Matt's Picks: March 21-24
Dancing With the Stars (Monday, 8/7c, ABC)
Here we go again. Time to strap on the heels, attach the sequins and apply the spray tan. TV's giddiest dance competition returns for a new season, with the outrageous Kirstie Alley (paired with fan fave Maks) the highest-profile celeb in the cast. Her competition includes the usual suspects: athletes (Hines Ward, Sugar Ray Leonard), C-list performers (Ralph Macchio) a rapper (Romeo), a reality "star" (Kendra Wilkinson), a flamboyant talk-show host (Wendy Williams), a supermodel (Petra Nemcova) and a Disney personality few of the target audience will ever have heard of (Chelsea Kane). The mirrorball isn't the real prize for most of the contestants. Instant (if sometimes fleeting) stardom comes with the flashy territory.
How I Met Your Mother (Monday, 8/7c, CBS)
Forget meeting that annoyingly elusive mother. This week, it's all about the father: more to the point, Barney's long-absent dad. And this family reunion, which has been years in the making, is distinguished by the casting of multiple Emmy winner John Lithgow (3rd Rock From the Sun, Dexter) as Jerry, who has plenty of catching up to do with his wayward son. (Playing Jerry's wife: Nancy Travis, most recently seen on Desperate Housewives as Brian Austin Green's mom. She gets around.) While Barney's busy with family, the rest of the gang is obsessed with pointing out each other's "gaps" of knowledge.
Modern Family (Wednesday, 9/8c, ABC)
Nathan Lane, who recently hung up his Gomez 'stache in Broadway's The Addams Family musical, makes a return guest appearance as Mitchell and Cameron's pal Pepper, taking part in a "boys' night out." Also along for the ride, surprisingly enough: Jay, who'll clearly go to any lengths to avoid attending a symphony concert with Gloria and Manny. Meanwhile, Luke worries his parents when he befriends a crabby old neighbor (played by professional curmudgeon Philip Baker Hall). Earlier on ABC's comedy night, spring break means spring cleaning for the Hecks of The Middle (8/7c), and excavating 20 years of junk is bound to reveal a few surprises.
The Office (Thursday, 9/8c, NBC)
Could this be the beginning of the end for Michael Scott's reign at Dunder Mifflin? (Steve Carell's final appearance has been set for April 28). While the employees conduct their first-ever garage sale in the warehouse, Michael decides to propose to Holly (the wonderful Amy Ryan). Press materials suggest this is Holly's final appearance. Read into that what you will. Also on NBC's comedy night, Jeff plans a Pulp Fiction-themed surprise birthday party for Abed on Community (8/7c), and Leslie takes her Parks and Recreation (9:30/8:30c) team on a camping/brainstorming trip, while Ann nervously welcomes back Chris (Rob Lowe) as Pawnee's new city manager.
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