Here’s what’s up in the world of TV for Tuesday, April 24. All times are Eastern.
Glee (Fox, 8 p.m.): One week after shoring up its healthy track record with episodes structured around a single album, Glee moves to rockier thematic grounds: an episode-length tribute to a pop icon. The show couldn’t convert the spectacle of Michael Jackson’s videography into its own brand of flash in February, so here’s hoping its Whitney Houston homage follows in Houston’s footsteps and relies more on pure performance. (Or just plays Amber Riley’s version of “I Will Always Love You” on a loop.) Todd VanDerWerff gets so emotional, baby, every time he thinks of Glee.
Cougar Town (ABC, 8:30 p.m.): The cul-de-sac crew taps into the spirit of the season — tax season, that is — with an episode that’s all about money. Given that most people hate tax season, Ryan McGee isn’t betting his tax return on this being the half hour that finally initiates America’s love affair with Cougar Town.
New Girl (Fox, 9 p.m.): Here at The A.V. Club HQ, it’s hard to say if we’ve become invested in Schmidt and Cece’s relationship, or if we’ve just grown fond of the characters and enjoy the dynamic they’ve shared in recent episodes. Either way, there’s a major threat to that dynamic tonight, and Erik Adams is here to hold your hand should things go horribly wrong.
The Voice (NBC, 9 p.m.): Who will survive to see the semifinals? Who will be forced to sing for their lives? And most importantly: Will Carson Daly look like he gives half a rip about any of it? Emily Yoshida prepares to read Daly’s every wince and thousand-yard stare.
Frontline (PBS, 9 p.m.): Now this is where you can get people to care about finances: on PBS, in a Frontline two-parter about the U.S. economy’s slow crawl back from the brink of collapse in 2008. Meredith Blake occupies “Money, Power, And Wall Street.”
TV CLUB CLASSIC
The Muppet Show (noon): After a run of stone-cold classics starring indelible titans of pop culture, Erik Adams hits the less-exciting midpoint of the show’s second season. But hey, at least the soulful tones of Lou Rawls are here to carry him through it.
WHAT ELSE IS ON
Last Man Standing (ABC, 8 p.m.): TV is in a total dead zone, a temporary lull that can be blamed on the calm before the May sweeps storm. Or it could be blamed on this Last Man Standing episode guest-starring Kim Kardashian, if you’re looking for a chunk of programming to turn into a 30 Minutes Hate.
The L.A. Complex (The CW, 9 p.m.): Remember that episode of Degrassi: The Next Generation where Manny gets all hopped up on hooch and flashes the creepy kid with the camera so that he can sell the video one day because, as she slurs, she’s “going to be… FAMOUS!”? Here’s the glammed-up, imported-from-Canada follow-up to that, essentially, with Cassie Steele as another bright-eyed naïf trying to break into showbiz.
Yardcore (DIY, 9 p.m.): There’s no home-improvement wordplay that’s below DIY: It’s Tuesday-night lineup alone yields Holmes On Homes, Extra Yardage, and this landscaping series where scruffy contractors Jake and Joel Moss renovate a lawn within a 48-hour timeframe without ever meeting the homeowners. Stay tuned for its futuristic, Daft Punk-inspired counterpart, Yarder, Better, Faster, Stronger.
Amish: Out Of Order (National Geographic, 10 p.m.): The documentary series about members of the Amish community who’ve chosen to leave the sect flips its script, profiling a young woman from the suburbs of St. Louis who’s looking to integrate herself into the Amish lifestyle. But if she does, how will she ever know how she’s portrayed on TV?
O Brother Where Art Thou? (AMC, 8 p.m.): George Clooney is the Odysseus in the Coen Brothers’ Depression-era update of The Odyssey, a man of a constant sorrow who doesn’t want Fop, goddamnit —he’s a Dapper Dan man. (How this movie isn’t quoted as regularly and readily as its predecessor in the Coens’ filmography, The Big Lebowski, is beyond us.)
Monty Python’s Life Of Brian (IFC, 8 p.m.): Born partially of Eric Idle’s sarcastic reply to a question about Monty Python’s next project (“Jesus Christ’s Lust For Glory,” or so the story goes), the comedy troupe’s biggest box-office success is a wonderfully silly religious satire about a reluctant Messiah figure with major mommy issues — and bigger problems with the Roman Empire. Not a bad result for a flip interview answer.
Stanley Cup Playoff: Devils at Panthers (NBC Sports, 7:30 p.m.): While most series in the Western Conference proved to be complete blowouts, the match-ups in the Eastern Conference have taken place on more even footing. Neither New Jersey nor Florida has held a series lead for longer than one game — a back-and-forth the Panthers could end on home ice tonight.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
House: The medical drama has only three more episodes to live, so it’s getting in every last crazy diagnosis (that could be lupus, but definitely isn’t lupus) while it still can. In last night’s Hugh Laurie-directed hour, House and company cracked The Case of The Boy Who Woke Up Choking, and Zack Handlen can explain how it all worked out (and why it wasn’t lupus, even if it looked like lupus at one point).