CHANNEL SURFER: ‘Three Stooges’ Nyuk It Up

In the continuing struggle of men everywhere to convince their wives and girlfriends that the Three Stooges can be enjoyable for women, too, ABC presents the two-hour drama “The Three Stooges” (8 p.m. EDT/PDT, tonight). This is a very serious film produced by Mel Gibson, who is both attractive to women and a Stooges fan. This film is about their lives, their loves and their many heartbreaks. So as you can see, ladies, it’s really almost exactly like “The English Patient.” Hey guys, remember the one when Curly had a toothache and Moe tried to fix it with an axe?

In a clever bit of programming, immediately after “The Three Stooges,” ABC offers the season finale of its freshman romantic drama “Once and Again” (10 p.m. EDT/PDT, tonight), as a “you watch my show I’ll watch yours” bargaining chip between the sexes. Lily (Sela Ward) and Rick (Billy Campbell) decide to take their relationship to the next level by having their kids finally meet over a big two family dinner. Oh, man! That sounds really great and, um … Hey guys, remember the one when they were carpenters and Moe raked a wood-planer across Larry forehead?

In other programming highlights:

— NBC’s “The West Wing” (9 p.m. EDT/PDT, Wednesday) is back with new episodes. We love “The Sopranos,” too, but this could be the best show on TV right now. It’s certainly the smartest. This week starts a multi-episode story arc, but really, the stories aren’t what make this such a great hour. “The West Wing” takes you inside a place you haven’t really been before and actually floats the idea that politicians are nowhere near as stupid as they appear in real life. It’s hard to know if that’s true or not, what with all the pratfalls and responses that go on for 15 minutes without actually saying anything, and all, but it’s kind of comforting to think about.

And finally, for those who will watch anything with the words “Bigfoot,” “UFO” or “Paranormal” in the title, might we recommend (without having seen either show) “Ghosts: The Best Evidence Ever Caught on Tape” and “UFOs: The Best Evidence Ever Caught on Tape” airing at 8 p.m. EDT/PDT and 9 p.m. EDT/PDT, respectively, Thursday on Fox. Good shows? Bad? Who cares? For some of us, this kind of programming is just bulletproof. And for those of you who agree … remember the one when Curly had a different toothache and Moe tried to pull the tooth with a crowbar?