Tuned In

JPTV: What I'm Watching Tonight

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Top Chef has become a Tivo show for me this summer, recorded and saved for Thursday night to take the place of Survivor, as Pirate Master has so thoroughly failed to do. I spend Thursday carefully avoiding any spoilers. Therefore, I’m not reading the comments–la la la, I can’t hear you–until I’ve watched. But I’ve really gotten engrossed in this season, which I attribute to (1) the emergence of Hung as an entertaining but not totally off-putting villain, and (2) the possibility that, some episode, Howie will sweat so much in the kitchen that the judges will actually be able to taste it in his food. (“Lovely presentation. But a little… salty?”)

I may also try to sneak in another episode of HBO’s Tell Me You Love Me, of which I watched the first two last night. I have nothing to add to the great are-they-actually-having-sex-on-screen debate (expect that to come up in HBO’s press tour presentation today). But suffice it to say that it looks just as likely that they could be creating the impression with cuts and creative, er, props. And that you can see enough anatomy that they might just as well be. And that Lost fans will get to see Penny in the buff.

And that all that’s kind of beside the point: sex is integral to the story but it’s not the reason to watch. (See a surprisingly chaste trailer at YouTube.)The show is a low-key, sharply detailed character drama (about three couples in couples counseling) that looks and feels far more like an indie movie than a TV series. (It’s almost as unlike any HBO show you’ve seen as HBO shows are unlike broadcast TV shows.)

It’s also the kind of slow-build drama that I don’t want to judge until I’ve seen a lot more (though I’m much more eager to watch more episodes than I ever was for John from Cincinnati). Expect to hear a lot more about this show, here and elsewhere.