Archer (FX) — Miniseries finale. I cannot stress enough how much I enjoyed the opening scene to tonight’s episode; I think it’s one of the funniest in the show’s history. (New Always Sunny tonight as well.)
Community (NBC) — NBC’s comedy block kicks off with a guest appearance from Martin Starr (“Party Down”). Also, Annie (Alison Brie) gets an Asian rival also named Annie (Irene Choi, background left in the inset image). If Alison’s excited about tonight’s episode, you can bet your A that I am, too.
Jersey Shore (MTV) — Deena has a pregnancy scare. Well it’s about time.
Person of Interest (CBS) — Okay, I missed last week’s premiere, but I’m totally going to DVR this tonight. Even though it’s CBS, I have hope. There’s just too much talent involved for this to disappoint.
Prime Suspect (NBC) — In case you missed last week’s Thursday night wrap-up, I really enjoyed “Prime Suspect.” As tough-but-beautiful NYPD detectives go, I’ll take Maria Bello over Mariska Hargitay any day of the week.
How to Be a Gentleman (CBS) — Series premiere. This looks like a steaming vat of diarrhea to me, and there’s no way that I can put it down as well as Ryan D’Agostino did in Esquire. I’ve included the full text of his takedown after the jump. It’s delicious. It nourishes my hate.
Andrew has no friends. He is mocked for his sweater vests and for the brass buttons on his blazer. He wears pleated khakis, and he boasts about his calligraphy skills and his ability to differentiate pinot blanc from pinot noir. You don’t want to be this guy. Which is confusing, because he is the gentleman of the show’s title. We know this because Andrew writes a column for a men’s magazine called “How to Be a Gentleman.” So Andrew runs into Bert, a guy who used to beat him up in high school and now owns a gym. Bert makes fun of Andrew (everyone’s always making fun of Andrew) for saying “whom,” and he dead-arms him repeatedly. Bert also goes to strip clubs on weekday mornings. In this universe, Andrew is a gentleman, and Bert is a man. What’s important is that while Bert is more likable than Andrew, he’s a moron. A moron with a heart of gold, perhaps, but a moron. You don’t want to be this guy, either. Nobody wants to be a caricature, and American TV is lousy with caricatures right now. It’s not that our protagonists have to be likable — Archie Bunker, Tony Soprano, Don Draper, Charlie Sheen’s character on Two and a Half Men, and even the nerd on The Big Bang Theory are all despicable in some way, but they have dimension, and we root for them. But here we’re offered one-note, focus-group versions of “gentleman” and “man,” a limpdick and a moron, whom no man would want to emulate, and each guy is going to try to get the other guy to be more like him, over and over again, on every episode. Who do you root for in this scenario? No one. You root for no one.