Race to the bottom
“Abby & Brittany”
Tuesday 10pm, TLC
There is a growing sentiment that TLC—which originally stood for The Learning Channel—has now become the modern-day equivalent to the circus freak show. An endless parade of extreme human behaviors are put on the airwaves—families with 19 children, teenage gypsy brides, extreme couponers and hoarders. While some of their stories are treated with respect, the redneck minstrel show that is “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo” suggests a much more insidious tone. Here’s hoping that this new show is more sensitive to its subjects, 22-year-old conjoined twins Abigail and Brittany Hensel. The Hensels share a single body fused at the torso, with Abby controlling the right side and Brittany the left. They have completely different personalities, which viewers will get to know in this series as the girls graduate from college, travel through Europe, and embark on a job search.
Thursday 11pm, Showtime
If the big screen’s recent Magic Mike had you fuming, “Too much talking, not enough ass shaking,” allow me to present “Gigolos.” It is exactly what you think: a reality show that follows five male prostitutes working in Las Vegas. Questions about its legitimacy have plagued the show—allegations are that the female clients are actresses, and that none of the footage features actual prostitution (although it does feature sex, meaning people were paid to copulate on camera—that seems like a very fine distinction to me). Season 3 begins this week, and there’s a new gigolo in town, plus a familiar face goes gay for pay.
“Girlfriend Confidential: LA”
Monday 11pm, Oxygen
While that whole “international high-fashion supermodel” thing hasn’t worked out for any of the 18 winners of “America’s Next Top Model,” reality TV has been a friend to several of its alumni. Season 1 winner Adrianne Curry went on to star in multiple VH1 reality shows, Season 2 winner Yoanna House has done some TV hosting, and Season 3 winner Eva Marcille (formerly Pigford) is doing a bit of both, as the former host of Oxygen’s “Hair Battle Spectacular” and now the star of this reality soap. “Girlfriend Confidential” is basically just another iteration of the “___ Wives” or “Real Housewives” formula, with a pack of gal pals living the big life (or “big life”) and squabbling amongst themselves. In addition to Eva the show features her friends, a Buddhist interior decorator, a music talent manager, and an actress. But which one is the Samantha?