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The Globe and Mail

Love is on the air. Stay home and watch TV

One time, I went out on St. Valentine's Day for a romantic dinner with a certain person. It did not end well. At the end of the evening, my hat was missing from the coat check. It was a fine hat, purchased in Dublin and a lifesaver in inclement weather. Newly arrived in Canada, I was inconsolable.

Ever since, I have been dead-set against going out on Valentine's Day. If the subject is broached, I think of the missing hat, and that's the end of the discussion.

In any case, in this part of the world – the centre of the universe though it is – St. Valentine's Day is hardly the time for traipsing the streets going out for a bite to eat and consuming overpriced cocktails with improbable names. A person is obliged to dress for the weather.

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For gentlemen, this means being mistaken for a chap making his way from the summit of Everest to a base camp.

For ladies, it means risking life and limb. Tottering around on heels made and designed for tottering in balmy Italian or French locales, not icy streets in godforsaken wintry cities where cab drivers are specially trained to look out for ladies in their finery and deftly splash said finery with grey slush.

Your best bet is to stay at home and watch TV. And ignore the commercials. For weeks, a stream of commercials has been telling the public to buy some stuff for someone. The message: Don't forget Valentine's Day, or you'll die old and alone. This is hooey. If you sit around and watch TV, alone or in good company, you'll be grand.

Tuesday night's Glee (Fox, Global, 8 p.m.) is themed for Valentine's Day. Mr. Schuester asks the glee club members to find and perform the world's best love songs. Also, Rachel's fathers, Hiram (Jeff Goldblum) and LeRoy Berry (Brian Stokes Mitchell), visit McKinley High. Now, there's love in abundance – the two dads and their diva daughter.

There's plenty of love, affection and wit on TV to warm you on St. Valentine's Day. (Much more warming and long-lasting in impact than your dinky cocktails with improbable names.) And Glee is a great source, from the wacky to the wonderful.

There was the time lovers Santana and Brittany had the following conversation: Santana: "Brittany, lock the door." Brittany: "I don't know how to do that."

Later, Brittany said, "A unicorn is someone who knows he's popular, but isn't afraid to show it." And told Santana, "Out of all the kids in this school, I think you are the biggest unicorn."

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Or the time Puck said to Quinn, "You don't need a baby or a dude or anyone to make you special." Or, indeed, the time dad Burt said to Kurt: "You're gay. You're not like Rock Hudson gay. You're really gay. You sing like Diana Ross and you dress like you own a Magic Chocolate Factory."

Got troubles with self-regarding fools at work? An episode of The Office can warm your heart. Say, the time Michael Scott pronounced on a harmonious workplace. "What is the single most important thing for a company? Is it the building? Is it the stock? Is it the turnover? It's the people. The people! My proudest moment here wasn't when I increased profits by 17 per cent, or cut expenditure without losing a single member of staff. No, no, no, no. It was a young Guatemalan guy, first job in the country, hardly spoke a word of English, but he came to me and he went, 'Mr. Scott, will you be the godfather to my child?' Wow. Just wow! Didn't work out in the end. We had to let him go. He sucked."

And who wouldn't think of romantic love while watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer? Go get the box set. Be reminded. Or just remember the interaction between Buffy and Spike. Buffy: "What are you doing here? In five words or less." Spike: "Out. For. A. Walk. (Pause) Bitch."

Be nice to yourselves today. Hugs and kisses to every one of you. Hatless or not, I appreciate you. (Excepting Sun News, naturally.) I'm sure you're all decent, talented and lovely people. Some of you are outright gorgeous, beautiful, as well as talented and creative. Especially when you watch TV.

Also Airing Tonight

Margaret Thatcher: The Long Walk to Finchley (TVOntario, 9 p.m.) is an exceptionally fine portrait of Thatcher before political fame and power. It's about the years she spent trying to land a nomination as the Conservative candidate in a constituency in England. The patronizing attitude of the male establishment. The sneering at her middle-class background. Andrea Riseborough (who played Wallis Simpson in Madonna's movie W.E.) is wonderful as the young Thatcher, conveying the mannerisms and style of speaking, and never indulging in the extravagant, showy mimicry that Meryl Streep discharged in The Iron Lady.

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About the Author
Television critic

John Doyle is The Globe and Mail's television critic. His column appears in the Review section Monday to Thursday and on Saturday. He has been the paper's critic since 2000. More

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