Television has become a losing battle between the fake and the real. What’s the use of concocting a scripted comedy and drama when folks would just as soon watch “Swamp Loggers”? Our 10-year reality TV binge has robbed so many would-be actors of their chance to become famous that our few remaining celebrities have banded together to retaliate by pretending to be “real” people.
The result is the odd hybrid “I Get That a Lot” (7 p.m., CBS), a “Candid Camera”-style series in which well-known folks slum as regular wage earners. When a normal person comes up to a celebrated face (and body) pretending to toil behind the counter at Victoria’s Secret, she inquires, “Aren’t you Pamela Anderson?” At this point, the star of “Barb Wire” denies her own identity, much to the stranger’s confusion and consternation.
If you find this hilarious, stick around to watch: Pauley Perrette (“NCIS”) try her hand at dog grooming; talk show host Jerry Springer work at a deli; Olympian Apolo Ohno bag groceries at an upscale supermarket; Ty Pennington (“Extreme Makeover: Home Edition”) sell hardware; and Dr. Drew Pinsky (“Celebrity Rehab”) peddle glasses at a chain outlet.
For all of their new vocations, the hardest acting “job” performed here is straddling the line between identifying with working stiffs and condescending to ordinary folk.
• History has taught us that the easiest way to get cast on a reality show is to have already been cast on a reality show. I call that the “Boston Rob” rule, or the Carson Kressley protocol. Short of that, be related to somebody who already has a reality show. Bobby Deen hosts “Not My Mama’s Meals” (8 p.m., Cooking), presenting lean and healthy versions of recipes made by his famous mother, Paula Deen. Tonight, he transforms her Krispy Kreme Bread Pudding into something called Fresh Fruit Bread Pudding.
Of course, being closely identified with a famous brand-name mother can lead to psychological problems, not to mention reality TV casting opportunities. Perhaps Bobby Deen should conspire with Martha Stewart’s ungrateful daughter.
• The new true-crime series “Fatal Encounters” (9 p.m., ID) premieres with a grisly tale weirder than anything on “American Horror Story”: a baby-obsessed stalker out to rob an expectant mother of her unborn child.
Tonight’s other highlights
• Back to school on “Glee” (7 p.m., Fox).
• A buy-American law runs amok on “Harry’s Law” (8 p.m., NBC).
• Howie Mandel hosts “Mobbed” (8 p.m., Fox).
• Phil frets about a medical test on “Modern Family” (8 p.m., ABC).
• Decomposition at an art gallery raises a stink on “CSI” (9 p.m., CBS).
• A boy from an outcast community vanishes on “Law & Order: SVU” (9 p.m., NBC).
• The worst kind of party crasher on “Revenge” (9 p.m., ABC).
• A blessed event looms on the season premiere of “Dog the Bounty Hunter” (9 p.m., A&E;).
• The gang on “Hot in Cleveland” (9 p.m., TV Land) looks back.
• “True Life” (9 p.m., MTV) explores the pressures faced by high school wrestlers.