Here’s what’s up in the world of TV for Tuesday, May 1. All times are Eastern.
The Voice (NBC, 9 p.m.): Look, the elimination episodes of The Voice aren’t the most thrilling thing in the world—and with the way frontrunners were blithely cast aside by the coaches this season, they’re not even the most thrilling way to be eliminated from The Voice. But nearly every other show regularly covered by TV Club is gearing up for the big fireworks and easily notched “top pick” status that comes with a season finale, so why not take a night to care about who’s making the leap to The Voice’s equivalent of the Final Four? At the very least, watch it in an attempt to keep Emily Yoshida company.
Glee (Fox, 8 p.m.): Like regionals and sectionals in seasons past, Rachel and Kurt’s auditions for the fictional New York Academy of the Dramatic Arts have seemingly been the characters’ sole reason for existence in recent months. (The “Rachel and Finn’s wedding” nonsense aside.) Todd VanDerWerff can’t wait for both to flop, because he loves it when Glee characters are sad and he never wants to hear the word “NYADA” again.
Cougar Town (ABC, 8:30 p.m.): Grayson’s past indiscretions have brought an unexpected daughter into his and Jules’ life—though it could be two daughters if Travis’ attraction to Tampa’s mom gets serious. Ryan McGee has no idea what you buy the groom who becomes his stepsister’s stepfather.
Frontline (PBS, 9 p.m.): Frontline presents the second half of its Great Recession chronicle, “Money, Power And Wall Street.” For a refresher, read Meredith Blake’s review of last week’s first two hours—or review your continually dire bank statements.
New Girl (Fox, 9 p.m.): In a bit of table-setting for next week’s finale, Jess crosses paths with her ex-boyfriend, Paul (Justin Long). As such, the episode is called “Backslide”—though, in Erik Adams’ mind, that’s a reference to the fact that Long’s previous arc was the low point of New Girl’s first season.
TV CLUB CLASSIC
The Muppet Show (noon): At the intersection of The Muppet Show’s rising star and its initial difficulties with attracting prominent guests lies this week’s double bill of Julie Andrews and Jaye P. Morgan. Because Morgan’s hit recording of “Life Is Just A Bowl Of Cherries” is still inescapable in 2012, Erik Adams looks forward to learning more about this enigmatic Andrews character. (Was she one of the Andrews Sisters?)
WHAT ELSE IS ON
Jamie’s Meals In Minutes (BBC American, 1 p.m.): Having shown Americans they don’t have to cram themselves full of artificial flavors and preservatives just because they can, Jamie Oliver attempts to beat fast and processed foods at the “quick and convenient” argument. If this series doesn’t take off, expect Oliver to go door to door preaching the gospel of fresh produce some time in 2013.
Jesse Owens: American Experience (PBS, 8 p.m.): Andre Braugher narrates the life of the track star who trounced racism and Nazi ideals (for America!) at the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin. That’s only slightly less enticing than if Braugher played Owens, staring daggers at Hitler and making sure justice is served in the 200m sprint.
Mrs. Eastwood & Company (E!, 8 p.m.): A preview of E!’s latest attempt at replicating the success of Keeping Up With The Kardashians (with an assist from reality powerhouse Bunim/Murray Productions), which follows… Clint Eastwood’s wife, their daughters, and the African a cappella group they manage. So it’s only a matter of time before the dead-eyed progeny of the Man With No Name is trying to sell you some sticky-sweet liqueur or another.
Uprising: Hip Hop And The LA Riots (VH1, 9 p.m.): Twenty years after the Rodney King verdict resulted in six days of violence and looting in Los Angeles, VH1’s Rock Docs series uses archival footage and recent interviews to tell how rap artists chronicled, channeled, and (depending on the source) stoked the tensions that boiled over on April 29, 1992. Kenny Herzog has the review.
Boyz N The Hood (VH1, 7 p.m.): Records like Straight Outta Compton and Amerikkka’s Most Wanted provided a lens into the conditions in pre-riot L.A., but John Singleton’s feature-length directorial debut put South Central on the big screen. Watch the VH1 edit for additional perspective on Uprising; all the blanked-out cussing, meanwhile, will help replicate the experiences of confused suburban kids who couldn’t figure out N.W.A. wanted to do to the police in 1988. (“Fuzz tha police?”)
Big Money Rustlas (Showtime 2, 9:35 p.m.): Or, for a hip-hop-flavored film of a different kind: Here’s the Insane Clown Posse’s sun-bleached follow-up to 2001’s Big Money Hustlas, a cartoonish Western comedy that even its creators admit is patently ridiculous. Fucking cowboys: How do they work?
NBA Playoff: Game 2: 76ers at Bulls (NBC Sports, 7:30 p.m.): If you heard an audible gasp rise from the middle of the country last weekend, that was sound of Derrick Rose’s torn ACL knocking the wind out of thousands of Bulls fans. Chicago attempts to carry on without its best player, looking to build on its one-game over Philadelphia.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
The Pitch: Because everybody’s favorite part of Mad Men are the campaign pitches—and we all wish we could see Don Draper and Ted Chaough butt heads in the same conference room—AMC cooked up a reality show that delivers both of those things. According to Phil Dyess-Nugent, the pilot’s no Glo-Coat, but it’ll do.