The Week in Gay TV: Carrie Fisher Does Some “Wishful Drinking” and Neil Patrick Harris hosts the Video Game Awards

to another edition of The Week in Gay TV
, your guide to the shows
battling for your attention in between hitting the “refresh” button on the
“Where’ s my package?” web page.

the viewing choices are definitely slowing down as the holiday season
continues, this week still has a few new options, including Carrie Fisher in Wishful Drinking and Neil Patrick Harris hosting the Video Game Awards, as well as a number of holiday episodes and season finales.

The USA Network has a new special from Tom Brokaw on Friday, Bridging the Divide. A half-century
after the Civil Rights Act of 1960, Brokaw takes a look at people
who have encountered and battled bias, with a focus at how they’re working to
mend the divisions in American society.

how Brokaw’s last book, Boom! Voices of the Sixties, was supposed to be
about the cultural change brought about by the 60s, but managed to overlook major
moments in gay rights history
such the Stonewall  Riots, I looked at
Brokaw’s special with a wary eye. However, his subjects include Charlene Strong,
a woman who fought for marriage equality after a Washington hospital tried to prevent her
from visiting her dying wife. So it looks like Brokaw isn’t ignoring the role of GLBT people this time at least.

The CW has a new Smallville as Clark
has to deal with the return of Slade Wilson. Clark recruits Hawkman
and Star Girl to help after Slade kidnaps Lois. My CW station was
having signal troubles during Slade’s first appearance, so I’m looking forward
to finally see Michael Hogan as Death Stroke — providing my cable box
doesn’t have some kind of Michael Hogan curse that renders all of his Smallville
episodes unwatchable.

You know why I love Supernatural? I get to write captions like “Dean stars Death in the face.”

, Dean makes a deal with Death on a new Supernatural.
Unfortunately, the deal doesn’t involve Dean playing chess in a suddenly
clothesless scene. Instead, Dean agrees to take over Death’s duties for the next
24 hours. Unfortunately, while Dean is making deals to get Sam’s soul
back, Sam is starting to think he likes living without a soul and is making his
own deals.

BBC America, a new Law & Order: UK looks into a case of organ
trafficking after a man is attacked and his kidney stolen. Meanwhile, if you
need some Friday night comedy, you might want to check out Comedy Central’s new
stand-up comedy show The Benson Interruption. The show features Doug
as host … and heckler.  Benson actually stays on stage as his guests perform and
tries to throw off their routines. This week the guest list includes Brian
from The Sarah Silverman Program, but honestly, the format is an
acquired taste. My partner finds The Benson Interruption too chaotic, but
there’s a camaraderie between Benson and his guests that makes it work for me.

conquered the Tony and the Emmy Awards
and Saturday Neil Patick Harris
will be hosting Spike TV’s Video Game Awards. It’s been a few
years since I checked out the VGAs — sadly, my initial impression was
that it seemed created for an easy stereotype of gamers and Spike TV viewers. I
hope when I tune in Saturday, I find out that’s changed over the past few years.

video games still aren’t very gay inclusive, there are a few gay nominees to cheer. Fable
is nominated for Best Xbox 360 Game and Best RPG, Fallout: New Vegas
is nominated for Best PC Game and Best RPG, while Neil Patrick Harris is
nominated for his performance in Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions. I
have a feeling Mass Effect 2 is going to take most of those awards (and,
despite the cowardly lack of gay characters, it deserves it) but I’ll happily
take a surprise winner.

SyFy Channel brings
some campy horror to Christmas with Ice Quake,
where the melting of the Alaskan permafrost creates deadly earthquakes. This
one has a guy in a Santa suit trying to outrun an earthquake, plus Roswell hunk Brendon Fehr as
well as Victor Garber. To get you in the mood, the SyFy Channel is
airing original movies featuring a variety of snow monsters all day.

isn’t the only cable network with a Saturday marathon as Logo revisits high
school with it’s “Bad Ass High” marathon featuring gay-fave high school series Daria,
Strangers with Candy and Buffy.

you’re in the mood for some nonfiction programming, BBC America has a new Graham
Norton Show
with Jack Black, Justin Beiber and John
. I can’t wait to see what a meeting between teen idol Beiber and
midnight movie director Waters looks like. 
Meanwhile, VH1 Classic has another gay Behind the Music Remastered
Saturday, this time revisiting the history of Green Day and its bisexual
front man Billie Joe.

brings Paul Rudd as host of Saturday Night Live. The last
time Rudd hosted SNL, we got an episode packed with gay jokes, for
better or for worse, so it should be interesting to see how this week’s episode
turns out. Finally, Danielle Fishel takes a look at the week in pop
culture in a new episode of The Dish. Hopefully, Fishel will
continue to re-edit reality shows to add homoerotic elements like she did last
week with Mario Lopez.

HBO debuts
a new documentary. Wishful Drinking, which mixes
scenes from Carrie Fisher’s one-woman show with archival footage as
Fisher discusses growing up the daughter of two major Hollywood
stars, as well as sharing stories about her experience making Star Wars.

kicks off its Sunday line-up with a new episode of Running Wilde,
which sees Drea DeMatteo appear as Steve’s stepmom. I wonder if
part of the joke will be that DeMatteo is two years younger than Will Arnett.
The rest of Running Wilde’s episodes should be airing on Sunday (unless
disastrous ratings gets Fox to reconsider) so if you’re one of the few people
still watching adjust your TV schedules.

also brings a new episode of The Simpsons with Homer
getting arrested on New Year’s Eve and agreeing to snitch on Fat Tony
for a reduced sentence. Jon Hamm is the voice of the FBI agent who
negotiates the plea with Homer.

and Brian are the focus of Sunday’s Christmas episode of Family
, as the duo ends up traveling to the North Pole to find revenge
after a mall Santa is rude to Stewie. I usually find Family Guy
to be stale and tired, but the Stewie or Brian episodes often manage to
remind me of the days when I found Family Guy to be funny. Finally,
Fox’s Sunday night lineup wraps up with a Christmas episode of American
. Steve gets a gun for Christmas, which only leads to Santa
getting shot and Francine having reason to say “I told you so.”

Plus, somehow, Roger becomes a moonshiner.

Also on Sunday, TV Land is looking to get viewers
ready for a new season of Hot in Cleveland with a special called Behind
the Hottness
. The hourlong-edition promises bloopers and interviews
collected from the first season, including footage from the many guest-stars.
That should get fans counting down until the second season (which promises even
more guest-stars) debuts on January 19.

brings a new disaster to Wisteria
Lane on  Desperate Housewives. Previously, winter has brought a
tornado and a plane crash to Wisteria
Lane. This year, there’s a riot coming as the
locals get upset over Paul’s plans to change the neighborhood by opening
a halfway house.

have to admit, I’m not seeing
Paul‘s halfway house as such a threat to the
neighborhood. Wisteria Lane has seen a variety of shady residents, including
three people running from an unsolved murder. Just last year, they had
eco-terrorists and a serial killer in their midst. Is a halfway house that
big a threat?

reminds me, you know what Bob and Lee could use? Some sort of
criminal past. Surely one of them has an ex, a sibling or a parent running from

it’s a Walker
family Christmas on Brothers & Sisters
as Richard
appears as a former flame of Uncle Saul. As much as I’ve
enjoyed the current season — even Kitty has failed to be completely
annoying — I might not be ready for a holiday episode. If you’ve been unlucky,
you’ve seen persistent commercials depicting those “child” versions of the Walkers
having a “perfect Christmas” that makes Kitty, Kevin and Sarah
look like they could have grown up on a Real Housewives show. It may
just be an ad, but I’ve seen it enough times that I cring at the mere mention of a Walker family Christmas.
Hopefully, a real Walker
family Christmas will let me forget that ad.

will be airing a special preview of Shameless on Sunday, previewing the first twenty minutes of the pilot episode. I’m excited about seeing how the
American Shameless turns out, but I don’t think twenty minutes is enough
time to demonstrate why the concept of Shameless is one worth exploring
in two different countries. I think I’ll wait until Showtime is ready to debut
the whole drama next month.

Bravo is kicking off a week of Andy Cohen’s late night talk show Watch
What Happens Live
on Sunday. If you needed to hear people talk about Bravo shows even more, here’s your opportunity.

Is it too much to hope Barney is channeling his inner Oprah?

How I Met Your Mother
gang celebrates the holidays on Monday with
the news that Lily might finally be pregnant, the return of Ben
, a new job for Robin and a generous gift-giving Barney
channeling his best Oprah. That’s not the only CBS comedy with reason
for gay viewers to tune-in on Monday, as Jane Lynch makes a return
appearance to Two and a Half Men.

we’ll see more hoyay on Monday’s Hawaii
which features a hunky double-feature with appearances by Eddie
and Jesse Metcalfe. The team is on the trail of a fugitive
who has taken to using explosives. Apparently, he gets his hands on Chin,
as the previews show him wearing a bomb. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like he
finally gets to losing his shirt this week.

has a new episode of The Closer
on Monday with Major Crimes
investigating robberies at Medical Marijuana centers, a minor-sounding case
that ends up turning into a murder investigation. I’m sure we’ll see more talk
about whether Brenda will get the Chief job amidst the investigation.

case you haven’t sampled the CW’s incredibly addictive supernatural drama The
Vampire Diaries
yet, you’ve got another chance to play catchup this
week. Every night, you can watch two hours from the second season, which will
pretty much bring you up to speed.

BBC America
gives its holiday specials their debut on Monday with Christmas
episodes of Absolutely Fabulous,  Keeping Up Appearances, Black
and The Catherine Tate Show. You’ll be able to find
those Christmas episodes (and more) in repeats throughout the month but Monday
is your first chance.

Monday’s reality TV picks include a stop in Brentwood, California
for Tabitha’s Salon Takeover as well as a new episode of Cake
Boss: The Next Great Baker
. The competitors face their first team
challenge. From the looks of things, there’s plenty of drama as the previews
include a threat of using a serrated knife on a competitor and host Buddy
screaming about one competitor having disgraced themselves.

didn’t expect to get drawn
into The Next Great Baker soI wasn’t going to
record the show until I heard there were two gay competitors. Then, I realized
half of team gay was familiar — we’ve seen Greg “Greggy” Soriano, “the Lady
of cakes” before when he was Beauty and the Geek’s only gay

Greggy: From geek to baker

had quite a ride last week. In the first challenge, he ended up in tears over
his broken cake and was in the bottom two. However, in the elimination
challenge, his sweet sixteen celebration cake was deemed the best. I don’t know if Greggy has what it takes to make it far in The Next
Great Baker
, but he was very likable on Beauty and the Geek and I
hope we’ll see a lot of him here.

has two new episodes of Girls Who Like Boys Who Like Boys
and it sounds like Sahil is going to deliver plenty of drama as he tries
out speed dating and Rosebud continues to try to get him to come out to
his parents. Sahil isn’t the only one trying to date as Joel convinces Sarah
to see a matchmaker.

TV brings back a couple of shows that took last week off. A new episode of The
Good Wife
sees Peter prepare for his first debate, which should
give us a chance to see Alan Cumming give plenty of great reactions as
campaign manager Eli. Meanwhile, Alicia has to work on behalf of
a death row inmate. I’m curious to see if The Good Wife makes use of its
setting to comment on Illinois’
troubled history with the death penalty. Considering how well The Good Wife
has tackled politics in the past, I’ve got high expectations.

Fashion Show
also returns
on Tuesday as the fashion houses have to work for the
Real Housewives of New Jersey and  Orange County.
From the looks of things, one of the housewives brings their own designs to the
challenge. I wonder how that kind of NBC corporate synergy will affect The
Fashion Show
’s usual dynamic where the winning outfit is the one that would flatter Iman best.

hate double-elimination episodes of reality competition shows. Too often,
instead of adding tension to the challenge, most double-elimination episodes
end only with a promising competitor getting eliminated too soon. Thus, I’m not
looking forward to watching Wednesday’s Top Chef: All-Stars which
promises a “shocking” double elimination.

eliminations aside, it’s great to finally see a talent competition show truly deliver
an All-Star season. It’s amazing to see chefs whose skills I admired in their
seasons compete against each other and it’s interesting to see how being on TV
has changed them. I remember hating Tiffani’s petulance in Top Chef’s
first season, so I was thrilled to see her admit last week that she wasn’t
proud of her behavior since that means I can now cheer for all of this season’s
Team Rainbow. I hope we don’t have to say goodbye to any of the gay
competitors too soon.

also brings
a new episode of  American Ninja Warrior as the top
thirty gets cut down to fifteen hopefuls. So far, this season has offered
plenty of beefcake just like American Ninja Warrior’s first season. It’s just 
too bad G4 added two announcers who make use of every tired sports announcer
cliché and joke.

Wednesday also sees  Graham Norton,
John Barrowman and team seek out the next West End
stage star with a new I’d Do Anything.

TV is mostly repeats
, however CBS has a new episode of The Big Bang
which sees the guys get into costume as the Justice League.
Unfortunately for Penny, they need one more guy to complete the team and
her new boyfriend fits the costume.

infoMania takes a look back at the year in media with its
hourlong 2010 Retro Spectacular. How many times will you say “Wait, that
was this year?”

Paddy’s Pub gang wraps things up with a Christmas episode on a new It’s
Always Sunny in Philadelphia
. As you might expect, Dennis, Dee,
Mac, Frank and Charlie’s idea of Christmas spirit involves
scheming and backstabbing and their Christmas adventures involve all sorts of
appalling actions.

if you’re looking for some action, USA has the season finale of Burn

always, let me know which show you’re most eager to see in the week ahead:

week, your enthusiasm for Glee couldn’t be beat as you gave it 77% of
your votes. The Closer and Girls Who Like Boys Who Like Boys came
in a distant second and third place with 7% and 6.6% of the vote, respectively.

Lyle Masaki is a fan of obscure superheroes, video games, adorkable guys and that show you loved that got cancelled way too soon.