The tween comedy "iCarly" (8 p.m., Nick-

elodeon) says goodbye after five seasons. The show stood out by trying to integrate Web content and old-fashioned sitcoms. Or, at least it was a sitcom about a kid (Miranda Cosgrove) with her own website.

The show followed the trend of youth-centric cable sitcoms to blend live action shenanigans with cartoon logic. Like many comedies going back decades, it featured family life with absent parents and a sense

of community

cobbled together by friends and siblings. And, as if to compensate for those ab-

sent parents, Carly and her friends lived in a fantasy world of consumerism, where money was rarely an object.

Tonight marks the return of Carly's long-missing father, an Air Force officer who has been living abroad for the duration of the show. Apparently, the Web-savvy Carly never thought to Skype with her dad.

---Shows like "iCarly" generally depart when their stars get a tad too old to be believable as tweens. Or when said talent starts looking for more grown-up projects. That never happens to cartoon characters. If Bart Simpson aged like the rest of us, he'd be in his 30s now. And let's not even think how Charlie Brown (bald at 4!) might look, now that he's pushing 70.


And time moves even more slowly at the bottom of the sea. SpongeBob SquarePants, our favorite porous, rectangular hero since 1999, gets his own stop-motion, animated holiday special in "It's a SpongeBob Christmas!" (9:30 p.m., CBS). Loosely based on the song "Don't Be a Jerk (It's Christ mas)" by Tom Kenny (the voice of SpongeBob) and Andy Paley, the special revolves around the secret formula for Krusty Krab's secret Krabby Patty


---Other holiday specials include "Frosty the Snowman" (8 p.m., CBS) and "Frosty Re turns" (8:30 p.m., CBS); "Hap piness is a Warm Blanket, Charlie Brown" (8 p.m., Fox) and "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer" (8 p.m., CW); "Hoops & Yoyo Ruin Christmas" (9 p.m., CBS) and "The Happy Elf" (9 p.m., CW).

---Not ready for Christmas yet? Fans of old-fashioned Disney-style family programming could do worse than "Unlikely Animal Friends" (8 p.m., 9 p.m. and 10 p.m., Nat Geo Wild), offering tales about unusual bonds between a Labrador retriever and a dolphin, and a Great Dane that helps nurse a recently orphaned fawn back to health.

---Hosted by Steve-O of "Jackass" fame, "Killer Karaoke" (9 p.m., truTV) is a

karaoke show for people who hate singing competitions. Or just hate people who sing. Or people in general.

Competitors are invited to warble along to a familiar pop tune while enduring several layers of pain, cruelty and


The first singer is strapped to a swing and dunked in ice water while trying to perform. Then Steve-O throws live reptiles in the water, including snakes and baby alligators. As we all know, cold-blooded creatures don't take well to ice water, so he's being cruel to helpless critters as well as the contestant. The scene also

reminded me that writing bad

reviews of shows as dismal

and degrading as "Killer Karaoke" is a little like shooting fish in a barrel.


---R. Kelly returns with new

installments of his hip-hopera "Trapped in the Closet" (7 p.m. and 9 p.m., IFC).

---On back-to-back episodes of "The Simpsons" (Fox, r): a flash-forward to future holidays (9 p.m.), exiled Simpsons live off the grid (9:30 p.m.).

---Charlie Rose interviews Drew Brees, Alicia Keys and Sean Penn on "Person to Person" (10 p.m., CBS).

---"Whisker Wars" (10 p.m., IFC) returns for a second season.


Barely out of college, a pack of friends (Rob Lowe, Demi Moore, Andrew McCarthy, Judd Nelson and Ally Sheedy) shares an immediate midlife crisis in the unintentionally

hilarious coming-of-age melodrama "St. Elmo's Fire" (8:30 p.m., VH1 Classic).


---The National Dog Show (8 p.m., NBC, r) looks for the best in show.

---Ed wants to return to his ex on "Last Man Standing" (8 p.m., ABC, TV-PG).

---Reba resents her ex's

meddling ways on "Malibu Country" (8:30 p.m., ABC, TV-PG).

---A new look at a home gym on "Shark Tank" (9 p.m., ABC, r).


---Ginnifer Goodwin, Michael Yo, Heather McDonald and Josh Wolf appear on "Chelsea Lately" (11 p.m., E!).

---Salma Hayek Pinault, Nick Offerman and KISS appear on "Late Show With David Letterman" (11:35 p.m., CBS, r).

---Jay Leno welcomes Sarah Silverman, Paula Deen and Lyle Lovett on "The Tonight Show" (11:35 p.m., NBC, r).

---Robert Pattinson, Chris Hardwick and Ben Folds Five appear on "Jimmy Kimmel Live" (midnight, ABC, r).

---Craig Ferguson hosts Tenacious D and Sarah Shahi on "The Late Late Show" (12:35 a.m., CBS, r).

Kevin McDonough can be reached at