Today brings a celebration of two of the biggest stars to come out of the 1970s, two people whose fates could not be more different. One of them is a singer-songwriter whose mere name brings joy to most people’s hearts and that she may have played a major part in stopping this Pandemic is just a feather in her cap. The other, a comedian and actor, also brought cheer to millions, but could not escape his personal demons and died of a heroin overdose at 33. Tonight, Dolly Parton hosts a Christmas celebration, while John Belushi is the subject of a gritty documentary by The War Room‘s R.J. Cutler.
Dolly Parton’s Christmas on the Square [Netflix]
Some (Benjamin Franklin) say that beer is proof that God loves us, but I’d argue Dolly Parton is better evidence. She donated $1 million to Moderna for a Coronavirus vaccine, she’s been dropping her wisdom on Instagram (PRAISE BE), she released a Christmas album this year, and today Netflix releases Dolly Parton’s Christmas on the Square. This joyous special is no Hard Candy Christmas as Dolly and fellow charming townspeople try to convince a “cold-hearted woman” (Christine Baranski, a queen) not to sell her hometown’s land. (On the other hand, the last small town that was sold was later inhabited by its warm-hearted, chic residents, and the cinnamon rolls were pretty good.)
Belushi [Showtime, 9p]
John Belushi famously played off his self-destructive rep in a classic SNL sketch where he waxed poetic about out-surviving the rest of the original cast. Sadly, expectations won out that round when he died in 1982. R.J. Cutler interviews Lorne Michaels and many members of the original cast in this promising and anticipated documentary film.
The Simpsons [Fox, 8p]
Bart becomes a voice over actor and Comic Book Guy gets humiliated at comic-con. Oh the possibilities are endless. The Simpsons keeps on going and doesn’t seem to be slowing down any time soon.
BUT, WAIT, THERE’S MORE:
- According to the synopsis, Odis finds peace, which in the Fargo world is not necessarily a good thing. Ten episodes into the Fox anthology’s engrossing, but overly grim fourth season, you’d think ten episodes may wrap it up, but, no, this season will go to 11. Besides the steady Rock, it’s newcomer E’myri Crutchfeld as the inscrutable teen Ethelrida who has stolen the season.
- Bring out your dead! AMC will film them. It’s the search for Dakota on Fear the Walking Dead tonight, and on The Walking Dead: World Beyond demons are faced. Just another day in Deadland.
- Madison Hamburg continues to find disturbing truths in his family history in the second installment of the well-reviewed HBO docu-series Murder on Middle Beach.
- Did you know that the American Music Awards were created by Dick Clark in 1973 b/c ABC lost the Grammys? It IS the first few words of its Wikipedia page, but we gotta say, we’d never heard that before. Its 48th installment is hosted by our second favorite kind of cookie behind chocolate chip, the unimpeachable Taraji P. Henson.
- Ok, as much as in 2020 we need a little Christmas right this very minute, Lifetime and Hallmark are starting to test us. Tonight, Lifetime’s got Homemade Christmas, while Hallmark offers The Christmas House, and over at Hallmark Movie, the feature is The Angel Tree.
- Finishing up our Christmas round-up, and this feature entirely, we’ve got The Food Network’s Buddy vs. Christmas, which makes us wish it were Paul F. Tompkins and Lauren Lapkus playing their requisite Comedy Bang! Bang! characters, having to repeat names until the end of time. However, this features the actual Cake Boss [“Cake Boss”] Buddy Velastro with his best Christmas recipes to make Santa say “Ho Ho Ho” [“Ho Ho”]. Meanwhile, on UP, we have Dashing Home For Christmas, your standard Yuletide rom com, with busy businesswoman Emily finding multiple stumbling blocks on her way home for the holidays, but don’t worry, there’s a friendly Simon there to help… and maybe love?
- Last minute add, h/t Navani, PBS is saving both Thanksgiving and Christmas, so getcher popcorn and buttered toast ready, as A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving airs tonight. If you miss it, it will be available for streaming on Disney+.