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Dave on Demand: The television week in review

By David Hiltbrand, The Philadelphia Inquirer –

I had my little Thanksgiving dinner witticism all ready. When it was my turn to offer a reason for being thankful, I was going to say, “I’m grateful the election is over and TV can finally get back to normal.”

Never got to use it because as you may have noticed, news coverage this week, both local and national, went all DefCon 4 again.

The fixation this time was Black Friday. And the amount of airtime devoted to this consumer ritual was unprecedented.

We’re used to the stock footage of people camped out days before the event and of the frantic hordes swarming into the stores and stripping the shelves bare as they go.

But this year it seemed like TV stations were involved in some profit-sharing scheme with the big box stores. In some cases they were actually showing close-ups of the various sales circulars. And there were endless stories about chains that were opening even earlier.

Why were we being whipped into a rabid shopping frenzy? Is this really news?

Talking head after talking head excitedly assured us that “Black Friday is the Super Bowl of the retail calendar.” It was certainly blanket-covered like a big sporting event.

If what we’re seeing is the start of a societal shift in which Black Friday will come to overshadow Thanksgiving, one sure sign will be that next season many TV series will have “special” episodes built around Friday’s foraging fest.

Sound far-fetched? Here are a few possible scenarios.

The crew at “NCIS” rushes to investigate the death of a man trampled to death whose body ended up floating in a fountain at the mall.

When the local police chief questions how the man’s death falls within Navy jurisdiction, Gibbs (Mark Harmon) fixes him with his steely gaze.

“Our facial recognition data base confirms that this man once attended an Army-Navy game,” Gibbs growls. “And he drowned. That makes it our business.”

“But this is fresh water,” protests the cop.

“Why don’t you let us be the judge of that,” Gibbs responds. “Ducky, get in there and fish him out.”

You might see a “Two and Half Men” plot in which Alan (Jon Cryer), trying to return a sweater that is comically too big for him, gets swept up by the crowd. Without intending to, he ends up leading a customer protest that goes viral when the store runs out of its advertised Kardashians Collectibles dolls.

Or you could have a “Walking Dead” episode in which Rick and Daryl are barricaded in a superstore when Black Friday hits. If you can’t picture zombies surging through the doors, ready to gobble up anything in their paths, then you haven’t been watching TV this week.

—Hello Kitty phobia. Speaking of the holiday, why did Kevin Frazier appear to be so terribly uncomfortable hosting CBS’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade with Brooke Anderson, his co-host on “The Insider”?

All morning long, the normally sunny Frasier looked like someone had dumped a bucket of iced GatorAde down the collar of his overcoat.

Maybe he’s afraid of oversized balloons.

—Genetic mysteries. On sitcoms, this is traditionally the month to meet the ‘rents, as our favorite characters get visited by their families. It’s always an occasion for bizarre stunt casting.

Who did you like best? a) Jonathan Banks and Glenne Headly as Ben’s folks on “Parks and Recreation”; b) Jerry Van Dyke and Marsha Mason as Frankie’s parents on “The Middle”; c) Jamie Lee Curtis and Rob Reiner as Jess’ mom and dad on “New Girl.”

Yeah, I’m not seeing the resemblances either.

—You’re still here? The week’s big casting bulletin — Chevy Chase is leaving the cast of NBC’s sitcom “Community” — brought up some questions.

Chevy Chase is still on “Community”? Has anybody told NBC they still have a sitcom called “Community”?

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