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Culturista: Your Guide To The Week, From “Degrassi” To “Friends With Benefits”

Today, I am in a “Harry Potter” hangover. For weeks, there was so much buildup. And while the movie was wonderful, now it’s just … over. So thank goodness that a new pop culture phenomenon begins afresh tonight. Finally, “Degrassi” is back! Now, I have been through my fair share of guilty pleasure TV shows over the years, but “DegrassI: The Next Generation” has been one of the most enduring. For the past 11 seasons, I’ve watched Spinner and Jimmy give way to Emma and Manny, give way to Mia and Peter, give way to Holly J and Declan. The best part of this Canadian teen soap (based on the “Degrassi” series of the ’80s) is watching the young characters you don’t care too much about blossom into almost-adults. For example, Sav has gotten so hot and Claire has become such a fashion plate! And because the show airs telenovela style—there’s a new episode every night—there is absolutely no waiting to see how their new lives evolve.

But I promise there are other things I’m looking forward to this week—like the series premiere of “Entourage” and a new album from They Might Be Giants. After the jump, a rundown of this week’s television, movies, music, and more.
On the Small Screen:

  • “Degrassi,” season premiere. Tonight, 9 p.m. (EST), TeenNick. My new nighttime routine for the rest of the summer: come home, watch “Degrassi,” go to bed. It’s the perfect half hour wind-down.
  • “Web Therapy,” series premiere. Tuesday, 11 p.m. (EST), Showtime. For the past three years, my favorite “friend”—duh, Lisa Kudrow—has been doing a web series where she plays an unlicensed therapist Fiona, answering viewer’s quandries. Showtime has now picked up the series and will make a full show by mixing in these segments with Fiona’s personal life. Hilarious.
  • “Storage Wars,” season premiere. Wednesday, 10 p.m. (EST), A&E. I saw a commercial for this show before “Harry Potter” and said to my companion, “Wow. That sounds like the most boring thing ever.” But then he explained the concept—when a storage unit isn’t paid for over the course of three months, the contents are auctioned off as a single lot. Buyers get five minutes to inspect before they bid, making this like high-stakes “Antiques Roadshow.” Now I am curious.
  • “Entourage,” season premiere. Sunday, 10:30 p.m. (EST), HBO. The final season of “Entourage” begins with Vince newly sober, with a script in his hands and a willingness to leave the drugs and booze behind. Will it last?




On the Big Screen:

  • “Friends With Benefits,” opens Friday. The plot of this one might sound pretty familiar after the publicity blitz earlier this year for “No Strings Attached.” On the heels of breakups, Mila Kunis and Justin Timberlake meet and attempt to keep their attraction purely physical. But since I find Mila and Justin far more charming that Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher, I will be checking this one out.
  • “Another Earth,” opens Friday. Here’s a trippy concept: an exact replica of Earth is discovered. When an MIT astrophysics student learns this, she looks out the window while driving—and crashes into a car, killing a man’s wife and child. After four years in prison, she attempts to befriend him—and travel to this alternate planet.
  • “Captain America: The First Avenger,” opens Friday. I won’t lie, I don’t know much about Captain America. Apparently, he starts out a wimpy dude who wants to fight the Nazis in 1942. So he volunteers for Project Rebirth, which turns him into a diesel super-soldier.




In Your Headphones:

  • They Might Be Giants, Join Us, out tomorrow. Woo hoo! The Giants have stopped making albums for kids, and returned to recording fare for ’90s enthusiasts like myself. Their new work feels halfway between “Ana Ng” and “Particle Man,” which is certainly a sweet spot.
  • Crystal Antlers, Two-Way Mirror, our tomorrow. Crystal Antlers specialize in psychadelic rock that manages to rock out and feel dreamy at the same time. Their sophomore effort might not be quite as high octane as Tentacles, but still feels fitting for a road trip through the desert.
  • Theophilus London, Timez Are Weird These Days, out Tuesday. I’m glad that the first song on this album clarifies how to pronounce Theophilus’ first name, because I’ve been a little bit confused about that since the rapper/soul peddler/electro-popper burst on the scene with a performance at Cannes earlier this year.




Also on Your Radar:

  • Get your Buffy fan-fiction ready and your Princess Leia costume on. This weeks brings Comic-Con 2011 in San Diego, California. But Comic-Con isn’t just for nerds. It’s where we’ll get valuable information about any comic, sci-fi, or fantasy-tinged movie or TV show that we are currently excited for.
  • Wednesday is National Lollipop Day. I suggest buying a bag of BlowPops now. Your co-workers will thank you.
  • I had every intention of seeing the ’80s nostalgia-fest “Take Me Home Tonight” when it was in the theaters. And then I, uh, didn’t. So I’m glad it comes out on DVD tomorrow.
  • Make sure to call your grandma on Saturday. It’s Gorgeous Grandma Day!
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