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The Televisionist, Dec. 16



Dirty Jobs: Holiday Special

9 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 21

The Discovery Channel

While you're sitting there this year after Christmas dinner, stuffed with ham, figgy pudding and eggnog, one of the things you should take time to remember is how much blood, sweat and tears it took to assemble the things that have turned you into a cinnamon-scented slug, crawling toward the recliner. That's where Mike Rowe with the Discovery Channel show "Dirty Jobs" comes in, with this holiday special. We've come to really love Rowe's weekly foray into the world of filthy work, even if we can't always stand to watch the show on a full stomach. This week, in a show dedicated to showing the dirtier side of the Christmas season, Rowe revisits a slate of holiday-themed dirty jobs, including catching gobblers at a turkey farm, shoveling the leavings of Dasher, Dancer, Donner and Vixen at a reindeer ranch, skimming up cranberries in a New England cranberry bog, and wrangling the hogs that eventually give up the ghost in order to supply that delicious holiday ham. This Christmas, we're most thankful that we don't have to be involved in any of that except when it comes time to chow down.


7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 18

The National Geographic Channel

If you're lucky enough to have the National Geographic Channel, you know that the show "National Geographic Explorer" is, week to week, some of the best educational and historic programming on TV. This week's installment is no different. Since he was young, author, poet and punk rocker Henry Rollins (formerly the frontman of the pioneering band Black Flag) has struggled with rage issues. In this special, Rollins tries to find out why, focusing on a recently-discovered genetic defect which scientists have called "The Warrior Gene." A single malfunctioning gene on the X chromosome (women have two X chromosomes, and thus two copies of this gene, which makes it much less likely both of theirs will go haywire) the Warrior Gene seems to be hugely prevalent in those prone to violence, aggression and uncontrollable anger. Here, Rollins talks to violent and anti-social men from all walks of life, including ex-cons, gang members, outlaw bikers and others about the topic of anger, and then tests them — and himself — to see whether or not they have the Warrior Gene. On the table for discussion: Will therapies centered around this gene eventually provide the silver bullet for unchecked and self-destructive aggression? And even if they can, should we use it?

— David Koon

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