I was tricked into watching Small Town Security (10 p.m. Thursdays, AMC) during its premiere last summer. The reality workplace comedy following a Georgia private security company immediately followed each episode of the first half of Breaking Bad’s final season (the second half returns this August). Since it is physically impossible to go straight to bed after the intense, meth-errific drama, I stuck around for STS, hoping for some therapeutic comedic relief. What I found, though, was actually much more.
Small Town Security transcends the popular real-life redneck trope, highlighting oddball-yet-authentic characters. Joan Koplan is the foul-mouthed, smut-loving, fame-seeking chief with her loveable hoarding husband, Captain Irwin, in tow. Lt. Dennis Croft, a former Air Force Reservist born Denise Croft, is tackling both the transition into being a man and his open love for Joan. Secretary Christa and private investigator Brian round out the small crew.
I indulge in my fill of guilty pleasure reality series that plant plenty of faux drama and totally scripted situations. STS doesn’t need to employ those techniques. The show could be boring or exploitative (and some critics believe both to be true), but this small, ragtag group of Georgians strikes me as the real deal. They don’t take themselves or the show too seriously, yet they manage to touch on some real human issues.
In this week’s premiere, the office reacts to viewer feedback about the show and celebrates Croft’s birthday. Hopefully STS can stand on its own on Thursday nights, without the lure of an Emmy-winning lead-in.
WEDNESDAY MAY 8
Modern Family (9 p.m., ABC) – Mitch’s successful ex-boyfriend, Teddy, invites the whole family to a benefit at a roller rink, where Phil teaches Gloria how to skate and Cam tries to keep his cool around the ex.
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (9 p.m., NBC) – SVU is targeted by a sniper who successfully shoots Rollins.
Fin’s past in Narcotics appears to be the motive, prompting him to call in a former partner and Lt. Eames (Law & Order: Criminal Intent’s Kathryn Erbe). Gotta love an Ice-T episode!
THURSDAY MAY 9
Community (Season Finale, 8 p.m., NBC) – Jeff realizes he has enough credits to graduate; Chevy Chase makes his last onscreen appearance. No word yet on whether there will be a fifth season.
The Office (9 p.m., NBC) – In this penultimate one-hour episode, Jim convinces Dwight that he needs an Assistant to the Assistant Regional Manager; the Dunder Mifflin crew anticipates the premiere of their office documentary that’s been nine years in the making.
Hannibal (10 p.m., NBC) – Jack believes Chesapeake Ripper may have returned as the unit searches for a killer harvesting people’s organs while they’re still alive. Dr. Lecter begins seeing his own therapist (Gillian Anderson).
FRIDAY MAY 10
Maron (10 p.m., IFC) – When Marc makes a kid remove a rotting possum from under his house because he doesn’t want to touch a dead animal, Denis Leary questions his manliness.
SATURDAY MAY 11
Saturday Night Live (11:30 p.m., NBC) – Because this season seriously suffered without her, Kristen Wiig returns to host! Vampire Weekend performs.
SUNDAY MAY 12
Survivor Caramoan: Fans v. Favorites (Season Finale, 8 p.m., CBS) – A winner is chosen by the jury and the entire cast reunites at 10 p.m. Tune in to see what Cincinnati natives Matt Bischoff and Reynold Toepfer have to say about the experience.
Game of Thrones (9 p.m., HBO) – Trouble in the Tyrion-Shae-Sansa triad; Dany makes a trade in Yunkai; Brienne and Jaime part ways. Can we please just kill Theon and get it over with?
Mad Men (10 p.m., AMC) – Peggy comes up with a name for the new agency — SCDPCGC is just too damn long.
Family Tree (Series Premiere, 10:30 p.m., HBO) – After losing his job, girlfriend and a great aunt he never knew, Tom Chadwick (the perfect Chris O’Dowd) embarks on a journey to learn about his ancestry.
MONDAY MAY 13
How I Met Your Mother (Season Finale, 8 p.m., CBS) – It’s almost time for Robyn and Barney’s wedding — a scene that’s been teased since Season Six, where we know Ted will finally meet his future wife and kids’ mother.
CONTACT JAC KERN: firstname.lastname@example.org or @jackern