Movember may be over, but the gentlemen of Whisker Wars (10 p.m. Fridays, IFC) won’t be shaving their bodacious beards and sensational ’staches any time soon. The beardos are back and, for a second season, this oddly entertaining docu-series gives viewers a glimpse at the world of competitive facial hair. One might picture these frivolous competitions as laidback bro-fests where unshaven guys can chill out for a weekend and enjoy some friendly competition. In reality, these guys are cutthroat competitors with bitter rivalries who belong to established facial hair clubs and travel across the world to compete several times each year. They train. They get sponsorship deals. They have signature runway moves. Rhinestoned toddlers got nothin’ on these divas.
Judging facial hair is not based just on length of the beard but also the fullness, texture and natural color. Various styles of sideburns, partial beards and mustaches are judged as well, including the Fu Manchu, musketeer and Dali mustaches, along with freestyle — where you see the intricate curls and fun sculptural elements.
At the center of this hypnotic show is smack-talking, egotistical former World Champion: Natural Full Beard, Jack Passion. Passion’s engrossing ginger beard is a showstopper: long yet manageable, coarse but groomed; the 27-year-old’s man-pelt won him numerous awards over the years, including two first-place medals at the World Beard and Mustache Championships.
When Passion lost his crown at the 2011 world competition, he considered leaving the pro beard circuit forever, much to the delight of his rivals: Austin Facial Hair Club, Arnie Bielefeld, Myk O’Connor and other series regulars. But Passion, author of The Facial Hair Handbook, is back for blood this season.
During a time when mustaches have become a ubiquitous symbol, emblazoned on everything from party invitations to cheap jewelry, these men show the serious side of facial hair.
Should such a thing even exist? I don’t know, but it’s an entertaining niche of culture I’ll happily observe.
WEDNESDAY DEC. 5
American Horror Story: Asylum (10 p.m., FX) – A homicidal Santa Claus takes over Briarcliff. Sister Mary Eunice faces the Devil.
The Grammy Nominations Concert Live (10 p.m., CBS) – Taylor Swift and LL Cool J will announce Grammy noms; The Who, Fun and others perform. The real question of the night will be whether Swift’s next album details the inevitable relationship and subsequent breakup that’s sure to erupt between her and LL.
THURSDAY DEC. 6
30 Rock (8 p.m., NBC) – Just as predicted, Jenna is livid that Liz has stolen her bridal thunder. Tracy tries to cheer up a forlorn Kenneth with the help of Mrs. Brady.
In Vogue: The Editor’s Eye (9 p.m., HBO) – A look at the 120-year history of fashion’s Bible, Vogue magazine.
The Office (9 p.m., NBC) – Dwight replaces the typical holiday office party with a traditional Schrute German Christmas.
Project Runway All Stars (9 p.m., Lifetime) – The runway goes green as the designers create eco-conscious gowns for the red carpet. Diane von Furstenberg joins the judging panel.
It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (10 p.m., FX) – The gang becomes obsessed with video games and loses touch with the real world.
The League (10:30 p.m., FX) – Kevin gets a colonoscopy, Jenny commits insider trading, Ruxin worries his wife has lost interest in him, Pete believes his grandpa (Robert Wagner) might be a cheater and Taco plays therapist for the crew.
SATURDAY DEC. 8
Saturday Night Live (11:30 p.m., NBC) – Jamie Foxx hosts; Ne-Yo performs.
SUNDAY DEC. 9
Dexter (9 p.m., Showtime) – An early Christmas present arrives for Dexter when the man responsible for the death of Laura Moser (Dex’s mom) is released from prison. La Guerta zeroes in on Dexter’s involvement with the Bay Harbor Butcher murders. Dex suspects Hannah may be involved when Deb gets in a car crash.
Homeland (10 p.m., Showtime) – Suspicious internal activity continues at the CIA: Carrie suspects one of their own aided Nazir when he can’t be found; Estes orders Saul to take a polygraph.
TUESDAY DEC. 11
Parenthood (10 p.m., NBC) – The Bravermans (Bravermen?) celebrate Christmas — Crosby and Jasmine’s first. Sarah must decide between Hank and Mark; Adam and Kristina experience yet another health scare.
CONTACT JAC KERN: email@example.com or @jackern