I remember it like it was yesterday. I was 14 years old, it was Sunday morning, and my mother—who, because it was Alabama, was legally required to be a Southern Baptist—repeated the phrase she'd used every weekend since I was in diapers: "Time to go to Sunday school!" Normally, I'd put on my tie and dress shorts, and climb into the car without argument—but not that day. That was the day I turned to her and said, "You know, mom... 14 years of church is enough for anybody. I'm never going again." AND I NEVER DID.
I still regard that as one of the best decisions I've ever made—and 97 percent of my choices in life have been terrible. But I was absolutely right: 14 years of Sunday school IS TOO LONG. (Especially when the primary message is "don't masturbate.") Happily, I made up for all that wasted time of non-masturbating by furiously masturbating (along with other crimes against God, which I won't bore you with at this particular juncture).
ANYWAY! As it turned out, I didn't stop going to Sunday school... I just started going to a different Sunday school—one that I still attend today, and is held at a rather unorthodox church I like to call "Our Lady of Perpetual Television Watching." Here's what I like about this TV-based church: It takes place every Sunday in my living room. (Convenient!) It has a large TV as the focal point, instead of a big wooden cross with a bloody person hanging off of it. (Christians are weird.) This TV-worshipping Sunday school also has a far more liberal view on masturbation. (If they can't see me doing it, they don't care). AND they have super entertaining things to watch every Sunday (especially right now), such as...
Downton Abbey (PBS, 9 pm, Sundays). Things are much less lighthearted this season with a grieving Mary, and a Downton party that went terribly, horrifically wrong for Anna. Tonight I'm hoping for more hilarious, withering disses from Countess Dowager... for example: "Lord Grantham, your mama's so fat, when she broke her arm, gravy ran out." (Why can't I write for this show??)
True Detective (HBO, 9 pm, Sundays). If you're not watching this electrifying new crime series starring Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey, you're missing a show that's gonna swamp the Emmys next year. Woody and Matthew are doing the best acting of their lives as two troubled cops in search of a serial killer. Miss 14 years of Sunday school... but DO NOT MISS THIS.
Sherlock (PBS, 10 pm, Sundays). In the second episode of the third season, Sherlock encounters the greatest challenge of his career: writing a speech for Watson's wedding. Oh, and there's also a killer stalking the reception, but whatever, pish-tosh, tuppence for the birds. (EEEEK! Only one episode left after this!!)
Girls (HBO, 10 pm, Sundays). Lena Dunham is the undisputed master of capturing narcissistic and oft-times nude 20-somethings. But make no mistake: Girls features more reality in a single episode than any book of the Bible—though she's kind of slacking off in the masturbation department. Seriously, where am I going to find a religion that focuses on the important stuff?!?
This Week on Television
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 22
Debut! The Amy Poehler-produced web series about two single gals whooping it up in NYC gets its own series!
10:30 A&E WAHLBURGERS
Debut! Sigh. Another reality show about semi-famous people (this time the Wahlbergs) doing uninteresting things.
THURSDAY, JANUARY 23
9:00 FOX RAKE
Debut! A new dramedy about a gambling addicted criminal defense attorney (Greg Kinnear) that's remotely funny.
Midnight TOON THE GREATEST EVENT IN TELEVISION HISTORY
Adam Scott returns with another hilarious spot-on recreation of openers from classic TV shows!
FRIDAY, JANUARY 24
9:00 STARZ BLACK SAILS
Debut! A new pirate-themed series about Captain Flint and his mateys who say "Yo-ho-ho" a lot.
10:00 SYFY HELIX
Walker is trapped on "Level R"—with "R" standing for "Ruh-Roh!"
SATURDAY, JANUARY 25
11:30 NBC SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE
Host: Jonah Hill! Musical guest: Bastille! Viewer: You!
SUNDAY, JANUARY 26
8:00 CBS THE GRAMMY AWARDS
Hosted by LL Cool J, with performances by every single artist you can think of (who aren't dead).
10:00 PBS SHERLOCK
Sherlock attends John's wedding—drink every time you notice a gay subtext!
MONDAY, JANUARY 27
10:00 FX ARCHER
Check out this reboot of Archer that's now a hee-larious Miami Vice parody.
TUESDAY, JANUARY 28
6:00 ALL NETS STATE OF THE UNION
President Obama stars in this reality show about running a country. Tonight: Problems with the NSA and Obamacare!
10:00 FX JUSTIFIED
Boyd's life is threatened by a relative—which makes this the LAST family reunion he'll ever attend!