Date My Ex: Jo & Slade (Monday, 9 p.m., Bravo) has a wafer-thin premise: Jo De La Rosa from The Real Housewives of Orange County is set up on dates by her ex-fiancé, Slade Smiley. As in any other dull dating series, guys go out with Jo and get eliminated one by one. But the producers seem to think that the ex-fiancé angle adds limitless drama and intrigue. Everyone has been told to play up the "weirdness" of the scenario, despite the fact that it was obviously cooked up by Jo, Slade (now her manager), Bravo executives and all their lawyers in some Hollywood office.
"I can't believe I'm on a dating show with my ex-fiancé!" Jo chirps unconvincingly. "It's, like, definitely kind of weird!"
"It's a weird thing to think that other guys are thinking about my ex-fiancée that way," says Slade, as if the idea had just dawned on him.
You might not mind the contrivance if Jo were fun to hang out with. But she's a giggling nitwit who affects a babyish voice and pout. Here's a typical example of her wit and wisdom: "I was, like, whoa."
We are, like, ick.
P.O.V., Friday, 9:30 pm (WHA)
"The Last Conquistador" chronicles the efforts to place a huge, bronze, heroic sculpture of Juan de Oñate in El Paso, Texas. The problem is, not everybody considers Oñate a hero. He was a 16th-century Spaniard who tried to colonize the Southwest by wiping out the Native American population. He had his soldiers kill thousands of people, feed their bodies to the dogs, sell the surviving children into slavery, and hack off the feet of the surviving adults. Even his contemporaries condemned his cruelty. In El Paso, though, well-to-do folks of European descent are determined to honor Oñate as one of their visionary forefathers. "He wasn't politically correct," chuckles a rich old fart as he forks over a check at a fund-raising wine-and-cheese party.
Easy for him to say, given that he still has both feet.
High School Musical: Get in the Picture, Sunday, 7 pm (ABC)
This reality series seeks stars for the upcoming High School Musical 3. Producers scour the nation for bright young talent, visiting local singing competitions and karaoke bars. A dozen finalists attend High School Musical Camp, where weekly eliminations winnow the field to the new Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens.
But wait. The winners of High School Musical: Get in the Picture will not technically appear in High School Musical 3. They'll merely appear in a music video that runs over the closing credits, when viewers have already checked out.
So basically, ABC is asking us to spend several weeks on a virtually meaningless casting exercise. I suggest changing the series' title to High School Musical: Afterthought.
Generation Kill, Sunday, 8 pm (HBO)
This miniseries is based on Evan Wright's book, which chronicles the first 40 days of the Iraq War. We follow a group of Marines who spearhead the invasion, all familiar types from modern war movies: raunchy, cynical, flawed. At the beginning of this week's episode, they're smug about the United States' military might. "Yes, we are the conquering heroes!" one of them crows as tanks roll through the desert. Hmmm, do you think disillusionment and death might be just around the corner?
Viewers will tune in not for the script, but for the production values. Generation Kill was filmed entirely in Africa, and it puts you right in the middle of a realistic war zone. The screen fills with explosions, gunfire, smoke, rubble, fire and very convincing corpses.
Like the U.S. itself, HBO spent some money on this invasion.
Heidi Fleiss: The Would-Be Madam of Crystal, Monday, 8 pm (HBO)
At the start of this documentary, "Hollywood Madam" Heidi Fleiss compares herself favorably to Alexander the Great. "He conquered the world in his 30s," she smirks. "I did it in my 20s."
On the other hand, Alexander the Great was never busted for pandering. Nor did he go bankrupt and spend three years in prison for tax evasion and money laundering. But Fleiss clings to her delusions of grandeur. The documentary chronicles her attempt to open a palatial new brothel, this one legal and aimed at female customers. She will build it in whore-friendly Nevada, call it Stud Farm and revolutionize the prostitution business. And did I mention that the whole thing will be eco-friendly?
But Fleiss keeps running into obstacles. The best land she can find is in a godforsaken wasteland called Pahrump, hours from civilization and best known as a nuclear test site. Her lieutenant is a nutty homeless dude. She's battling substance abuse. The town has raised a petition against her. Heck, even the very tolerant Nevada Brothel Owners Association doesn't want her around.
I bet even Alexander the Great would have a hard time with this particular conquest.
Family Foreman, Wednesday, 9 pm (TV Land)
I love George Foreman, the former world-champion boxer and current world-champion character. I'm reluctant to take a swing at his new reality series, but this thing deserves to be knocked cold. It's another example of a celebrity turning the camera on himself and his family for no good reason.
The premiere episode meanders from the kitchen table to the garage to a speedway where a Foreman-sponsored team will compete. George's daughter has been tapped to sing "God Bless America" before the race, and he seems to think we care. But why would we care about someone so petulant, not to mention scatterbrained? "Are we in Indiana?" she asks while sitting in the middle of Chicago.
No, dear, we're in hell.