Don’t call it a comeback. Britney Spears dusts herself off and puts on some glasses (prop?) to play an amorous receptionist on How I Met Your Mother (CBS, 8:30 p.m.). Sadly, between her custody battles, mental breakdowns, and her ill-chosen affair with a paparazzo, the cameo amounts to the only good press the fallen pop star has received in some time. (With that kind of drama, it’s clear why she—and her people—chose for her to be on a sitcom.) Her appearance will likely boost the show’s already strong ratings—it had its second-strongest numbers ever last week for its first new episode after the strike-induced hiatus—introducing the show to a larger swath of America and perhaps finally making it a legitimate inheritor of the Friends mantle.
Oh, yeah, and there’s this war going on. Thanks for reminding us, PBS! Frontline presents Bush’s War (9 p.m.), a five-hour program, broken up into two nights (the conclusion is Tuesday night, same time), recounting the history of the Iraq War. Now there’s a Britney Spears palate cleanser for you!
Meanwhile, Donnie Wahlberg hosts a special episode of Intervention (A&E, 9 p.m.) which focuses on heroin addiction in Boston suburbs. It’s a two-part series. Next week they address Dunkin’ Donuts.
Autism sucks. So do most musicals. Put them together, however, and apparently you have one damn good documentary. Autism: The Musical (HBO, 8 p.m.) follows six children with the disorder as they prepare for a musical production. Kleenex not included.
’Til Death (Fox, 9:30 p.m.), the marriage sitcom starring Brad Garrett and Eddie Kaye Thomas (not together, unfortunately), returns tonight following American Idol (Fox, 8 p.m.). Garrett was really funny on Everybody Over 65 Loves Raymond. Yeah …
Dancing With the Stars has been on for about a week now, so the producers have decided to offer a recap (ABC, 8 p.m.). Jeez, talk about an insult to their audience’s intelligence. Oh, right, they watch Dancing With the Stars.
Perhaps it was the editing, but wasn’t chef Wylie Dufresne incredibly quick and, well, oral with his opinions on last week’s episode of Top Chef (BRAVO, 10 p.m.)? Now if only he could work on the name of his restaurant. WD-50—which sounds like the latest edition of that stuff you spray into your doorknob—doesn’t exactly get the salivary glands working.
Kimberley Locke’s on Idol (Fox, 9 p.m.). Who’s Kimberley Locke? She’s the one who came in third place behind Clay Aiken and Ruben Studdard in the 2003 incarnation of the show. Oh, right … Nope, still nothing.
Bonus: Remember the dude from the Oscars who was holding that weird puppet when he accepted his award. He won for best animated short. Perhaps after seeing it, Peter and the Wolf (PBS, 8 p.m.), his behavior will make more sense. But that probably won’t make him seem any less crazy.
Lost (ABC, 9 p.m.) is a repeat. Luckily, two captivating reality series host their finales tonight: The Celebrity Apprentice (NBC, 9 p.m.) and Randy Jackson Presents: American’s Best Dance Crew (MTV, 10 p.m.). And by lucky, I mean totally disinterested with the opportunity to squeeze in some much neglected reading.
That’s because there’s some thrilling NCAA tournament action on CBS (7 p.m.). This is a kind of reality television from before Survivor where people play basketball against each other and teams get eliminated!
I keep meaning to watch Amnesia (NBC, 8 p.m.). But I keep forgetting. (Thanks, folks. I’m here all week.)
Of note, the season finales of In Treatment (HBO, 9 p.m.) and Free Radio (VH1, 9:30 p.m.) are tonight. Ray Romano stars on one. Can you guess which?
Showtime debuts Tracey Ullman’s new show Tracey Ullman’s State of the Union (10 p.m.). The show reportedly promises day-in-the-life of sketches about David Beckham, Rita Cosby, Tony “Paulie Walnuts” Sirico, and Arianna Huffington. Now there’s a cast of the Surreal Life I’d consider watching …