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Man vs. Cartoon
9 p.m. Saturday, July 4
How do I love Looney Tunes? Let me count the ways. Though Bugs Bunny — that magnificent bastard — is always going to be my favorite, I also have a soft spot for Wile E. Coyote, super genius. Brilliant, silent, perpetually foiled by the annoyingly cheerful Road Runner, he's kind of the perfect avatar for mankind as a whole. No matter what new scheme we concoct, no matter what rocket-powered sled or bottle of earthquake pills we buy from ACME Products LLC, the end is always the same: a dull thud and puff of dust as we faceplant at the bottom of a thousand-foot cliff. That's life in a nutshell, sweetheart: a chase, followed by a trip into the abyss. After awhile, I must admit, I started rooting for the coyote. While the interspecies drama is thick on the Coyote/Roadrunner cartoons, just as interesting are ol' Wile E's inventions. Would any of them really work in the 3-D world? That's where this show comes in. Drawing on the Roadrunner cartoons, a group of engineers, fabricators and explosives experts try to bring the coyote's best schemes to life. This week: rocket-powered rollerskates.
Dance Your Ass Off
9 p.m. Monday, July 6
Given that I just came off a riff on cartoons in the last entry, I desperately want to make a reference to the Dance of the Hippos scene from “Fantasia” while talking about the new Oxygen Network reality series “Dance Your Ass Off.” I won't, however. Now that we've got that out of the way, yes, that's right: Just when you thought it was safe to turn on your television sets, Oxygen has created this reality show, which features all the jiggles and self loathing of dieting reality fare like “The Biggest Loser,” and all the hoochie-mama outfits and profuse sweating of “Dancing with the Stars.” It's a match made in hell. While the underlying premise is fairly familiar — 12 contestants compete in a series of dance and weight loss competitions for a chance to win $100,000 — the show just seems like an invitation for horrific mockery (see my dancing hippos reference above). I'm a Tubbo-American, so I can't talk too much, but how in the heck did they ever get sane people to agree to this? If you wanna dance, go for it. But I've seen some of the preview footage from this show, and the results make me want to taser my eyeballs. A-plus for bravery and moxie. D-minus for skimpy outfits that let it all hang out.
8 p.m. Tuesday, July 7
I love episodic, sci-fi TV. I was a big “X-Files” fan before it became cool to be an “X-Files” fan. I loved “The Sarah Connor Chronicles” on Fox, even though most critics hated it with a purple passion. I attended the church of “Battlestar Galactica.” While The Sci-Fi Channel's recent decision to change their name to SyFy makes me question the sanity of their head honchos, you really can't argue with some of the things they've done to further the cause of small-S-small-F sci-fi programming in recent years. That's why I must admit that I'm intrigued by their new original series “Warehouse 13.” The plot, lifted straight from the closing scenes of “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” revolves around a super-secret warehouse in the middle of nowhere that serves as America's classified attic, containing every alien googaw, supernatural knick-knack and paranormal dust-gatherer we've ever found. With all that potentially dangerous stuff lying around, somebody has to protect it; a task which falls to two newbie Secret Service agents (Eddie McClintock and Joanne Kelley). With the help of the resident warehouse manager (Saul Rubinek), the agents go around America from week to week, collecting things (with the help of stuff already in storage) to be squirreled back in the warehouse. What I've seen of the show seems to promise good chemistry between McClintock and Kelley, with quite a bit of tongue-in-cheek humor in the vein of Sci-Fi's similar (maybe a little too similar) show “Eureka.” Looks like good summer fun.