Monday, December 16, 2002
Why is it so easy to gorge on junk food? The witty and informative four-part documentary "Human Instinct" (TLC) shows how tens of thousands of years of human evolution have programmed us to eat fatty, starchy foods and store the fat for lean times. Host Robert Winston uses clever visual props to explain how, for thousands of generations, most humans were faced with scarce food supplies and long periods of hunger. So the people who survived passed along genes that predisposed our appetites to a calorie-rich diet.
Tonight's first segment (8 p.m.), explores this fatty phenomenon and other human survival instincts. Part two (9 p.m.) looks at the evolutionary reasons behind sexual attraction and reproduction. Tomorrow night's "Instinct" examines the phenomena of human competition and our deep-seated impulse to risk our lives to save others from danger.
- VH1 devotes five nights and 10 hours to the shoulder-pad decade with "I Love the '80s" (8 p.m., VH1). Each hour of the special will present a parade of clips, quips and personal recollections about the styles, movies, commercials, songs and TV shows from a particular year. The series offers more than 200 interviews (sound bites, really) with dozens of celebrities who grew up during the 1980s, or contributed to the era's popular culture.
With an hour spent on every year, "I Love" waxes nostalgia for phenomena both obvious and obscure. In the first hour, 1980, memories of "Dallas," "Caddyshack," "Xanadu" and "Airplane" gives way to more personal recollections of Strawberry Shortcake dolls and hours spent with the primitive computer game Mattel Classic Football. The funniest part of the hour is hearing a dozen different people trying to sing the theme song to "The Love Boat."
- Pop culture of a more recent vintage is celebrated on "Rank: The Top 25 Entertainers of 2002" (9 p.m., E!). Jennifer Aniston tops a group that includes Tobey Maguire, Adam Sandler, Jennifer Lopez, George Clooney and Kelly Clarkson. Aniston, the star of "Friends" and the critically acclaimed (if largely unseen) film "The Good Girl," becomes the 13th "Entertainer of the Year." If record sales and box-office receipts were the sole measurement, controversial rapper Eminem probably should have won.
Tonight's other highlights
- A computer tycoon is accused in a mugging on "Monk" (7 p.m., ABC).
- Ray admits that he's bored with the guys on "Everybody Loves Raymond" (8 p.m., CBS).
- Tennessee plays host to New England on "Monday Night Football" (8 p.m., ABC).
- The team races to bring a heart to a dying transplant patient on "Third Watch" (8 p.m., NBC).
- A girl is found near-dead on the outskirts of a rehab center on "CSI: Miami" (9 p.m., CBS).
- Police take vengeance on a cop's killer on "Crossing Jordan" (9 p.m., NBC).
- "Mugshots: Robert Blake :quot; Fallen Star" (9 p.m., Court TV) looks at the evidence linking the "Baretta" star to the murder of his wife, Bonnie Lee Bakely.
Doug gets petty over an old toy on "King of Queens" (7 p.m., CBS) ... Brooke feels far from home on "Boston Public" (8 p.m., Fox) ... A soap-opera opportunity on "The Parkers" (7 p.m., UPN) ... Pat Boone and Cindy Williams guest star on "7th Heaven" (7 p.m., WB).
Greg feels guilty on "Yes, Dear" (7:30 p.m., CBS) ... Flex is floored by his ex-wife's new guy on "One on One" (7:30 p.m., UPN).
Tiffani Thiessen plays host to "The Greatest Christmas Moments of All Time" (8 p.m., Fox) ... An embarrassing epidemic on "Everwood" (8 p.m., WB) ... Spencer falls hard for his blind date on "Half and Half" (8:30 p.m., UPN) ... Chris Elliott guest stars on "Still Standing" (8:30 p.m., CBS).