Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

America’s Next Top Model proves its impression of Canada is informed and accurate (which is to say it’s neither of those things)

Here’s what’s up in the world of TV for Wednesday, March 28. All times are Eastern.


America’s Next Top Model (The CW, 9 p.m.): Oh, Canada—did you know there’s such a place? Located north of the United States? (Except in the places where it’s south of the United States, like Windsor, Ontario.) A magical land where beavers run for parliament, the economy is based on Tim Horton’s, and Hockey Night In Canada is sacrosanct weekly viewing. Yes, none of these things are true, but they certainly seem to have informed the challenge on tonight’s episode of America’s Next Top Model, which requires the models to pose with leaves (like the maple one on the Canadian flag!) and get smothered in maple syrup (like the kind that comes from the tree that has the leaf that’s on the Canadian flag!) Margaret Eby wishes we were kidding—but we’re not.



Survivor (CBS, 8 p.m.): After 24 seasons of Survivor, is it all that surprising when one of the castaways breaks with his or her alliance at the tribal council? Isn’t that like Jeff Probst not acting douchey, or America’s Next Top Model using How I Met Your Mother’s Hoser Hut as a legitimate representation of Canadian culture? Meanwhile, Carrie Raisler would like you to know she’s not here to make friends.

American Idol (Fox, 8 p.m.): After Billy Joel Week baffled a group of contestants who were mostly born after Storm Front was released (and not even human meme Heejun Han possessed the self-awareness to perform “The Entertainer”), the Idol hopefuls are given the vaguer task of singing a song recorded by one of their idols. If Claire Zulkey were currently competing, she’d choose something from the RuPaul’s Drag Race Lip Sync For Your Life playlist.

Bent (NBC, 9 p.m.): Based on last week’s lowly ratings, it’s a wonder NBC is continuing its plan to unceremoniously dump Bent on an uncaring public with nothing better to watch. They paid for David Walton and Amanda Peet’s sexual tension, and they’re going to use it, goddamn it! And Todd VanDerWerff is going to watch it!


Happy Endings (ABC, 9:30 p.m.): Like the epidemic of sex-with-Dave dreams that swept through the show a few weeks back, the addictive personalities among the Happy Endings principals all get hooked on lying this week. According to David Sims, David Sims is a survivor of the Hindenburg disaster and a five-time Olympian—just try to prove a five-time Olympian wrong.

Psych (USA, 10 p.m.): Lovable/creepy coroner Kurt Fuller is in danger of losing his job over a botched autopsy, and it’s up to Shawn and Gus to make sure Fuller’s character keeps his job and his reputation. Kevin McFarland would like that plan to include at least one allusion to Ghostbusters II.


South Park (Comedy Central, 10 p.m.): For its big GOP-debate sendup, South Park pulls a “Fun With Real Audio,” filling the Republican presidential candidate’s mouths with their actual words. Ryan McGee knows this will make for the most levelheaded, well-reasoned South Park comments section ever. Please keep your impressions of Canadians as Rush-obsessed David Cronenberg-esque monsters with poutine for guts to yourself.


Avatar: The Last Airbender (11 a.m.): After the two-parter “The Day Of The Black Sun,” Avatar’s original audience had to wait seven-and-a-half months for the next episode. In the condensed version of the series brought to you by Hayden Childs, you only have to wait one week. Now if that doesn’t make you love the Internet, what will?


Carnivàle (1 p.m.): Wheels keep turning toward next week’s big finale with big reveals and dark portents that we’d rather not mention explicitly, because that would ruin everything, wouldn’t it? Todd VanDerWerff has visions keeping those secrets for at least another week.


Whitney (NBC, 8 p.m.): This show’s prospects for renewal aren’t as certain as they once were, so it’s entirely possible that tonight—which sees the season finale for Whitney as well as Are You There Chelsea?—could mark the end of Chelsea Handler’s reign as television queenmaker. As long as 2 Broke Girls remains a baffling hit, Whitney star and Handler buddy/beneficiary Whitney Cummings remains half in good standing—though she still has to get her finger broken in the final episode of Whitney’s freshman season.


Nova (PBS, 9 p.m.): The less-terrifying ends of gene therapy are examined by PBS’ premier science-documentary series. “But don’t forget that messing with the genetic code produces zombies/vampires/any number of ironic punishments for man’s decision to play God,” reminds people who are afraid of science. Those people obviously aren’t prepared to fight cancer-resistant zombies.

I Want That (DIY, 9:30 p.m.): A.k.a SkyMall: The Series, a gussied-up infomercial for shit you don’t need—but that you definitely want. We’re tuning to see if this is the week they feature one of those hilarious self-cleaning litter boxes that looks like a spaceship.


Whitechapel (BBC America, 10 p.m.): BBC America begins airing the third season of the British police procedural—or, as they call them in Britain, “bobby procedees.” Or, as they call them in Canada, “mountie shows, eh!” (We could do this all day, ANTM.)

The Hitcher (1986)(MoreMAX, 7:15 p.m.): C. Thomas Howell picks up Rutger Hauer—and things grow increasingly terrifying from there. Coincidental programming note: Before he was Happy Ending’s Dave (you know, he’s the “Dave” of the group), Zachary Knighton played the Howell role in the the 2007 remake of The Hitcher.


The Cincinnati Kid (TCM, 10:30 p.m.): Steve McQueen plays a bad-ass poker player—could he play any other type?—in an assignment that had to be hard for even a seasoned tough like him. Even as he faces down Edward G. Robinson in the hand of his life, McQueen doesn’t sweat.

McDonald’s All-American Game (ESPN, 9:30 p.m.): Feeling the pangs of March Madness withdrawal heading into Saturday’s Final Four games? The kids who’ll break your heart next year compete at Chicago’s United Center in an east-versus-west matchup sponsored by company’s whose food should be nowhere near promising, young athletes.



Raising Hope: The show’s always one step away from transforming into the type of sitcom you grew to love in syndication and on Nick At Nite. Jimmy and Bert earn Raising Hope its Green Acres stripes as they babysit a pig—and Phil Dyess-Nugent accompanies on porkarina.



Canada (CBC, Beer-And-Donut Time, Ya Hoser): “What a buncha rubes!” screams Tyra Banks, while wearing a pair of cashmere moose antlers and a modified Toronto Maple Leafs jersey/dress and eating a plate of Molson-battered back bacon.


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