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Archive for Friday, March 18, 2011

Frost warnings lifted on ABC

March 18, 2011

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“Supernanny” (7 p.m., ABC), a dependable if predictable fixture in the ABC schedule since 2005, airs is final episode tonight. Over the years, “Supernanny” has offered comfort food of sorts by hewing to some pretty standard TV traditions.

For starters, people like to observe other families’ parenting styles and find them wanting. It’s a human trait that predates reality television by several thousand years. It also follows in the more recent television notion that anyone with a British accent is inherently smarter than his or her American charge. Lastly it adheres to the most predictable television premise of all. Be it a scripted series or a reality spectacle, no problem, no behavioral dysfunction or rotten habit born of years or decades of emotional neglect is too great to be surmounted and “solved” in roughly 44 minutes.

In tonight’s ultimate “Supernanny,” Jo Frost travels to Houston, not to teach clueless parents to mend their ways, but to counsel a family whose mother died of breast cancer a year ago and where a grieving father of three boys is having difficulty enforcing the rules his late wife established for the boys before she died. Frost was particularly drawn to this case, as her own mother died of breast cancer when she was growing up. Have handkerchiefs at the ready as Frost season finally lifts on ABC.

Jo Frost can also be seen on “The Late Late Show” (11:37 p.m., CBS).

• Poignant and not a little strange in its own way, “Give it Up for Greg Giraldo” (10:30 p.m., Comedy Central) recalls the 44-year-old standup comedian and fixture from the network’s many celebrity roasts who died last September from an overdose of prescription medication.

Both somber and celebratory, “Give it Up” includes laudatory reflection from Conan O’Brien, Jon Stewart, Sarah Silverman, Colin Quinn, Denis Leary, Dave Attell and other colleagues in the business of funny. They recall his intelligence, the fact that he was a Harvard-educated lawyer who left his profession for the stage. All praise his ability to set the bar rather high for the kind of caustic, blowtorch humor associated with comedy roasts.

“Give it Up” is moving because it captures so many professional cynics in moments of personal reflection, even grief. It’s strange in that it does such a good job of recalling Giraldo’s irreverence that you leave convinced that this show is precisely the kind of maudlin exercise that he would have lampooned when he was alive.

• Some see the world divided between people who prefer the 1988 tearjerker “Ghost” (7 p.m., WE) and those who lean toward “Ghostbusters” (8 p.m., Nickelodeon). Friday’s supernatural offerings continue into the wee hours with “The Boogens” (1 a.m., TCM) and “Ghoulies” (2:45 a.m., TCM).

Tonight’s other highlights

• NCAA Basketball Tournament games (6 p.m. and 8:30 p.m., CBS, times approximate). Games can also be seen on TBS, TNT and TruTV. Check listings.

• The Winter X Games Europe (7 p.m., ESPN) conclude.

• Rosie O’Donnell traces her roots on “Who Do You Think You Are” (7 p.m., NBC).

• Old-home week on “Kitchen Nightmares” (7 p.m., Fox).

• A suicide investigation leads to evidence of a woman who cannot die on “Fringe” (8 p.m., Fox).

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