A stab right to the heart is delivered by the innocence of children on the documentary “Don’t Divorce Me! Kids’ Rules for Parents on Divorce” (HBO, 6:30 p.m.).
Another squad of impossibly wise, articulate kids speak straight talk mostly to grownups about how they feel about divorce (mostly sad) and remind parents of what they should do: Listen to them, reassure them, love them “more than you need to,” says one; and adds another, “don’t break our heart.”
It’s not hard to be heartbroken, though, when one girl says “Home for me is in a car, because that’s where I always am” – transported between her mom and dad’s house.
The documentary is co-produced by Rosie O’Donnell, who went through her own divorce, but her situation (and presence) are kept from the film, which stands as a bitter testimony to the fractured era.
One good thing about the frenzied political season is its wealth of material for parody; enough for a weekly “SNL Primetime Election Special” (NBC, 8 p.m.) until the election, as well as the usual “Saturday Night Live” on weekends.
As on that show, Jay Pharoh has taken over doing Obama, Jason Sudeikis has agreed to stick around to do his Mitt Romney and Joe Biden impressions and Taran Killam has been enlisted to do Paul Ryan.
‘The Office” (NBC, 9 p.m.) returns for its final season with some changes. Mindy Kaling is out (to do her own sitcom) and Jake Lacy and Clark Duke are in.
“Up All Night” (NBC, 8:30 p.m.) returns as well with a new focus – Maya Rudolph’s talk show is canceled and it becomes less of a workplace comedy and more of one entirely focused on the home.
“Parks and Recreation” (NBC, 9:30 p.m.) starts the season with a trip to Washington D.C., where several senators and many monuments make cameo appearances.
“Louie” (FX, 10:30 p.m.) ends its remarkable three-part story about a possible job opening at David Letterman’s desk. So far, the caper has attracted such guest stars as Jay Leno, Garry Marshall, David Lynch and Chris Rock.
On a second Britney Spears night on “Glee” (Fox, 9 p.m.), what seemed like a coup the first time around now seems only like a promotional tie-in to the lead-in, “The X Factor” (Fox, 8 p.m.)
The Chicago teachers’ strike is over, but possibly as part of the agreement, several teachers get humiliated on “Wipeout” (ABC, 8 p.m.).
Among singing reality shows with celebrities that will almost certainly be cancelled, this one is “The Next” (The CW, 9 p.m.).
Weird to think that we’ll soon see the “Beekman Boys” (Cooking, 10 p.m.) twice a week – on this show, which moved to a new network, and then next Sunday on “The Amazing Race.”
Nearly two dozen short films show tonight as part of the month-long Thursday night retrospective of Mack Sennett that begins with “Hearts and Flowers” (TCM, 8 p.m.).
It’s Giants at Panthers (NFL, 8 p.m.) in NFL action and Brigham Young at Boise State (ESPN, 9 p.m.).
Kelly & Michael: Jake Gyllenhaal, Archie Panjabi, Austin Mahone. Katie Couric: Sharon & Lexie Love. The View: Dr. Mehmet Oz, Cloris Leachman, Apolo Anton Ohno & Karina Smirnoff. The Talk: Michael Urie, David Krumholtz, Iyanla Vanzant. Ellen DeGeneres: Amy Poehler, Ricky Gervais.
David Letterman: Nathan Lane, Ryan Hunter-Reay, the Killers. Jay Leno: Viola Davis, Paul Wesley, Bonnie Raitt. Jimmy Kimmel: Britney Spears, Simon Cowell, Slightly Stoopid (rerun). Jimmy Fallon: Piers Morgan, Michael Pena, Joshua Topolsky, Danny! Craig Ferguson: Nikki Reed, Mitch Albom. Tavis Smiley: Richard Gere. Carson Daly: Deadmau5, Jamestown Revival, Walk the Moon (rerun). Jon Stewart: Bill Clinton. Stephen Colbert: Errol Morris. Conan O’Brien: Ricky Gervais, Tig Notaro,, Frank Turner. Chelsea Handler: Alyson Hannigan, Chris Franjola, Arden Smyrin, Matt Braunger.