The loud, pointless and annoying new animated series "Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi" (7:30 p.m., Cartoon Network) claims to follow the adventures of two female Japanese rock stars, Ami and Yumi. The pair happen to be real-life members of an actual band, Puffy AmiYumi. While popular in Japan, in America the group is best known as the singers of the theme song to "Teen Titans." Yes, they're that big.
Sam Register, the cartoon's creator and producer, sees "Hi Hi" as "the perfect vehicle to introduce American audiences to this cool group and Japanese pop (culture). It will be unlike anything you've ever seen."
That might be true if you've been ignoring animation and pop culture for the past 50 years. "Hi Hi" follows in the long tradition of pop-music cartoon series. There were Beatles cartoons and Jackson Five cartoons, and while they were terrible, they were at least associated with a real hit band. Those Saturday-morning shows simply represented the triumph of marketing over music. "Hi Hi" is a hideous hybrid. Neither Japanese nor entirely American, it's a pure commodity, merchandised without mercy to impressionable minds. It's a good thing children have an innate talent for recognizing the lame and rejecting the phony.
Tonight's other highlights
- A legal proceeding dredges up bad memories on "Joan of Arcadia" (7 p.m., CBS).
- Scheduled on "Dateline" (7 p.m., NBC): women and sex.
- Cirque du Soleil (7 p.m., Bravo) presents its new performance, "Midnight Sun."
- Davis risks everything to settle old scores on "Third Watch" (8 p.m., NBC).
- Death stalks the private-plane set on "CSI: Miami" (9 p.m., CBS).
- A contagion hits the adult-film circuit on "Medical Investigation" (9 p.m., NBC).
Tom Brady and Damien Fahey appear on "Late Show with David Letterman" (10:35 p.m., CBS) ... Jay Leno hosts Teri Hatcher, Brian Williams and Ben Harper & the Blind Boys of Alabama on "The Tonight Show" (10:35 p.m., NBC) ... Tom Kenny appears on "Jimmy Kimmel Live" (11:05 p.m., ABC).