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Sunday, November 23, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 47.0° F  Light Rain Fog/Mist
The Daily

TELEVISION

Laughing all the way

All day long, I despair over the state of the U.S. Then, at 10 p.m., I laugh about it. The Daily Show has a gift for making comedy out of national tragedy. Comedy Central's mock newscast lays bare the hypocrisy, mendacity and idiocy in politics and media, fighting absurdity with absurdity. >More
 Fashion casualties

In the reality series Stylista (Wednesday, 8 p.m., CW), 11 aspiring trendsetters vie for an editorial position at Elle magazine. They must impress self-important editor Anne Slowey, who does her best asinine-tyrant act for the cameras. "I only take iced lattes with a small straw," she tells a quivering contestant who dares to bring her breakfast. The scene is right out of The Devil Wears Prada, except that Meryl Streep does Slowey better than Slowey does Slowey. >More
 Color commentary

Finally, a worthy successor to the late, lamented Chappelle's Show. In Chocolate News (Wednesday, 9:30 p.m., Comedy Central), the talented comedian David Alan Grier purports to explore current affairs from an African American perspective. What he really does is lampoon black culture, stereotypes about black culture, and the white culture that traffics in those stereotypes. >More
 Hollywood hell

I panned The Starter Wife TV movie last year, which is hard to believe now that I've seen its new incarnation as a series (Friday, 8 p.m., USA). This time, the production strikes me as a masterpiece, an inside-Hollywood satire worthy of Entourage. All I can say is: My new medications must be working like a charm. >More
 Dead and dumb

In The Ghost Whisperer's season premiere (Friday, 7 p.m., CBS), Jennifer Love Hewitt returns as a woman who solves supernatural mysteries by talking to spooks. Why this is best accomplished in skimpy negligees I've never known. This week, Hewitt's Melinda helps a psychologist who died in a fire along with a sexy patient. Then the psychologist comes back to life. The patient doesn't, but he can hear her ghost talking to him. Melinda can both hear and see the ghost, and she hopes to ask it who started the fire. But that won't be easy, not the way the damn thing keeps disappearing at dramatically convenient moments. >More
 The sound of excitement!

The new season of The Amazing Race (Sunday, 7 p.m., CBS) begins with edge-of-the-seat excitement. Eleven pairs gather in Los Angeles to kick off the race around the world. The host reveals their first destination - Brazil - and they're off! Accompanied by a soundtrack of deafening drums and screeching brass, the pairs jump in their cars and speed off to the airport! But they're slowed by L.A. traffic! And the airline ticket lines are excruciatingly long! Then they endure the endless flight to Brazil as the soundtrack reaches a fever pitch! >More
 Unbind your mind

In The Mentalist (Tuesday, 8 p.m., CBS), Simon Baker stars as Patrick, a psychic who helps the police solve crimes. Patrick isn't a real psychic, but a showbiz type who's good at faking it. The key to his act -- and his crime-solving ability -- is his keen sense of observation. >More
 To call or not to call?

The new season of Gossip Girl (Monday, 7 p.m., CW) heats up as the beautiful young Manhattanites make messes of their privileged lives. This week's episode hinges on an explosive plot point: Should Vanessa call Nate? Or, conversely, should she, like, not call him? Jenny, the blond would-be designer, comes up with a brilliant solution based in syllogistic logic: "You like him, he likes you, so just call him!" But Vanessa remains torn, uncharacteristically so. "I am so not the whiny should-I-call-him girl!" she whines. >More
 Hot for teacher

In Privileged (Tuesday, 8 p.m., CW), a literary type named Megan (JoAnna Garcia) gets a job tutoring two spoiled heiresses in Palm Beach. At first glance, Megan looks like a standard character in a standard 14-to-29-demo drama: the neurotic jabbermouth beauty. But there's more to her than that, and more to Privileged, too. The series offers Gossip Girl-style fun, with just enough substance to make it more than a guilty pleasure. >More
 Morning stars

Israel and Iran have just declared war on each other, the Russians have landed on Mars and removed all our flags, and a Middleton man refuses to eat omelets not made with free-range eggs! Those headlines after this look at the weather. >More
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