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A select viewing guide for Thursday, February 14
FAMILY Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown (YTV, 8 p.m.) Far and away this evening’s sweetest TV pick, this animated special was broadcast in 1975 and finds the principal members of the Peanuts gang navigating varying stages of grade-school l’amour. Hence we have the high-intellect Linus oblivious to the affections of Sally, though completely smitten by his new teacher, Miss Othmar, while the fearsome Lucy attempts to strong-arm the piano prodigy Schroeder into becoming her boyfriend. And what of good old Charlie Brown? He’s humiliated yet again when he doesn’t receive a Valentine from the little red-haired girl, or anyone else, for that matter. Good grief indeed.
COMEDY The Office (NBC, 9 p.m.) He’s back. Tonight’s new episode of TV’s most beloved workplace sitcom brings the return of dense but lovable Andy Bernard (Ed Helms), back from his extended sea voyage and more than a little taken aback by the changes during his absence. In other news, Pam (Jenna Fischer) experiences a strange job interview in Philadelphia and Dwight (Rainn Wilson) enlists Angela (Angela Kinsey) to accompany him on a mission to clean his elderly Aunt Shirley. Not her home, but the old lady herself.
REALITY Freakshow (AMC, 9:30 p.m. ET) When you have mega-hit shows like The Walking Dead and Mad Men on your lineup, you can afford to take risks. Debuting tonight, this new show introduces viewers to Todd Ray, who runs an old-school freak show on the Venice Beach boardwalk with the assistance of his wife and two kids. The watch-factor naturally stems from the very special people who star in Ray’s attraction, including Marcus “The Creature,” whose entire body is an amalgam of tattoos and piercings; The Amazing Ali, who stands around three feet tall; and a chap named Morgue, whose stage act involves inserting a spinning drill bit up his nose. Should we anticipate outrage from some people about AMC objectifying the performers for TV ratings? Watch for it.
REALITY Ridiculousness (MTV, 10 p.m.) Why waste hours scouring the Internet for shock-value videos when MTV saves us the trouble with this show? Back tonight for a third season, this series still ranks among MTV’s most-watched programs and maintains an enthusiastic online fan following, which actually makes sense since its content comes from the Internet. As before, host Rob Drydek introduces videos of people performing incredibly dangerous stunts and failing miserably. Or sometimes it’s just people doing really, really stupid things while their friends film them. The new season opens with a guest turn from Jersey Shore’s Pauly D, who comes with a clip reel of moments that never made the series. And the episode is followed by the debut of the new series Failosophy, which is pretty much the exact same show as Ridiculousness. Enjoy.
MOVIE Moulin Rouge! (Vision, 11:30 p.m.) Produced, directed and co-written by Australian film auteur Baz Luhrmann, this 2001 feature pumped fresh energy into the concept of “jukebox musical,” which translates into a musical story employing pop songs from a wide range of eras and genres. In this instance, Luhrmann employs updated versions of Madonna’s Like a Virgin and Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit to tell the story of a jaded young writer named Christian (Ewan McGregor) seeking his fortunes in the seedy underworld of Montmartre, Paris, circa 1890. Tutored by the absinthe-addicted artist Henri de Toulouse-Latrec (John Leguizamo), Christian becomes a regular at the dance hall/brothel Moulin Rouge and falls head over heels into a star-crossed romance with the vampish courtesan Satine (Nicole Kidman in an Oscar-nominated performance).