In Lying to Be Perfect (Saturday, 8 p.m., Lifetime), Nola (Poppy Montgomery) is an overweight magazine editor who has a deep, meaningful relationship with doughnuts. She's a frumpy doormat in the office but has devised a secret alter ego: a sexy advice columnist whom no one has ever seen. Complications arise when a mean editor demands that the mysterious columnist make a personal appearance, so Nola must cut out junk food to find her beautiful inner self.
Yes, we're in fantasyland - an alternate universe where diets immediately work miracles, and where Poppy Montgomery is initially presented as an ugly duckling. (This is a woman who played Marilyn Monroe in a TV biopic, for God's sake.) But if you're willing to suspend disbelief, Lying to Be Perfect is an enjoyable tale of female empowerment. It made me want to abandon doughnuts myself - though if I don't get Montgomery-level results in 30 minutes, I'm heading right back the bakery.
La La Land
Monday, 10 pm (Showtime)
British comedian Marc Wootton comes to the United States to show us how dumb we are. He pretends to be an idiotic actor, an idiotic documentary filmmaker and an idiotic TV psychic, interacting with real people in the L.A. film industry. "Fame and fortune are fleeting," the narrator says over the opening credits. "It's stupidity that's eternal."
Unfortunately for Wootton, no one looks too stupid when confronted with his idiotic behavior. They're polite at first, then become exasperated, then walk away, as anyone would. So what's the point? Sacha Baron Cohen has satirical ambitions when he fools real people as Ali G, Borat or Bruno. At his best, he exposes our racism, homophobia or nastiness while also making us laugh. Wootton makes viewers want to do the same thing his blameless victims do: walk away.
Tuesday, 7 pm (ABC)
Americans let it be known that they did not want President Obama's State of the Union address to preempt the season premiere of Lost. So the White House was forced to schedule around it, then officially announce that the episode would run as planned.
To me, this suggests that Lost is more powerful than the President of the United States. Any chance the series could help push through meaningful health-care reform?
Tuesday, 9 pm (PBS)
"Digital Nation" takes a hard look at our new obsession with technology. Researchers have discovered that multi-taskers - those of us who converse while texting while checking email while chatting on Facebook while Twittering - are losing their ability to think analytically. Professors at MIT lament that their relentlessly wired students are flunking exams that previous generations passed. An expert asks: "Are we changing what it means to be human by using all this stuff?"
I'll answer that question right after I take this iPhone call.
High School Reunion
Wednesday, 9 pm (TV Land)
"It's a High School Reunion like you've never seen before!" exclaims the narrator. Luckily, that's not true. The reality series' new season delivers all the expected pleasures as classmates meet for a 20-year reunion at a Hawaiian resort. The Nerd has blossomed and now has a chance with the Hottie. The Ladies' Man has gone to seed and desperately wants to hook up with somebody. The Troublemaker is still a jerk, and the Popular Girl still a snob.
The series is as fun as ever, despite the obviously rigged scenario. In real life, of course, the Nerd would never have a chance with the Hottie. Trust me.
The Deep End
Thursday, 7 pm (ABC)
Four good-looking first-year law associates work too hard and have too much sex with each other. The Partner with No Principles threatens to fire them whenever they show more interest in doing the right thing than in making money for the firm. But they often do the right thing anyway, just before having more sex with each other.
The Deep End is a generic TV lawyer series. It might have been more fun if the filmmakers fully committed to the absurd elements, such as the gorgeous client who sleeps with an associate because she thinks he's Jewish. But no - the series insists on its heart-tugging subplots and would-be inspirational speeches. "It's what we do in the worst of times that tells the world who we really are," says the Partner with Principles.
I turned off The Deep End with 10 minutes left to go. That, apparently, is who I really am.