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The Globe and Mail

Seven Days of Television: August 19 to August 25

A select viewing guide to the next seven days of television

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MONDAY AUGUST 19 The Man with the 132-pound Scrotum (TLC, 9 p.m.) No one can ever accuse the TLC network of pulling its punches. This new special profiles Wesley Warren Jr., a 49-year-old Las Vegas resident afflicted with a rare medical condition called “scrotal lymphedema,” which has caused his scrotum to blow up to roughly the size of a footstool. Mostly the special follows him on his daily routine as he struggles to perform tasks most of us take for granted, like walking, cooking and driving a car. The most surprising thing is that the program doesn’t sensationalize Wesley’s condition. Instead, it will break your heart.


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TUESDAY AUGUST 20 Erin Brockovich (AMC, 9 p.m.) Hey, remember Julia Roberts? Although she works only sparingly now, the winsome actress earned the first and only Oscar of her career for her portrayal of the iron-willed Erin Brockovich in this 2000 drama directed by Steven Soderbergh. Based on real-life events, the story shifts focus between single-mom Brockovich raising her three young kids and her efforts to bring down a ruthless California power company accused of polluting a town’s water supply. The great Albert Finney lends solid support as Brockovich’s wry lawyer employer.

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WEDNESDAY AUGUST 21 MasterChef (Fox, CTV, 9 p.m.) This is going to be good. The TV cooking competition in search of America’s next great home chef is heating up following last week’s ejection of the dimwitted Jordan for undercooking a quail. Now we’re down to the final six contestants and they are: The hippie James, witless Luca, vegan Bri, woebegone Jessie, mean-spirited Chrissie and even meaner Natasha. In tonight’s new episode, the contestants are split into two teams and instructed to re-create popular dishes served at a five-star L.A. eatery; the losing team then has to prepare a perfect plate of fried calamari (with a side of marinara sauce, of course). Whatever happens, Gordon Ramsay is going to send one chef packing.

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THURSDAY AUGUST 22 Doc Zone: Generation Jobless (CBC, 9 p.m.) Oh, for the days when a university degree assured a young person a great job and comfortable life. Both startling and informative, this documentary attempts to explain why so many young people are overeducated and unemployed; the unemployment rate currently standing at 15 per cent and rising in Canada. So why is that figure only two per cent in Switzerland? Beyond the employment hurdles presented by globalization and automation, the kids are actually in competition with their parents’ generation for the small pool of jobs that do exist. And according to several experts interviewed in the program, the problem is only going to get worse in the years ahead. Kids, get thee to a trade school.

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FRIDAY AUGUST 23 What Not to Wear (TLC, 10 p.m.) Back on Friday nights where it belongs, TLC’s breezy makeover series recently returned for the second half of its 10 th season. The show’s drawing power remains the fashion rescue missions performed by the adorable Stacy London and Clinton Kelly, who still take the kinder and gentler approach to reeducating the hopelessly style-impaired. In tonight’s new show, they dive into the closet of Courtney, an unrepentant tomboy with a camouflage fixation. Seriously, every single piece of clothing in her wardrobe is camouflage-themed. The makeover begins, as always, with Stacy and Clinton cleaning out her closet. The next step: Shopping!

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SATURDAY AUGUST 24 Just for Laughs: A Tribute to Nerds (Comedy Network, 9 p.m.) This is the golden age for the pocket-protector crowd. Buoyed by the success of shows like The Big Bang Theory and public adoration of tech heroes like Mark Zuckerberg, nerds have never been more loved or accepted, which accounts for the existence of this sharp comedy special taped at last year’s Just for Laughs festival in Montreal. Hosted, fittingly enough, by Big Bang’s Kunal Nayyar and Simon Helberg (aka Raj and Wolowitz), the program features stage turns by the very funny Brian Posehn, Chris Hardwick and Mark Little, last seen on the departed series Picnicface. Is the capacity crowd laughing with them or at them? It doesn’t matter anymore.

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SUNDAY AUGUST 25 2013 MTV Video Music Awards (MTV, MuchMusic, 9 p.m.) Be prepared to surrender the TV to the kids tonight. MTV’s annual music-awards fete broadcasts live from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn and boasts a talent lineup that should have the Grammy organizers grinding their teeth with envy. Booked to perform are Justin Timberlake, Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Kanye West, Miley Cyrus and Robin Thicke, whose catchy tune Blurred Lines is a shoo-in to win the new category of Song of the Summer. Will some of the artists wear scandalous outfits or let the F-word slip in their acceptance speech? Let the viral-video games begin!

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