Funny or Die’s popular web series Drunk History makes the leap to TV with its Comedy Central debut this week (Series Premiere, 10 p.m. Tuesday).
For those who haven’t countlessly re-watched Michael Cera portray Alexander Hamilton in the series’ classic first installment, Drunk History records a storyteller/narrator (after certainly, though unofficially, brushing up on a particular historical account) who drinks copious amounts of booze before/while recounting a bit of American history in front of a camera. The drunkard’s tale is re-enacted by big-name actors and comedians.
The history briefs, like Benjamin Franklin’s discovery of electricity in lightning, often start off roughly accurate with minimal detail errors, but as the alcohol flows and the lesson continues, certain areas get foggier, facts get thrown out altogether and the actors interpret the new retellings perfectly. And, yes, sometimes the storyteller must take a barf break.
Comedy Central’s series is almost identical to the web version (though at least one of the “drunks” was definitely an actor — it’s more fun to think of them as average people without TV experience) — each episode is based on an American city and will consist of a few intoxicated history lessons from different sloshed storytellers. This week takes us to Washington, D.C.: Woodward and Bernstein uncover the Watergate scandal; inside the feud between John Wilkes Booth and his brother Edwin; and Elvis Presley meets President Nixon. Historical re-enactors include Jack Black, Bob Odenkirk, Nathan Fielder and Fred Willard.
THURSDAY JULY 4
Happy Independence Day! Regular programming is replaced by patriotic goodness, including:
Here Comes Honey Boo Boo (1:30 p.m.-3 a.m., TLC) – America’s other first family.
The Walking Dead Season Four Preview Weekend (Seasons One-Three Thursday-Sunday, AMC) – Catch up on every episode, including black-and-white Season One episodes Thursday, plus behind-the-scenes footage of the upcoming season and cast/crew interviews.
Cops (2-9 p.m., Spike) – God bless the U.S.A.
Macy’s 4th of July Spectacular (8 p.m., NBC) – Fireworks, plus performances by Selena Gomez, Mariah Carey, Taylor Swift and Tim McGraw. Because why go outside?
FRIDAY JULY 5
Life’s Too Short (Series Finale, 10 p.m. HBO) – Warwick Davis’ mockumentary forgoes an entire final season, opting instead for one last hour-long episode. In Short, Davis, Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant all play fictionalized versions of themselves with the hopelessly delusional, self-aggrandizing Davis at the forefront, shamelessly trying to re-jolt his acting career. In the finale, Davis and Val Kilmer try to raise money to fund a sequel to Willow.
SUNDAY JULY 7
Dexter (9 p.m., Showtime) -– All right, I think we’re set up for a thrilling final season! But if someone doesn’t step in to protect little Harrison from F-bombs, Dex’s boiling temper and, I don’t know, murder scenes, we’re gonna have problems. Dr. Vogel is a badass addition — this week, she explains more of her background with Harry and how she believes the Brain Surgeon killer may be one of her patients.
True Blood (9 p.m., HBO) – Sookie invites Ben over for dinner because he does not seem shady at all; Bill has Takahashi attempt to synthesize a new kind of blood — perhaps the blood of four rapidly-developing faeries? Eric takes an even stronger stand against Gov. Burrell.
Bar Rescue (9 p.m., Spike) -– The takeover of a Las Vegas Blues bar gets off to a rocky start when the owner hits on Jon Taffer’s undercover wife, Nicole.
Ray Donovan (10 p.m., Showtime) – Ray plots to send his father back to prison while dealing with his “fixing” duties; an action star in rehab for sex addiction gets blackmailed with a sex tape; an A-list actor receives a threatening message at his home.
MONDAY JULY 8
Gasland Part II (9 p.m., HBO) – Josh Fox’s follow-up to his 2010 hydraulic fracturing documentary looks into the long-term ecological effects of fracking as well as the people whose lives have been damaged by the controversial process.
Below Deck (10 p.m., Bravo) – Kind of loving this reality series about the “everyday folks” (by Bravo’s standards) who work aboard a luxurious yacht, tending to its fabulous, over-the-top charter guests. It’s a hot mess on the high seas!
CONTACT JAC KERN: email@example.com or @jackern