Back to school

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“Big Brother 11”
Tuesday 9pm, Thursday & Sunday 8pm, CBS

The twist for “BB11” is that the 12 original housemates were divided into four groups based on traditional high school cliques: The Brains, The Athletes, The Populars, The Offbeats. Some of the sorting is specious—I don’t think Braden is popular with anyone, and for a “brain” Ronnie is astoundingly stupid—but I guess it works as a theme. Alas, the producers also introduced another twist, bringing in a player from a previous season, specifically muscle-bound pinhead Jessie from “BB10,” who somehow is even less likable now than he was last year. Still, there’s enough potential here to warrant checking in a couple times a week—I can’t wait until the house inevitably turns on grotesque bikini model Laura; I hope Russell’s apparent shirt allergy doesn’t clear up anytime soon—so I’m in again.

“Samantha Who?”
Thursday 8pm & 8:30pm, ABC

Tonight’s two episodes will be the last for this charming sophomore sitcom, cancelled after falling victim to schedule shuffling and studio budget cuts. While star Christina Applegate (adore her) is petitioning for another network to pick it up, at this point things look bleak. For those out of the loop, the series tells the story of Samantha Newly, a woman who comes out of a coma with retrograde amnesia and discovers that prior to her accident she was kind of a hateful bitch. So she sets out to make herself a better person and right her various wrongs. If it sounds similar to “My Name Is Earl,” that’s because it is. And ironically, that show got the unexpected axe this past season, too. I guess no good deed really does go unpunished…

“Being Human”
Saturday 9pm, BBC America

Vampires: so hot right now. So throw in a ghost and a werewolf and this show should be blazing. This British import is a drama/comedy with a heavy supernatural bent. Mitchell is a reluctant vampire who lives with his friend George, a werewolf in denial, and Annie, the ghost of a young woman who died in the house they now share. George and Mitchell also work at a local hospital, where they are reminded of their special natures and of the importance of humanity. Don’t worry, there are also all kinds of soapy elements for you “True Blood” and Twilight fans.

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Back to school

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Back to school

Dear Ace: Every time I drive past the Covenant School building on the 250 Bypass, I notice that it says “McIntire School” on the front. Are they just confused? Or is this some kind of trick question designed to confuse the students? —Wanda Ring Aigh

Dear Wanda: If there’s one thing Ace is proud of, it’s the fact that he paid rapt attention in history class during his own years as a schoolkid. You know: The Thousand Years’ War, Christopher Columbia, Henry VIII and his nine lives… Ace just loves all that stuff. So he’s always happy for a chance to ring up the Albemarle Charlottesville Historical Society and get the dirt on some old building. Uh—about some old building, that is. (Ace does not condone, and has never participated in, the intentional sullying of buildings, old or otherwise.)
    So anyway, why does the Covenant School say “McIntire?” For the exact reason you’d think: Because that’s what it used to be, says the society’s librarian Margaret O’Bryant. The school was built in the late 1920s to serve high school students from areas of the county lying to the south and east of the city. This it did for around a quarter century, until the County decided, in 1953, to consolidate McIntire with several other high schools, forming Albemarle High School. (Historical side note: Even back then, in its earliest days, McIntire School faced McIntire Park, which also came into being in the late ‘20s. Ace has been over this before, Wanda, but both school and park—and dozens of other things around town—are named after one Paul Goodloe McIntire, a wealthy stockbroker and philanthropist who grew up here in the 1860s.)
    In addition to being a star history pupil, Ace also knows how to use the Internet, which he did with great alacrity in order to locate the information that the Covenant School (a Christian prep school) began using the McIntire building when it was founded in 1985. Covenant bought the building three years later, and by 1995 had grown enough to warrant opening a second campus for its younger students (K through six) on Old Lynchburg Road. These days, it’s the young’uns who use the McIntire facility, while Covenant’s Upper School resides on Hickory Street.
    Lest you fret that the McIntire School was sitting unused and unloved during the 32-year hiatus before Covenant moved in, Wanda, Ace is here to reassure you that it did occasionally experience the pitter-patter of little feet. The County used it as a stopgap while renovating other schools, and the YMCA was there for a time, as well.
    How about that, Wanda? Ace certainly feels like the embodiment of a quality education after delivering so much good lerning. No, wait…

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