What Does 'Real Time' Mean, Anyway?

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Bill Maher's once-a-week HBO talk show practically screams "DVR Me So You Can Skim This Over the Weekend," but he deserves better. Heavy political comedy from a host who usually seems a bit stoned should be savored, not rushed. Maher's not quite a fine wine, but at least he can say anything he wants without offending advertisers (or Sarah Palin).

Real Time with Bill Maher [10 PM, HBO]

It's a packed show tonight with Bill interviewing Author Sam Harris and journalist Jeremy Scahill and talking shop with panelists Jay Leno, Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), and White House correspondent Chuck Todd. The Real Time panels have talked about health care for most of the recent episodes, so hopefully Leno has a few new takes on it and loosens up the denim shirt around his old comedy buddy.

Strictly Sex with Dr. Drew [10 PM, Discovery Health]

Medical students probably think he is a loon, but for the general population who find entertainment in WebMD, Dr. Drew is somewhat of a folk hero. In this hour-long special, Dr. Drew counsels a couple on orgasms and dispenses practical advice with a semi-serious tone. It's hard to knock a brother for trying, but if couples really needed sex counseling they should probably see a couples therapist.

The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson [12:35 AM, CBS]

Guest: James Spader. Spader can be a slippery eel on most talk shows, acting overly familiar or unnecessarily condescending (that is how he makes his money on-screen, after all), but with Ferguson he is really good at playing along with the Scot and his less-structured interviews. Hopefully, Leno has caught a few episodes of Ferguson's show during his free-time so he can see that it's OK to express uniqueness while servicing the celebrity's need to plug the project.

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Serendipity [8 PM, Oxygen]

August might be a strange time to watch a wintery romantic comedy fable, but we continue to make the argument for Jeremy Piven as a powerhouse supporting actor. Not only does he bring much-needed energy to this John Cusack-Kate Beckinsale coincidencefest, but he can be very funny. Think how much better Must Love Dogs would have been with Piven in the friend role instead of Ben Shenkman. Not that Shenkman isn't fun, but Piven and Cusack have Hepburn-Tracy-level chemistry.



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