Whether you’re a first-year prancing off to ID 1 or a senior crumbling under the weight of the future, chances are you’re missing your favorite television show right now. While Pomona College is busy molding us into fine young citizens of the world, Liz Lemon’s getting lettuce stuck in her hair, Bill and Sookie are chasing werewolves in steamy Louisiana andTyra Banks is cultivating her fifteenth crop of models!
Forget all this talk about “intellectual growth” and “campus community.” The really juicy stuff is happening inside your nearest public TV (or on your computer if you’re downloading episodes in an entirely legal manner). I’ve spent three years carefully balancing my obligations (college) and my obsessions (like a million shows at once), and you can, too. Get some buddies together and commandeer Walker lounge or hunker down in front of your laptop with headphones and a snack. However you do it, here’s a fall lineup that promises to bring delicious distraction and trivial conversation:
Glee, Tuesdays at 8 p.m., FOX
The breakout song-and-dance sensation’s second season promises ever-crazier attractions this time around. On the docket are over-produced theme episodes (Britney Spears and the Rocky Horror Picture Show), more complex storylines revolving around the misfits of McKinley High and a cameo by John Stamos. Those of us pulling for sassy, slightly-closeted soprano Kurt Hummel’s first real romance will also score big – he’s set to smooch new student and resident hunky football player Sam in an upcoming episode.
How I Met Your Mother, Mondays at 8 p.m., CBS
What’s weird about HIMYM is that people still like it, despite the fact that its narrator, Ted, is possibly the most boring and irritating character to occupy a central role in anything, ever. Good thing Neil Patrick Harris is back as Barney Stinson, resident expert of badassery and awesomeness. Season six will feature new plot twists among the motley crew of five thirty-somethings; with any luck the audience will also take a firm step closer toward discovering the eponymous mother (and here’s hoping she’ll be way cooler than Ted).
30 Rock, Thursdays at 8:30 p.m., NBC
I have nothing but high hopes for 30 Rock. Everything from the writing to the sharp comedic performances to the unexpected catchphrases (“By the hammer of Thor!”) is carefully constructed for your giggly pleasure. I’m especially looking forward to Kenneth the NBC Paige’s triumphant return and can’t wait to see the variety of ironic hats worn by slovenly writer Frank. The only problem with this show is that episodes only last 25 minutes. Blerg!
Dexter, Sundays at 9 p.m., Showtime
Your beloved neighborhood serial killer with the dangerous eyes and the knack for forensics has returned for his fifth season, but without the confidence or the control he had before. Reeling from the murder of his fiancé, Rita, and the ever-looming possibility of being found out by his coworkers and devoted sister, Dexter is a shell of his former self. Tune in to watch Michael C. Hall’s brilliantly nuanced performance and to clench your hands as the twisted stories begin to unravel.
Weeds, Mondays at 10 p.m., Showtime
You know, I’m from the suburbs, and my mom never cooked hash in our washing machine or kept marijuana plants stashed in our underground hideaway. Some people have all the luck. The selfish, charming Nancy Botwin is ready to sell the goods again, despite having to run from her vengeful husband and abandon her old identity. Her exasperated kids and kooky, sarcastic Uncle Andy are in on the adventure as well, but it’s only a matter of time before Nancy’s past catches up to them. Hijinks are afoot in season six!
The Office, Thursdays at 9 p.m., NBC
By now, some of you may have heard that office manager Michael Scott will soon be written out of the show per Steve Carell’s wishes. All the more reason to enjoy his social shortcomings and awkward screen presence this season. If you’ve followed the oddly compelling and hilarious lives of the Dunder Mifflin employees since the first season, try to stick with this classic show a bit longer. I know Jim and Pam are a little stale and Andy’s way funnier when he plays banjo, but the show is set to rejuvenate with new cast members and more excellent appearances from guest star Kathy Bates. Don’t you at least want to find out if they ever got a new copy machine?
These are only a few of the great programs returning this fall. Among others to watch for: America’s Next Top Model (Wednesdays at 8 p.m., the CW), House M.D. (Mondays at 8 p.m., FOX), Modern Family (Wednesdays at 9 p.m., ABC), Gossip Girl (Mondays at 9 p.m., the CW), and Community (Thursdays at 8 p.m., NBC).
Enjoy! Remember: work hard, watch hard.