What to Watch This Weekend: The Oscars, Gold Rush, and Eastbound & Down

And the award for Best Weekend goes to THIS WEEKEND!! That's because [music drowns out]:

What to watch on Friday, February 24...

9pm, Fox
In the ominously titled "The End of All Things," Peter and the rest of the Fringe gang must deal with a series of life-threatening events by using some extraordinary measures. Not just cussing or open-handed slaps: extraordinary measures.

SEASON 2 FINALE, 9pm, Discovery
Gold Rush
Some people may not know this, but Discovery's Gold Rush is one of the highest-rated shows on television—not just cable, but ALL television. Well, you probably knew this if you are a MAN because this is your show: Tractors and yelling and very occasionally gold. What's not to like? Anyway in this Season 2 finale, the Big Nugget mine faces closure unless Parker strikes ore, plus Todd makes the mistake of running a 'dozer on solid ice, and Dakota Fred believes he found Jack Hoffman's "glory hole" which is probably not as sexual as it sounds.

9pm, NBC
This just gets less and less pleasant: Not only do fabled supernatural creatures exist, they ALSO have an underground-creature FIGHT CLUB. So tonight, as you might imagine, Nick and Monroe sit in for a few bouts after the fight club is implicated in a double-homicide. Ugh, can you even imagine the smell in that room?

10pm, IFC
In "Feminist Bookstore 10th Anniversary," a surprise guest turns up at the titular shindig held in honor of Toni and Candace. And as you'd imagine, tons of semi-polite, oatsy drama busts out! Also, other sketches.

8pm, Nickelodeon
FRED: The Show
Sorry guys, but it's my job to point certain things out. First of all, Fred is a TV show now. Second of all, I kind of like Fred? I know, I know. Sorry. Life is a mystery. (It makes me laugh.) Anyway, in tonight's episode of this thing, Fred tries his hand at being the neighborhood babysitter. Sorry.

Kitchen Nightmares, 8 p.m., Fox
Shark Tank, 8 p.m., ABC
Undercover Boss, 8 p.m., CBS
Who Do You Think You Are?: Blair Underwood, 8 p.m., NBC
A Gifted Man, 9 p.m., CBS
America's Most Wanted, 9 p.m., Lifetime
My House Goes Disney, ORIGINAL SPECIAL, 9 p.m., HGTV
Phineas & Ferb, 9 p.m., Disney
Primetime: What Would You Do?, 9 p.m., ABC
On Freddie Roach, SEASON 1 FINALE, 9:30 p.m., HBO
20/20, 10 p.m., ABC
Bering Sea Gold, 10 p.m., Discovery
Blue Bloods, 10 p.m., CBS
Curious & Unusual Deaths, 10 p.m., Discovery Fit & Health
Dateline NBC, 10 p.m., NBC
Four Weddings, 10 p.m., TLC
Merlin, 10 p.m., Syfy
Spartacus: Vengeance, 10 p.m., Starz
Marvel Anime: Blade, 11 p.m., G4

Jennifer Aniston and Adam Levine on Tonight Show with Jay Leno, 11:35 p.m., NBC
John Waters and Jennifer Carpenter on Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, 12:37 a.m., CBS
La Toya Jackson on The Wendy Williams Show, 12 a.m., BET
Paul Rudd and Gabrielle Union on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, 12:35 a.m., NBC

What to watch on Saturday, February 25...

The 2012 Film Independent Spirit Awards
No offense, but a lot of the time this awards show honors better movies than the Oscars. Let's not fight about it. Seth Rogen will be hosting this year's event, and the presenters list includes Bryan Cranston, Elizabeth Banks, Jessica Chastain, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Rashida Jones, and William H. Macy. And just FYI the Best Feature nominees are 50/50, Beginners (a.k.a. my favorite movie of 2011), Drive (a.k.a. all my friends' favorite movie of 2011), Take Shelter, The Descendants, and The Artist.

Being Human (U.K.)
Because there can never be enough Being Human on the air, BBC America kindly brings us Series 4 of the U.K. series right smack dab in the middle of the U.S. version's Season 2. No matter: This premiere involves George, Annie, and Tom's return to the B&B; and their attempts to protect a baby werewolf from vampires called The Old Ones.

9pm, Animal Planet
Too Cute! Puppies & Ducklings
I think we all need this, you know? It's like Animal Planet could sense it.

9pm, NBC
The Firm
In "Chapter Eight," Mitch gets cleared of any wrongdoing in the death of Martin Moxon and pays a visit to an understandably wary Sarah Holt. Meanwhile Tammy and Abby team up to delve into a mysterious list that Moxon left behind. Quick question: Should I not be getting too emotionally invested in this show, or what?

Cops, 8 p.m., Fox
Victorious, 8 p.m., Nickelodeon
Oddities, 9 p.m., Science
Parking Wars, 9 p.m., A&E;
Suze Orman Show, 9 p.m., CNBC
Witchslayer Gretl, ORIGINAL MOVIE, 9 p.m., Syfy
48 Hours Mystery, 10 p.m., CBS
An Idiot Abroad: The Bucket List, 10 p.m., Science
Billy the Exterminator, 10 p.m., A&E;
The Graham Norton Show, 10:15 p.m., BBC America
Would You Rather? With Graham Norton, 11 p.m., BBC America

What to watch on Sunday, February 26...

AWARDS SPECIAL, 5:30pm PST / 8:30pm EST, ABC
The 84th Annual Academy Awards
Back by popular demand (LOL), Billy Crystal makes his ninth appearance tonight as Oscars host, leading us through over three hours of schtick, sudden seriousness, and self-celebration. Best Picture nominees include Hugo, The Artist, The Descendants, The Help, Moneyball, and Tree of Life. (Here's your printable ballot for the high-stakes gambling you'll be doing in your living room tonight).

Jimmy Kimmel Live: After the Academy Awards
Tonight Jimmy Kimmel's going all-out for a post-awards bash. In addition to the expected jokes 'n bits, guests include Oprah Winfrey, Billy Crystal, Meryl Streep, George Clooney, Tom Hanks, Martin Scorsese, Helen Mirren, and Charlize Theron, as well as up-and-coming indie rock group The Coldplay.

10pm, HBO
Eastbound & Down
In "Chapter 15," Kenny attempts to track down an MIA April in order to give back the baby, but ends up looking for Stevie instead. Ugh, why is this show so dang good?

9pm, AMC
The Walking Dead
"18 Miles Out" picks up after last week's excellent "Triggerfinger" and finds the injured outsider becoming a bone of contention between Rick and Shane. Meanwhile Hershel's family deals with issues of their own and Andrea may be the only person who can help them. Plus whatever mental games Lori's up to this week.

9pm, HBO
Racetrack drama proceeds as usual tonight as Ace deals with Escalante's decision to run a new horse with an inexperienced jockey. Meanwhile Claire agrees to accompany Ace to the track in recognition of his generous donation. "Generous donation."

ORIGINAL SPECIAL, 9pm, Nickelodeon
Nick News with Linda Ellerbee
Call it highly shrewd Oscar-night counter-programming (or simply a coincidence), but tonight Linda Ellerbee brings us "My Big Fat Failure" and talks about how kids can deal with overcoming the personal failures they'll encounter in life. An array of celebrities will share their own experiences on the subject of failure, including Richard Branson, Russell Simmons, Tina Fey, Brian Williams, and Nick Cannon. I <3 Linda Ellerbee so much.

Oscars Red Carpet Live, AWARDS SPECIAL, 4 p.m. / 7 p.m., ABC
60 Minutes, 7 p.m., CBS
Dateline NBC, 7 p.m., NBC
Amazing Race, 8 p.m., CBS
Celebrity Apprentice, 9 p.m., NBC
Nightmare Next Door, 9 p.m., Investigation Discovery
The Real Housewives of Atlanta, 9 p.m., Bravo
Worst Cooks in America, 9 p.m., Food Network
Comic Book Men, 10 p.m., AMC
Life's Too Short, 10:30 p.m., HBO
E! After Party: 2012 Academy Awards, AWARDS SPECIAL, 11:30 p.m., E!
China, IL, 12 a.m., Cartoon Network
Talking Dead, 12 a.m., AMC
Mary Shelley's Frankenhole, 12:15 a.m., Cartoon Network

What are you watching this weekend?

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