Dallas takes a front seat on TV with reality series and ‘Nightline’
Not since Paul Lynde and Truman Capote hosted comedy specials during Oscar Week have a few days of television seemed so gay. Fox’s Glee is in full blossom, two gay chefs have survived the chopping block on Top Chef: Las Vegas again and So You Think You Can Dance passed a same-sex couple into the next round.
But that’s just the returning. Here’s what’s all-new — and in one case, an end — in chronological order.
The longest continuously-running program in TV history (if you include its radio incarnation, a mind-boggling 72 years) — this daytime soap has finally met the axe. It comes to an end Friday … and that means an end to the same-sex romantic storyline between Olivia Spencer and Natalia Rivera. Fans will want to see how the plotline is resolved.
Friday at 10 a.m. on Ch. 11.
Lifetime, which already snagged Project Runway away from Bravo, seems to be making a bid as the new gay network (officially this time) with its TV movie Georgia O’Keeffe. Joan Allen plays the acclaimed American painter whose flowers have conjured sexual imagery and made her especially popular in the lesbian community.
The sexually liberated O’Keeffe was long-rumored to be bisexual, but the film concentrates on her relationship with Alfred Stieglitz. In that, it has a clipped, studied romanticism that lacks real passion.
Saturday at 8 p.m. on Lifetime.
Primetime Emmy Awards
After his success hosting the Tony Awards earlier this summer, the television academy tapped openly gay actor Neil Patrick Harris to emcee the Emmy Awards ceremony.
Harris will have the potential to preside over wins for nominated gay performers and gay-friendly shows including Brothers & Sisters (best actress in a drama nominee Sally Field), supporting actress in a drama Cherry Jones (who played the president of the U.S. on 24), The Sarah Silverman Program (best actress in a comedy for its star), Lifetime’s moving story of understanding Prayers for Bobby (Sigourney Weaver should be a shoo-in) … and even Harris himself, nominated for How I Met Your Mother.
Sunday at 7 p.m. on CBS.
Naughty Kitchen with Chef Blythe Beck
If the reviewer hated her service, chef Blythe Beck threatens one waiter, "I’ll use your balls as earrings."
Beck, who leads the kitchen at the Hotel Palomar’s Central 214, is the star of this new reality series, which has been filming in Dallas all summer. For anyone who knows Beck — and I count myself among her many "BFFs" — Blythe is authentically Blythe: on TV or off, she’s a foul-mouthed angel and a guileless devil, clad in Pepto-pink. And her personality comes through.
The opener is mostly concerned with Beck’s nervousness at being reviewed by the Dallas Morning News (and you get to meet DMN food writers Cathy Barber and Tina Danze, as well as Dali Wine Bar owner Paul Pinnell), but the fun is in seeing how Blythe deals with her staff, including Sam, a flamboyantly bitchy cocktail queen, and waiter Calvin, whom she anoints her favorite "man-cicle." (He’s waited on me; she’s absolutely correct.)
The Naughty Kitchen is unlike most other food shows in that it gets behind the real workings of a restaurant; the fact you get to see familiar sights and faces is just a plus. Hopefully the rest of the series will standup to the premiere. I could eat out at this kitchen every week.
Tuesday at 10 p.m. on Oxygen.
Dallas writer (and sometime Dallas Voice contributor) Jenny Block won a Lambda Literary Award earlier this year for her book Open about her open marriage to a man and long-term relationship with her girlfriend.
As Dallas Voice was going to press, Block was recording a segment in Grapevine for the ABC News program Nightline, which, with this episode, launches a new series about the 10 Commandments approached from a modern perspective. The topic? "Thou shalt not commit adultery." We can’t yet say how it will present Block or whether it will give a fair shake to open marriages or same-sex relationships for that matter; all we can say is, we’ll be watching.
Thursday at 10:35 p.m. on Ch. 8.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 18, 2009.