Here’s what’s up in the world of TV for Thursday, Feb. 16. All times are Eastern.
Archer (FX, 10 p.m.): Because Thursday nights are where all of your favorite things come together, this week brings an episode of Archer set on a drug farm in a rural mining community. It’s not strictly a parody of Justified—though the Justified allusion in the title, “Bloody Ferlin,” begs to differ. Still, in Sterling Archer’s eyes, helping Ray’s redneck brother (voiced by Jack McBrayer) defend his weed empire from the local fuzz is more akin to White Lightning than anything out of an Elmore Leonard story. Undeterred, Todd VanDerWerff continues his campaign for an ongoing comic series that teams Archer with Raylan Givens.
The Big Bang Theory (CBS, 8 p.m.): Apparently all that’s been keeping Sheldon from devolving into a blithe, bongo-playing, free spirit is a regular visit to the barber. When Will Harris misses a haircut, he unleashes his alter ego: The masked marauder known as El Kabong.
American Idol (Fox, 8 p.m.):In response to this tweet from our own Keith Phipps (and as a response to American Idol’s interminable early goings), let’s all write some fan fiction set in the talent competition-based kingdom ruled by Elton John in that X Factor Pepsi ad. Here’s a prompt: “Raised in the wilds that encircled Honky Château, Claire Zulkey had never known the sweet taste of a cold Pepsi Cola… ”
30 Rock (NBC, 8 p.m.): This season’s lumpy, hour-long Valentine’s Day episode aside, 30 Rock usually shines when it applies its cockeyed perspective to holiday traditions. And since there aren’t any real traditions associated with Leap Day, that frees the TGS staff to make up a bunch of shit. Legend has it if you spot a Nathan Rabin in the wild on Leap Day, you’ll have four years of good luck!
Parks And Recreation (NBC, 8:30 p.m.): There’s numerological play afoot in Pawnee, as “Sweet Sixteen” centers on a birthday party and it’s the 16th episode of Parks And Recreation’s fourth season. You may remember Steve Heisler from an episode of My Super Sweet Sixteen where he received a gold-plated pony.
Project Runway All Stars (Lifetime, 9 p.m.): With our regular emissary to Project Runway All Stars off for the evening, deputy envoy to Sunday-night Showtime series Joshua Alston fills in, as the designers take inspiration from the many flags of the United Nations. The General Assembly recognizes this premise as “ridiculous.”
The Office (NBC, 9 p.m.): Seeking to find some of that old third-season magic, the show keeps itself split between Scranton and Tallahassee for another episode. Myles McNutt wonders if the episode will find a way to squeeze in a Chip Esten cameo.
Up All Night (NBC, 9:30 p.m.): Jorma Taccone has been a good friend to Up All Night: He previously played Ava’s ex-boyfriend, Brandon “B-Ro” Roth, and if IMDB is to be believed, he stepped behind the camera to direct this episode. Given the typically manic visual style of Taccone’s work with The Lonely Island, Margaret Eby thinks this should prove… interesting.
Unsupervised (FX, 10:30 p.m.): There is a time in every young man’s life where he must deal with a school-wide lice outbreak. For Gary and Joel, that time is tonight. Brandon Nowalk advises you not to rest your head on the TV set during this episode, nor trade headwear with any Unsupervised characters.
Delocated (Cartoon Network, midnight): There is also a time in every young man’s life where he must be stranded in the woods while his father and his father’s bodyguard enjoy a peaceful camping trip. Seeing as the father of Delocated’s David is a target of the mob, this must end well. Steve Heisler is bringing S’mores ingredients!
TV CLUB CLASSIC
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (11 a.m.): All hail Grand Nagus Quark! Following an unexpected death, the promenade of Deep Space Nine temporarily becomes the center of the Ferengi Alliance—and Zack Handlen couldn’t be more excited. He’s buying shots of Aldebaran whiskey for the whole bar.
Seinfeld (1 p.m.): Prepare to be divided by “The Merv Griffin Show,” a half-hour that’s either the nadir of Seinfeld’s lighter-toned ninth season or an enjoyable excuse to watch Kramer goof around with the reclaimed set of The Merv Griffin Show. Which is it? David Sims decides, and then everybody argues about it in the comments.
Cheers (3 p.m.): Speaking of divisive, Andy Andy’s back! And he’s harboring a dream to become an actor! Too bad there wasn’t an X-Men adaptation in the works at the time, because Andy’s other dream—the one about having claws—would make him a shoo-in for Wolverine.
WHAT ELSE IS ON?
Phunny Business: A Black Comedy (Showtime, 8:30 p.m.): The rise—and sadly politcially and racially motivated fall—of Chicago’s legendary comedy club All Jokes Aside receives the documentary treatment from director John Davies. Claire Zulkey checked out this tribute to the “Motown of comedy,” and she’ll let you if it lives up to the club’s reputation.
MMA Uncensored Live (Spike, 11 p.m.): Mixed Martial Arts is one of the most popular sports on television, so it’s about time it found a venue where its insiders and stars can throw their opinions about MMA around like any other sport. Plus, like, it’s uncensored, so this ain’t no McLaughlin Group for dudes in Tapout shirts—as funny as that mental image is.
The 10 Most Unbelievable Births (Discover Fitness And Health, 8 p.m.): This special has been hanging around the Discover Fitness And Health vaults for a couple of years. But even though it isn’t new, that hyperbolic title demands living-room rubbernecking. Will you believe the births detailed here? No, no you will not—they’re the most unbelievable.
I Just Want My Pants Back (MTV, 11 p.m.): This is turning out to be a fun little hangout show, even if the boho Brooklyn background players should be muted every once in a while. The network’s burning off a pair of episodes tonight, maybe because it’s embarrassed about a plot where Kim “Elizabeth Banks, Jr.” Shaw has an STD.
Planet Terror (Syfy, 7 p.m.): SyFy’s staging an unofficial tribute to under-appreciated horror films of the ’00s tonight (including James Gunn’s Dawn Of The Dead remake and Drag Me To Hell) headlined by Robert Rodriguez’s contribution to 2007’s Grindhouse. It might not be as fun with the gore toned down and the fake trailers absent, but it’s not like Standards And Practices can remove Rose McGowan’s minigun prosthesis.
Bridge On The River Kwai (TCM, 8 p.m.): When was the last time you hung out with your dad, huh? Has it been such a long time that there’s bound to be long, awkward silences in the conversation? Why not call up ol’ pops and fill those inevitable silences with all three hours of the World War II screen epic. He’ll appreciate the call, and you’ll appreciate not having to answer questions about what you’re doing with your life.
NBA Basketball: Knicks at Heat (TNT, 7 p.m.): Linsanity vs. The Big Three. No, it’s not a lost trailer from Grindhouse, but rather the hottest story in basketball running smack dab into the surging Miami Heat and their franchise stars. At the very least, it should be a Lintriguing game.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
Happy Endings: In the realm of invented traditions, 30 Rock gets a run for its money from this young ABC comedy. Brad and Jane’s annual domestic blowup signals the start of spring for the Happy Endings gang, and David Sims respects the show for trying to pull a Groundhog’s Day riff this late in the month.