This is Past Forward, a look at last week and the week ahead:
- Last week started with the host of an upcoming MTV series about drug addiction dying of a drug overdose. In far less significant news, editors on one show gave up and just used footage from an old episode, while whale-killing Japanese fishermen may have given up that practice because of a documentary. Jon Gosselin proved he has no self-awareness, while another large family proved it has no desire to ever stop procreating. A British man was super-excited to perform in front of Simon Cowell, which is almost as exciting as the fact that lesbians are getting their own housewives show and New York is getting all six of its Real Housewives back. Julie Chen proved she’s a great sport by professing enthusiasm about the Chenbot, while Neil Patrick Harris proved why we love him by slamming some of American Idol‘s guest judges while he was a guest judge.
- Sunday, Sept. 6
On the penultimate episode of HGTV’s Design Star, the judges better dump Dan after keeping him around just because he’s pretty and can talk well on TV, even though he spent $11,000 of a $5,000 budget on an ugly pergola last episode. Meanwhile, Ruby [Style, 8 p.m.] ends its second season run, while Homeland Security, USA ends probably forever [ABC, 5 p.m.] after ABC burned off episodes this summer on Sunday afternoons after pulling the series, for which producers had “unprecedented access,” off the air last spring.
- Monday, Sept. 7
Among the many TV marathons that will air over the weekend, Labor Day offers three reality show marathons worth watching that are actually about labor: Discovery will air Dirty Jobs all day starting at 9 a.m. and going to 3 a.m., although episodes start repeating at 11. From 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., MTV will air 16 and Pregnant‘s entire first season, and gets mad props for its creative wordplay (Get it? Labor? Labor Day?). But if you missed it, the day is really your chance to watch the entire second season of Whale Wars [Animal Planet, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.].
- Tuesday, Sept. 8
Big Brother 11 [CBS, 9 p.m.] will air a special Tuesday live eviction, and start the ridiculous endurance competition that is usually the first of three final HOH competitions. How long can someone hold onto a giant flesh-covered tube while being blasted with white foam?
- Wednesday, Sept. 9
So You Think You Can Dance [FOX, 8 p.m.] returns for its first-ever fall season. Is it too soon since the summer? Can it withstand the competition? Can our eardrums take more of Mary Murphy without sufficient healing time? Who cares! It’s network TV’s best talent competition. At the same time, Top Model [The CW, 8 p.m.] debuts with a two-hours of its new, short models, while Wipeout [ABC, 8 p.m.] will air a special episode featuring the Australian edition but with US hosts John Henson and John Anderson narrating/making fun of contestants. Someone, please leave them behind in Australia. Later that night, The Real World Cancun [MTV, 10 p.m.] ends, but alas, not for good.
Monday night, three documentaries will air: Manson [History, 9 p.m.] looks at Charles Manson, while The Last Truck: The Closing of a GM Plant [HBO, 9 p.m.] is about, well, the closing of a GM plant. If you get the NFL Network, it will air the first US broadcast of Working on a Dream: A Super Bowl Journal [8 p.m.], which is a behind-the-scenes look at Bruce Springsteen’s performance at the Super Bowl last February. Also, it’s Oscar week on The Rachel Zoe Project [Bravo, 10 p.m.], and guess who will just die repeatedly?