dolphin Tale on MOMAX
The Long Kiss Goodnight at 10 p.m. on CINEMAX
Tower Heist at 10 p.m. on HBO
Henry & June at 10 p.m. on SUND
Dear Heart at 10 p.m. on TCM
Shanghai Knights at 10:20 p.m. on ENC
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