When one of the guys behind Mr. Show and Between Two Ferns creates a podcast-turned-television series, you can’t expect a modern day Johnny Carson. And while it will never reach a totally mainstream audience, creator/host Scott Auckerman’s Comedy Bang! Bang! (10 p.m. Fridays, IFC) adapts perfectly to the small screen. Comedy Bang! Bang! playfully spoofs the conventional talk show format, featuring interviews (with both in- and out-of-character actors), shorts and skits. Expect plenty of quick, oddball humor, hilarious improv, a few “WTF” moments and overall “random comedy” (a term ripe for mockery; and mock, they do).
The series, in its first season, has featured everyone from Zach Galifianakis to Jon Hamm and “Weird Al” Yankovic, who go beyond plugging their latest venture to truly entertain, feeding off the laughs provided by Auckerman and sidekick/one-man house band Reggie Watts, and serving up their own.
More off-beat than Fallon or Conan, but not as quirky as The Eric Andre Show, it’s like Tim and Eric on Ritalin: still definitely weird, but reigned in a bit. Enough TV allusions for ya? We might need to call in the “reference referee,” a CB!B! character who points out any cultural references made in conversation.
This week, Elizabeth Banks joins Scott and Reggie. She’ll be playing “What Do These Initials Stand For?” and revealing the special word of the day. You just need to watch it.
WEDNESDAY JULY 25
The CLIOS: World’s Best Commercials (8 p.m., NBC) – JB Smoove brings the ruckus as he hosts this tribute to the best advertisements of the year, from across the U.S. and the world.
Top Chef Masters (Season Premiere, 10 p.m., Bravo) – A new crop of culinary pros compete in Season Four, beginning with a buffet showdown in Las Vegas.
Jimmy Fallon’s Primetime Music Special (10 p.m., NBC) – If sleep comes between you and your favorite late night show, tune in to this collection of musical skits performed on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon, featuring collaborations with Bruce Springsteen (“Sexy and I Know It,” “Whip My Hair”), Justin Timberlake (“The History of Rap”) and more.
THURSDAY JULY 26
Project Runway (9 p.m., Lifetime) – The designers take on the unconventional challenge, creating couture looks using treats from famous NYC sweet spot, Dylan’s Candy Bar.
Wilfred (10 p.m., FX) – Ryan invites Amanda over to meet Jenna, but Wilfred has other plans.
The Real L Word (10 p.m., Showtime) – Whitney and Sara announce their engagement; Romi realizes she cares more for her “straight boyfriend” than he does for her.
Louie (10:30 p.m., FX) – In the second half of “Daddy’s Girlfriend,” Louie goes on a date.
FRIDAY JULY 27
2012 Summer Olympics Opening Ceremony (7:30 p.m., NBC) – Olympic festivities in London, including the parade of nations, lighting the Olympic cauldron, a performance by Paul McCartney, 10,000 athletes and 60,000 spectators in London’s Olympic Stadium.
SUNDAY JULY 29
True Blood (9 p.m., HBO) – Sookie and Jason return to the spot where their parents were killed; once Bill and Eric come down off the Lilith V high, they differ on how to move forward with the Sanguinistas; Terry, Patrick and Arlene enlist Lafayette to help with the Ifrite.
The Newsroom (10 p.m., HBO) – Will faces insomnia and a death threat
Breaking Bad (10 p.m., AMC) – Jesse, Walt and Mike make a plan with Saul; Marie questions Walt.
Weeds (10 p.m., Showtime) – Nancy tries to cash out her half of the business to pay for Stevie’s soccer expenses. And it turns out the dude with the pool is the rabbi from the hospital.
Small Town Security (11 p.m., AMC) – The crew is encouraged by a consultant to act and speak more professionally; Captain tries to control his hoarding.
MONDAY JULY 30
About Face: Supermodels Then and Now (Premiere, 9 p.m., HBO) – A look at the “business of beauty,” this original HBO doc catches up with OG supermodels and fashion pioneers and discusses the relationship between beauty and age.
TUESDAY JULY 31
Workaholics (Season Finale, 10:30 p.m., Comedy Central) – As we say goodbye to Season Three, we finally get to see how Ders, Adam and Blake first met.
CONTACT JAC KERN: email@example.com