Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

It’s a South Park satirical showdown

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Here’s what’s up in the world of TV for Wednesday, November 18. All times are Eastern.


Top pick

South Park (Comedy Central, 10 p.m.): Jimmy runs afoul of PC Principal, perhaps bringing the school administrator’s reign of repressive mandatory niceness to an end. As Dan Caffrey stated last week, South Park has had a resurgence this season, finding the satirical sweet spot more often than not:

… just as they’ve done with every other topic of the week this season—from gentrification to Yelp! reviewers to cyber-shaming—Parker and Stone use police brutality as a means of exploring the frightening things that can happen when PC outrage is disingenuous and misdirected. South Park isn’t against PC culture as a whole. It’s against fake PC culture, those individuals who use political correctness as a means of personal gain or personal validation.

Not bad for a bunch of foul-mouthed cutouts.

Also noted

Arrow (The CW, 8 p.m.): Ollie’s hands are full dealing with Neal McDonough’s deliciously evil Damien Darhk already, so here’s a shocking revelation to complicate things. Thanks a bunch. Meanwhile, Thea feels that Lazarus Pit rage rising in front of Alex, which is one of the little-known superhero relationship difficulties. Alasdair Wilkins is hoping the show starts kicking all its various subplots into gear. From last week’s review:

… it’s worth understanding what special pressures this show now operates under as the foundational piece of an ever-expanding TV universe. In theory, the stories we see on this show should be built from the basic premise of making Arrow as compelling, as entertaining, as good—even great!—as possible. Yet everything with Ray and Sara represents so much table-setting, and the vast majority of the payoff is likely to come on some other show. The question then for “Losts Souls” is how well it can hide the fact that it’s doing a spin-off’s narrative dirty work.

Listen up, Arrow—you do not want to see Alasdair when the rage is on him.

Survivor (CBS, 8 p.m.): Carrie Raisler could barely conceal her glee at dudebro Savage’s unexpected exit last week. This week, there’s no time to bask, as another dismissal is reportedly in the offing.


The Middle / The Goldbergs (ABC, 8 / 8:30 p.m.): It’s a kooky family sitcom double feature! Turkeys may be overcooked, or surreptitiously eaten by the family pet! There may be irascible visiting relatives! And comically undercooked stuffing! Will Harris is loosening his belt in preparation for the sides, and the laughter.

Empire (Fox, 9 p.m.): Even one-time Empire enthusiast Joshua Alston is losing faith that the show can pull things back together, if his review of last week’s episode is to be believed:

The difference in season two is that the show’s novelty has faded, so even the stunts aren’t as arresting as they once were, and what’s underneath simply isn’t as interesting. “True Love Never” doesn’t have what you like about Empire, almost regardless of what that is. It’s just crazy boring and exposes the deep flaws in this season. Nothing interesting is happening, and what is happening isn’t even happening in a fun or surprising way.


You just don’t mess with Josh’s television affections, Empire. This week, Lucious and Cookie attempt to win him back over.

Modern Family (ABC, 9 p.m.): Switching up the Thanksgiving vibe, Jay and Gloria decide to hold a post-Thanksgiving brunch. Don’t worry, though—things go humorously awry. Kyle Fowle’s almost certain of it.


Black-ish (ABC, 9:30 p.m.): Always ahead of the game, Black-ish jumps past Thanksgiving right to the comically botched Christmas card photo plot, as Bow’s attempts to whip the family into presentable shape is thwarted by a series of barbershop mishaps. LaToya Ferguson would share some of her own tonsorial disasters, but those photos have been sealed.

American Horror Story: Hotel (FX, 10 p.m.): When the Hotel Cortez’s new owner starts ripping out the walls, he finds more than black mold and dry rot. Speaking of rot, Emily L. Stephens is back to review whatever this week’s over-the-top mess of an episode throws at the screen.

Of course, it’s not all bad
Of course, it’s not all bad

The League (FXX, 10 p.m.): After a disappointing season, Shelby Fero is hoping that a Rafi and Dirty Randy trip to Puerto Rico can sleaze/spice things up.

You’re The Worst (FXX, 10:30 p.m.): Last week’s visit from Jimmy’s soccer hooligan family provided a bit of a detour from this season’s string of devastatingly powerful outings. Vikram Murthi’s hoping for another A episode centered on Aya Cash’s heartbreaking depiction of Gretchen’s inner turmoil. Then again, he’s probably secretly wishing for another goof-about, although the promise that Jimmy’s “getting closer to his bartender friend, Nina” suggests that Jimmy’s gonna screw everything up, big time. Jesus, Jimmy.


Moonbeam City (Comedy Central, 10:30 p.m.): Dazzle is reunited with his estranged stuntman father Razzle. Jesse Hassenger thinks if you need more enticement to watch than that sentence, you and he are very different people.

Regular coverage

Casual (Hulu, midnight)

Kingdom (DirecTV, 9 p.m.)

Star Wars Rebels (Disney XD, 9:30 p.m.)

Elsewhere in TV Club

Star Wars Week continues! Pow! Zap! Laser beam sound! Your favorite A.V. Club geek-people bring you an Inventory about the people, things, and they wish were being exported from the Star Wars Expanded Universe to the new movies. Then, Sam Barsanti and Mike Vago (who prefer the term “Star Wars booster,” thank you very much) engage in a Luke vs. Rancor-level battle of the Star Wars vehicles as they debate whether the Jawa sandcrawler or Boba Fett’s Slave I is the best choice for picking the kids up at daycare.


What else is on

Adventure Time (Cartoon Network, 8 p.m.): Finn, Jake, and Princess Bubblegum continue to battle the vamps. Little known fact—in a candy-based kingdom, vamps fear fang-cavities even more than any of those three.


The Mysteries Of Laura (NBC, 8 p.m.): An undercover cop is uncovered and summarily killed on Debra Messing’s watch. No one is killed on Debra Messing’s watch, people.

Rosewood (Fox, 8 p.m.): Rosewood and Villa up with a bounty hunter who happens to be Hornstock’s former partner. And Rosewood gets to utter the greatest phrase in human history:

Hellevator (GSN, 8 p.m.): In this episode of the horror-themed game show, Three Boston friends accept a challenge involving twisted triplets who were orphaned in a mysterious fire.” And when Bostonians get scared, they really let those accents fly.


My Big Fat Fabulous Life (TLC, 8 p.m.): Reality!

Criminal Minds (CBS, 9 p.m.): People are kidnapped and forced to undergo sleep deprivation. This week: The Criminal Minds team is out to rescue a bunch of freelance writers! Finally, something that speaks to us at The A.V. Club!


Supernatural (The CW, 9 p.m.): “Sheriff Donna calls Sam and Dean for help after a horrific murder with supernatural elements occurs in her town.” Wait, a murder with supernatural elements? Are we sure this is the right show?

Cutthroat Kitchen (Food Network, 9 p.m.): The celebrity chefs compete in the “Superstar Sabotage” competition, making a pupu platter, tortellini and whoopie pies. Then tossing them all together in a big galvanized bucket. Bon appétit!


People’s Sexiest Man Alive 2015 (Lifetime, 9 p.m.): It might be you, guys. It has to be someone.

Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (NBC, 9 p.m.): When Raúl Esparza’s ADA Barba tries to use some old evidence in a case, he butts heads with B.D. Wong’s visiting alumnus Dr. Huang. Wong-Wong!


North Woods Law (Animal Planet, 9 p.m.): The brave men and women of the Maine Warden Service keep the peace on the Canadian border. This week—fox trouble!

Ghost Hunters (Syfy, 9 p.m.): In the 10th-season finale, the team finally finds definitive, irrefutable proof of the existence of the afterlife. No blurry shadows, no B.S. temperature changes—Slimer time. They were just saving it for the tenth anniversary. Super-certain.


Paranormal Witness (Syfy, 10 p.m.): No, no—the fourth season finale of this ghost hunter show is the one with the proof. Hundred per cent. Ghost city, USA.

Nashville (ABC, 10 p.m.): Maddie gets an offer to go solo. Rayna would like Maddie not to go solo. Thus is the conflict established. Might it be resolved with a cake walk? One can only hope, city-Yankee.


Upright Citizens Brigade
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Million Dollar Listing: Los Angeles (Bravo, 10 p.m.): In this show about people selling houses, “Josh Altman and Josh Flagg face off in a battle over clients, property and bragging rights.” There can be only one Josh.


Code Black (CBS, 10 p.m.): “That’s a code black, people, the scariest and most feared of all hospital codes!” “But what does it mean, exactly?” “Code-freaking-black! What to you need, a roadmap? Code black!” This week—oh, you know it’s a code black.

Are You The One? (MTV, 10 p.m.): “In the season three finale, Amanda pops off yet again; couples can’t decide between playing for love and strategizing to win; and the house decides that a coin toss should decide their fate.” This means something.


Chicago P.D. (NBC, 10 p.m.): “A decapitated body found in Lake Michigan is linked to Voight’s social circle.” Dammit, Voight—your mom warned you about hanging out with headless people, but you just wouldn’t listen.

Going Deep With David Rees (Esquire, 10 p.m.): Comedian and curious fellow Rees continues to consult the widest variety of experts possible in order to master seemingly simple skills in this very entertaining science series. This time out, he’s learning to eavesdrop, so watch your ass. Here he is finding out how to make the perfect ice cube.


The Brain With David Eagleman (PBS, 10 p.m.): In the finale, big Dave posits what shape the brain may take in the future. Metaphorical shape. Regardless of evolution, the actual brain-shape will likely remain “squish-monster.”


Coach Charming (TLC, 10 & 10:30 p.m.): “A pageant pro’s giggling fits make it difficult for Bill to get through to her.” Well, if you wouldn’t wear that hilarious fake arrow through the head, Coach Charming.


College Basketball: Illinois at Providence (Fox Sports 1, 7 p.m.)
NBA Basketball: Pelicans at Thunder (ESPN, 8 p.m.)
College Football: Western Michigan at Northern Illinois (ESPN2, 8 p.m.)
College Football: Central Michigan at Kent State (ESPNU, 8 p.m.)
Impact Wrestling (Destination America, 9 p.m.)
The Ultimate Fighter (FS1, 10 p.m.)
NBA Basketball: Bulls at Suns (ESPN, 10:30 p.m.)
Ring Of Honor (Destination America, 11 p.m.)


In case you missed it

The Flash: Sure, Scott Von Doviak had his usual trenchant insights into the show, but all we can hear is “Grodd! Grodd! Grodd!” (Grodd’s back.)