What To Watch: 06/16/2020

Man, we are hoping more shows go this route when faced with our current crisis. We are inclined to hug the creators of One Day at a Time — but we know that’s the absolute WRONG move for these times — for taking an obstacle and potentially making it into a game changer, as the family’s foibles are re-created as an animated series. The makers of an HGTV reality show do something similar (for charity) with the help of some of the world’s funniest comics. Speaking of, another great standup has a new special on The CW. The rest of the new & returning are… well, you’ll see

One Day at a Time: Animated Special [Pop, 9:30p]
Desperate times call for creative measures. When the Pandemic shut down production of this fantastic reboot, creator and co-showrunner Gloria Calderón Kellett thought of an innovative way to keep her show and team afloat. Enter the animated special. They are the first sitcom to go this route amid pandemic hiatus and it’s friggin brilliant! I would be thrilled to see more shows adopt this. The special, titled, “The Politics Episode” tackles themes around this year’s high-stakes election. In it, Penelope gets a visit from conservative family members and they instantly clash over their political views (relatable much?). It was set to be an episode later in the year but Kellet bumped it up and made the script animation friendly and the rest is Hollywood history. If nothing else, this proves the Alvarez family are survivors! If they can adapt and find a way through this unprecedented time, so can we.

House Hunters: Comedians on Couches [HGTV, 10p]
HGTV, aware that there are people who watch its premier real estate program with a bit of an MST3K eye, have brought in actual standups to make sport of House Hunters’ quirks and tropes. And its an all-star cast of comedians — many of whom have not coincidentally sipped brew in vehicles with Jerry — including J.B. Smoove, John Mulaney, and Chris Redd. It’s even hosted by Screen Scholar favorite Dan Levy with Natasha Leggero.

Marina Franklin: Single Black Female [The CW, 9p]
Marina Franklin’s new special was taped at the historic Vic Theater in Chicago. The comedian makes a triumphant hometown return to chat about what it means to be her.



  • As has been relentlessly advertised by the folks at MTV, Siesta Key‘s third season resumes today. The Florida beach-based reality drama has a character named Pauly Paul, so that’s… something.
  • Another show softly celebrating all that’s wrong with 2020 America beyond the obvious Trump-iness of it all, Million Dollar Listing: Los Angeles returns on Bravo so we can all ogle and idolize more rich people instead of rising up on the streets like we should be. OK, we’re in a mood today. Also, if we haven’t said it enough, we support the protesters out there.
  • We’re sure what’s on next will brighten our mood about the arrow in American culture that is surely pointed up. TLC is returning something called Sweet Home Sextuplets. Oh, goddammit!
  • Shudder’s latest horror flick is The Marshes where microbiologists are trying to save the environment, starting with one marsh. Unfortunately, there’s something in said marsh trying hard to kill them. The lesson, kids: trying to save the environment is for losers.

The VoD Trailer Round-Up:

The Etruscan Smile
  • 2 Minutes of Fame – Ex- SNL‘er Jay Pharoah, known for his impressions, found himself in the center of the ongoing scandal that is our racist police force. Hopefully, things look up a bit (for him at least) with the release of his first lead role in a drama-tinged comedy — as a struggling comedian who kills at impressions. It does look promising.
  • Driven – Casey Dillard is a cab driver who picks up the wrong passenger and winds up having to save the world from a demon invasion in this horror flick.
  • The Etruscan Smile – An eccentric, hard-drinking Scotsman played by Bryan Cox moves across the ocean to the U.S. for medical help and to re-connect with his family in this mehly reviewed drama.
  • The Luring – The latest in the childhood home horror genre, this one has a man returning to Vermont for the first time since his 10th birthday, which was not a great day for him to say the least.
  • The Pollinators – No Mr. Rotten, it would NOT be nice without the bees. This documentary looks at the crisis that is the lack of a discernible buzz, why it’s a problem for the whole world, and what is being done to prevent Catastrophe #295 of the approximately one billion that are rushing us to the apocalypse.
  • Roger Waters: Us & Them – For a more inspiring night, one of the world’s greatest showman — ex-Pink Floyd frontman Roger Waters lets us in on his majestic live show with this concert film.
Saint Frances
  • Saint Frances – The best reviewed film of the day is this award-winning one by Alex Thompson about a ne’er-do-well 20-something on the verge of getting her life together as nanny of the titular Frances when her burgeoning adulthood is threatened by an unexpected pregnancy.
  • Seahorse: The Dad Who Gave Birth – With a title meant to confuse Jim Gaffigan, this documentary tells the story of 30-year-old transgender man Freddy and his quest to birth a child.
  • The Short History of Long Road – This moody indie features Sabrina Carpenter as teenage Nola, riding cross-country with her dad en route to hopefully meet her mom. A brokedown RV starts a friendship, an unlikely one of course, with an auto body shop owner. Best of all, that man is Danny Trejo.
  • Tainted – An ex-Nazi is released from prison after 15 years, determined to live in peace, and he does, and the 10-minute short ends. Oh, wait, there’s another page — ah, he’s drawn back in by the Russian mob for one last job. That always ends well, right?
  • What She Said: The Art of Pauline Kael – Anyone who’s ever spent more than a day dreaming of talking about film in print or on screen has reverence for the grand dame of film review. Released roughly two decades after her passing, this documentary takes a look at her fully-lived life.

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