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The Televisionist, May 27


SOUP, HE SALES: Joel McHale looks back at 20 years of E! network.
  • SOUP, HE SALES: Joel McHale looks back at 20 years of E! network.

Begins 8 p.m. Thursday, May 27
Turner Classic Movies

Though African Americans have seen themselves maligned on film since literally the earliest days of cinema (D.W. Griffith's “Birth of a Nation” comes to mind), Native Americans haven't fared much better. Portrayed in countless westerns as ruthless killers, rapists and thieves in the early years, Native depictions have taken a turn (some might say a more patronizing turn) in the past few decades as filmmakers — both Native and non-Native — reassess the history of white/Native interactions and look more closely at what it is to be an American Indian in the United States today. Here, Turner Classic Movies finishes up its month-long series on race in film with a look at Native American depictions in cinema. Hosted by Robert Osborne and Professor Hanay Geiogamah of the American Indian Studies Center at UCLA, it's sure to be a provocative night of viewing. Kicking things off at 8 p.m. is the cult favorite “Nanook of the North” (1922), followed by “The Exiles” (1961), “Incident at Oglala” (1992), “Broken Rainbow” (1985), “The Silent Enemy” (1930) and “The Return of the Man called Horse” (1976).

9 p.m. Friday, May 28

Given that I don't get my kicks watching people be berated, humiliated and mentally pummeled for money, I'm no fan of reality TV. Given that, you wouldn't think I would be a fan of Gordon Ramsay, but I am. The British chef with the big mouth has turned himself into a TV institution in recent years, appearing in shows across the airwaves. He's particularly famous for his no-nonsense approach to dealing with those who fail to live up to his very high culinary standards. He gives no quarter to slackers and those who treat their food as anything less than a sacrament delivered for the salvation of the diner. As someone who loves a good meal — and who has often been served bad food simply because the person in the kitchen was too lazy to get it right — I can get behind a guy like that. Give 'em hell, Gordie! Here, Ramsay brings back his popular cooking reality show Hell's Kitchen for a seventh season. If you've seen “Survivor,” the format will be familiar: two teams of culinary artists face off in a series of challenges, with those who can't cut the mustard getting eliminated along the way. After the teams are whittled down sufficiently, the teams combine and then contestants duke it out one-on-one. Good fun, and great looking food. If only my TV had Smell-o-vision.

9 p.m. Friday, May 28

How do I love “The Soup”? Let me count the ways. The show that picked up the comic slack on E! after the much-beloved “Talk Soup” went off the air, “The Soup” is a weekly romp through the sticky, crotch-smelling hell that is American pop culture, circa 2010. With standing features like “Oprah's Vajay-jay,” “It's Lindsey (Lohan)” and completely bizarre clips from Mexican soap operas — their weirdness supplemented with a liberal dose of biting color commentary provided by host Joel McHale — it's a hilarious corner of the TV multi-verse and definitely must-see-TV around my household. Here, “The Soup” turns its withering glare on the show's parent network, looking at all the crap that's been fit to air on the E! Network over the channel's 20-year history. It's sure to be fun.

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