The Middle -- ABC, Wednesday, 8 p.m.Whenever Jon Stewart has Norm Macdonald on The Daily Show, he makes a point to mention that television is better when Macdonald is on it. And that's mostly true... if you're just talking about talk show interviews, where the freewheeling, irreverent Macdonald shines (search "Norm Macdonald moth joke" for the funniest thing you'll ever see on a talk show).
His scripted shows never really last though because his dry delivery doesn't lend itself to a laugh track. But his recurring appearance on The Middle as Mike's brother Rusty might be worth watching since he doesn't have to carry the show himself -- although I think we can all agree on the
The Office -- NBC, Thursday, 9 p.m.
Even though The Office is on its last legs, this season has been better than last, so hopefully the show can pull out all the stops for its annual Christmas episode. These episodes are almost always great, from Michael's insistence that the whole office does a Yankee swap, to the boys' trip to Benihana's, to Dwight and Jim's snowball fight. And despite the ineptitude of the party planning committee, Dunder Mifflin always manages to have some rocking, booze-soaked Christmas parties, don't they?
Life in Hell
Upon further research, this show is not a cartoonized or live-action version of the Matt Groening comic strip "Life in Hell." It also is not a dramatization of what life would actually be like in Hell. It isn't even on SyFy (the channel that shows Battlestar Galactica and marathons of The Twilight Zone), but on The Science Channel, SyFy's nerdy cousin that has a terrarium and goes to MIT. This is something way more exciting: a nature show about microorganisms that live in the hottest parts of the Earth! Maybe they show some fire and brimstone at the very least.
The American Giving Awards -- NBC, Saturday, 8 p.m.
Serious question: why do philanthropists need awards? Doesn't that fly in the face of everything that philanthropy is about? If you're going to have an award show to celebrate philanthropists, doesn't that make the gift more about the credit than the act of giving? It's like that episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm where Ted Danson tells everybody that he's the "Anonymous" that donated a wing to a hospital. Next we'll have a show that celebrates parents who gave the best Christmas gifts, or one that awards the athlete that spent the most money at strip clubs that year. Hopefully...
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