Archive for Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Tune In: ‘Traffic Light,’ or My Three Dudes

February 8, 2011

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Coming rather hot on the heels of the limp NBC sitcom “Perfect Couples,” the new series “Traffic Light” (8:30 p.m., Fox) demonstrates just how hard it can be to translate the Judd Apatow bro-mantic comedy to the small screen.

Best buds Mike (David Denman), Adam (Nelson Franklin) and Ethan (Kris Marshall) are pals since their college-baseball days and spend entirely too much time on the phone with one another. Adam has a hot wife, Mike a hot girlfriend, and Ethan is a would-be player with an English accent. Their basic life strategy seems to be to get the girl in order to ignore her and hang out with the guys and yak about stuff like the ladies on “Sex and the City.”

As on “Perfect Couples,” the story explores the tensions between goofy dude-dom and the inevitability of domesticity. Not to give too much away here, but the guys also have a shared tragedy, a sad truth not so much central to the story but a means to hook the audience with sad sentimentality, much in the same way that a cad might use a sob story to get over on a woman. Before, of course, ignoring her to hang out with the guys.

• “Raising Hope” (8 p.m., Fox) returns with an original episode that reminds us why this has become the most acclaimed new sitcom of the season. Turning easy assumptions about race, class and ethnicity on their heads, this nicely written episode features a guest spot from Tichina Arnold, who was so unforgettable on “Everybody Hates Chris.”

• “Pioneers of Television” (7 p.m., PBS, check local listings) explores the world of the local TV hosts of children’s programming such as “Bozo” and “Romper Room,” a bygone phenomenon that lives on only in fiction with Krusty the Clown on “The Simpsons.”

Tonight’s other highlights

• Valentine’s Day looms on “Glee” (7 p.m., Fox).

• Friendly rivals on “No Ordinary Family” (7 p.m., ABC).

• Anna has a secret weapon on “V” (8 p.m., ABC).

• Alicia tangles with a familiar face on “The Good Wife” (9 p.m., CBS).

• Haddie and Alex clash on “Parenthood” (9 p.m., NBC).

• Unpleasant secrets slow down two investigations on “Detroit 1-8-7” (9 p.m., ABC).

• An opera star recalls her education during the waning days of segregation in the film “When I Rise” on “Independent Lens” (9 p.m., PBS, check local listings).

• Money worries give way to marital discord on “Lights Out” (9 p.m., FX).

• Sixteen marksmen compete for the title of “Top Shot” (9 p.m., History) as the series enters its second season.

• The travel and drinking series “Three Sheets” (9:30 p.m., Spike) comes to a new network.

• The teen series “My Life as Liz” (10 p.m., MTV) enters a second season. This year, the small-town Texas girl moves to New York to attend art school.

Cult choice

Ray Liotta and Willem Dafoe star in the 2004 shocker “Control” (8:30 p.m., TMC).

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