Here’s what’s up in the world of TV for Sunday, Feb. 26. All times are Eastern.
The 84th Academy Awards: Oh, wow. It’s just—it’s just such an honor to be nominated and we can’t believe we were on that list with so many people we’ve admired for so, so long. Aw geez. Uh, well, we guess we’d like to thank the Academy, first and foremost, for making sure that TV ground to a halt tonight, freeing us up to watch everything unfold at the Kodak Theatre. We’d also like to thank our tireless writers who’ll be commenting on every hacky Billy Crystal punchline and supressed Sacha Baron Cohen prank and every drop of false modesty in… [strings swell] Oh, please don’t start the music, we have so much more to say… [horns enter] Listen, the treatment of American Indians today by the film industry… [percussion pounds] excuse me… and on television in movie reruns… [music drowns out speech]
The Amazing Race (CBS, 8 p.m.): As The Amazing Race challenges its 10 remaining teams to do math in the middle of a Buenos Aires cattle market, 20 high-school math teachers eagerly wait to see if any of their former pupils are forced to eat the words, “I’ll never need to use this stuff in the real world.” These words are unknown to Scott Von Doviak, who scored a “5” on the Advanced Placement Calculus AB exam.
The Walking Dead (AMC, 9 p.m.): If a zombie apocalypse broke out on Oscar night, would the stars assembled at the Kodak—many of whom have pretended to face such supernatural cataclysms—be equipped to deal with the flesh-eating hordes? So long as The Walking Dead stays focused on “regular people,” we may never know—but Zack Handlen likes to assume that at least Natalie Portman would make it out of the ceremony alive.
Luck (HBO, 9 p.m.): Luck received a heavy dose of momentum last week—will this week continue apace? Or will it waver like the unproven jockey at the center of one of tonight’s subplots? Whatever it does, Todd VanDerWerff knows it’s bound to inspire a lot of online chatter in the coming week.
Eastbound & Down (HBO, 10 p.m.): Unexpectedly saddled with his infant son, Kenny Powers goes digging through his old life in Shelby to find the boy’s mother. He finds Will Ferrell’s plantation instead, a development which leads to one of the odder scenes of seduction you’re bound to see in this or any television season. That don’t faze Nathan Rabin none—he’s just happy to see Stevie again.
Life’s Too Short (HBO, 10:30 p.m.): Look: If you’re living in a television series written by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, don’t invite the main character of that show to your wedding—even if he played Wicket in Return Of The Jedi. You probably have bigger things to worry about—like being a self-aware fictional character—but Erik Adams assures you that nothing good can come of this scenario.
TV CLUB CLASSIC
The Critic (3 p.m.): A middling episode from late in the series’ first season plunges Nathan Rabin into an existential quandary: What do you say when the series that could’ve made “It stinks!” a ubiquitous catchphrase, well, kind of stinks? Join Nathan as he reluctantly joins Jay Sherman in the exciting world of truckin’.
WHAT ELSE IS ON?
We Love Lucy (Hallmark Channel, 6 a.m.): Lucille Ball never won an Oscar, but she did make her final public appearance at the 61st Academy Awards in 1989. We’re hoping that’s not Hallmark’s main reason for running a 24-hour I Love Lucy marathon today. If it is, they’ve got some ’splaining to do!
Live From The Red Carpet: The 2012 Academy Awards (E!, 5:30 p.m.): Like the GoBots to ABC’s Transformers (Tim Gunn is totally Jazz!), Ryan Seacrest and Giuliana Rancic offer fluffy interviews with Academy Awards attendees that are guaranteed to feature at least 65 percent more teeth.
Celebrity Apprentice (NBC, 9 p.m.): Only Donald Trump would have the hubris (read: giant, gold-plated balls) to challenge the Academy on its big night; The Celebrity Apprentice is the sole first-run, broadcast-network series to go head-to-head with the meatiest parts of this year’s Oscar ceremony. In true Trump fashion, tonight’s episode is a two-hour affair set partially at a Medieval Times restaurant. Nothing but class, that guy.
Worst Cooks In America (Food Network, 9 p.m.): While Hollywood honors its absolute best (or the absolute best that’s recognizable to old, white dudes), Anne Burrell and Bobby Flay continue to whip the United States’ most clueless chefs into shape. Tonight’s challenge: Pizza, a food so easy to prepare, most restaurants let teenagers make it. And teenagers don’t know how to cook shit!
The Good, The Bad, The Weird (IFC, 5:45 p.m.): Here’s your anti-Oscar movie pick: A gonzo Western from South Korea where three characters —each named for and representing one of the abstract concepts in the title—living outside the law become tangled in the quest for a treasure map. Things escalate to appropriately ludicrous, Sergio Leone-homaging heights from there, with double crosses and big, eye-popping action sequences aplenty.
What Ever Happened To Baby Jane (TCM, 9:45 p.m.): TCM, that sly devil, has a slate of movies profiling the vagaries of Hollywood stardom scheduled for Oscar night. It culminates in Bette Davis and Joan Crawford systematically destroying one another in this Robert Aldrich picture, which doubles as a compelling screed against the celebrity-industrial complex.
NBA All-Star Game (TNT, 7:30 p.m.): Tonight, the lines are drawn: Which millionaires do you care about? The millionaires who brighten our days and enrich our lives with their zany antics and their blood-sweat-and-tears performances—or the ones in the movies? If you have no preference, surely you can spy some rueful B-lister sitting courtside in Orlando.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
Grimm: The first rule of Grimm-creature fight club is don’t talk about Grimm-creature fight club. The second rule of Grimm-creature fight club is read Kevin McFarland’s review of the Grimm-creature fight-club episode. His name is Kevin McFarland. HIS NAME IS KEVIN MCFARLAND.