Here’s what’s up in the world of TV for Sunday, December 9. All times are Eastern.
The Simpsons (Fox, 8 p.m.): Lending the smallest bit of credence to theories that The Simpsons’ Springfield is located somewhere in Oregon, Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein take a brief, eco-friendly, animated day trip away from Portlandia to essentially play Portlandia characters who’ve moved into a house on Evergreen Terrace. They bring with them their son, T-Rex, voiced by future player of all television roles Patton Oswalt. Robert David Sullivan is too afraid to guess if the kid’s namesake is the dinosaur or the glam-rock band, lest he look like a poseur in front of the visiting cool people.
Bob’s Burgers (Fox, 8:30 p.m.): The sequence of press artwork for “Unbearable Like-Likeness Of Gene” begins at Bob’s Burgers and ends in a hospital, which doesn’t bode well for Gene’s first romantic relationship. Still, Rowan Kaiser can’t wait for his butterfly-inducing meet-cute with the episode—maybe they’ll both reach for the same library book and flirtatiously brush hands!
Family Guy (Fox, 9 p.m.): A crush of Meg’s turns out to be gay, and when the guy takes a liking to Chris, Kevin McFarland isn’t sure to brace for impact with some ugly stereotypes or to anticipate for one of those weird weeks where Family Guy lowers its anti-sentimentality shields and shows some compassion toward its characters.
Dexter (Showtime, 9 p.m.): The man responsible for the death of Dexter’s mother is out of prison, and if we can extrapolate from Dex’s past behavior, he’s getting ready to deck the halls with the dude’s blood in this Christmas episode. Follow Joshua Alston in merry measure as he tells of an unexpected source of yuletide treasure.
American Dad! (Fox, 9:30 p.m.): Read an American Dad! plot synopsis—like this week’s, which begins: “The babysitter must cancel on the Smiths…”—the wrong way and the show’s protagonists suddenly become a melancholy band of English rockers from the 1980s. Kevin McFarland wishes he could laugh, but that joke isn’t funny anymore.
Homeland (Showtime, 10 p.m.): A week after the wildly divisive “Broken Hearts,” Homeland reunites the faithful with something we can all agree on: “The Motherfucker With A Turban” is a fantastic episode title. It’s so fantastic that Todd VanDerWerff will not hear a single debate about the plausibility of a Homeland character uttering such a line.
TV CLUB CLASSIC
Doctor Who (Classic) (11 a.m.): A correction to last Sunday’s What’s On Tonight?: Classic Doctor Who coverage returns today with “Planet Of The Giants.” Our apologies for stomping around on Christopher Bahn’s Who schedule like a bunch of careless scientists who don’t notice a miniaturized TARDIS crew.
The Simpsons (3 p.m.): There is a man / a certain man / and for The Simpsons you can be sure that he’ll do all he can / Who is this one? / Nathan Rabin! / And his opinions on “Rosebud” will make for lots of fun.
WHAT ELSE IS ON?
The Amazing Race (CBS, 8 p.m.): The long-running reality competition is losing some of its pep in its old age, but the final sprint to the show’s finish line usually lands in the winner’s circle. Not enough racing imagery in that last sentence? Try these on for size: Lanes, hurdles, starter’s pistol, pit stop, steeple chase, and our personal favorite, won by a nose.
Hidden In America (Destination America, 9 p.m.): The new series declares “live for today” with this sneak peek—because if there’s any truth to what was taught to the former doomsday-cult members interviewed in this première, we might not get tomorrow. Or maybe we’re confusing doomsday-cult leaders with Ne-Yo again.
Bamazon (History, 9 p.m.): Look, the portmanteau “bamazon” was just sitting there, so what would you expect History Channel to do—not cook up a docuseries where Alabama natives go hunting for gold in the Amazon? What kind of wasteful fool do you take History for?
Sin City Rules (TLC, 10 p.m.): At the risk of riffing off a joke from a 12-year-old episode of Saturday Night Live, is it “Sin City rules!” or the guidelines to living in Las Vegas? Follow-up: Shouldn’t it just read “The Wannabe Real Housewives Of Las Vegas”?
The Mistle-tones (ABC Family, 8 p.m.): The centerpiece of ABC Family’s 25 Days Of Christmas is this original musical about rival singing groups led by Tia Mowry and Tori Spelling. Featuring plenty of public-domain carols (in addition to “All I Want For Christmas Is You,” which even Spelling can’t fuck up) and “true meaning of Christmas” plot points so stale, they ought to be in the public domain.
Miracle On 34th Street (AMC, 8 p.m.): AMC cleared away its Sunday-night zombies just in time for the arrival of another undying fictional creature who brings joy to millions: Edmund Gwenn’s portrayal of jolly old department-store elf Kris Kringle—cinema’s only Oscar-winning Santa Claus.
Sunday Night Football: Lions at Packers (NBC, 8:20 p.m.): The dome-dwelling Lions travel to the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field, where the Packers last defeated Detroit with an Aaron Rodgers tied behind their back. Rodgers should be back calling the plays for the Pack this time around, meeting his offensive match in the recently hot combo of the Lions’ Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
Saturday Night Live (Saturday): Jamie Foxx came to 30 Rock to promote Django Unchained, but all David Sims wanted was to see Foxx warm up for his upcoming Spider-Man role by donning Electro’s yellow-and-green leotard and shooting electricity from his hands. Is that so much to ask?