The big bang


“Macy’s Fourth of July Fireworks Spectacular”
Saturday 9pm, NBC

In case you’re too lazy to go to the backyard to watch one of the several area Independence Day fireworks displays, NBC is bringing the high-altitude explosions right into your living room. Musical guests Jewel, Rob Thomas and the cast of Broadway’s revival of West Side Story will perform before and during NYC’s massive fireworks fiesta, which features more than 40,000 shells fired at a rate of 1,500 shells per minute. Insane. If we’re lucky, maybe they’ll have one those special ones that takes the form of a cowboy hat…

“Charm School with Ricki Lake”
Monday 9pm, VH1

Although it started out strong, this may go down as the season that destroyed a promising reality TV franchise. After two seasons focusing on girls from the “Flavor of Love” and “Rock of Love” shows, “Charm School” set its sights on reforming the skanks of “Rock of Love Bus” and the obnoxious women from “Real Chance of Love.” The two casts clashed immediately, leading to a near-total walkout by the “Bus” women and the eventual quitting of two of the feistier cast members, Farrah and So Hood, by episode three. Since then it has been a snoozefest, with irritating Bay Bay Bay ruling the roost, Brazilian fireball Marcia giving up drinking (no!), and soundbyte machine Ashley seemingly coasting to the finals. And I have this sick feeling that punch-happy airhead Brittanya is going to take it all. You’re killing me here, Ricki.

Monday 10pm, Showtime

It’s becoming harder and harder for me to root for my beloved Nancy Botwin. The currently running Season 5 sees our fair anti-heroine (played to perfection, as always, by Mary-Louise Parker) essentially being punished for her life of crime. The show has always been about how Nancy barely manages to hold it together. But this season—pregnant with the baby of her Mexican crime boss boyfriend, whom she totally screwed over after she realized she was an unwitting accessory to trafficking child prostitutes—has been neither funny nor entertaining, just varying degrees of horrifying. Even the usually reliable Elizabeth Perkins has been stuck in a thankless Mexican revolutionary subplot. The only bright spot has been Jennifer Jason Leigh, the obvious but perfect choice to play Nancy’s sister. Can we get back to the funny, please? Also, I miss Conrad and Heylia.