Worth Watching: Jim Gaffigan Abroad, ‘Kissing Booth 2,’ Rosamund Pike Is ‘Radioactive,’ ‘Central Park’ Finale, a Love-ly Musical Encore
A selective critical checklist of notable Friday TV:
Jim Gaffigan: The Pale Tourist (streaming on Amazon Prime Video): Funny has no borders. Disproving the “Ugly American” cliché, droll stand-up maestro Jim Gaffigan wows audiences around the world during a global tour in which he immerses himself in another country’s customs, food and culture — then assembles a full-length set of all-new material. This two-part special shows him working full houses in Ontario, Canada — cue the poutine jokes — and Barcelona, Spain, getting them to laugh at themselves. Like during his ode to the siesta: “I’ve always felt shame about napping. I’m like: Oh, I’m lazy. But now I realize: I’m Spanish.”
The Kissing Booth 2 (streaming on Netflix): The sequel to the popular teen rom-com tackles a new hurdle: the long-distance relationship. Elle (Joey King) spent a blissful summer with reformed bad-boy Noah (Jacob Elordi), but now that he’s a freshman away at Harvard, they’re both drawn to new potential love interests, forcing Elle to make some tough decisions of the heart. It was so much easier when it was all about the kiss.
Radioactive (streaming on Amazon Prime Video): Don’t worry, this isn’t another superhero-powered-by-radiation action movie — although to many scientists, Marie Curie is regarded as something of a feminist superhero. Played by Gone Girl‘s Rosamund Pike, the biopic presents the Polish-born physicist as a pioneer in a male-dominated field in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. With husband Pierre (Sam Riley), she discovers the elements radium and polonium, ushering in a new era. You know the name. Now get to know the woman.
Central Park (streaming on Apple TV+): I love a good musical, and this charmingly tuneful animated comedy has been a delight throughout its first season. For the finale, no less a Broadway musical star than six-time Tony winner Audra McDonald lends her voice to the show-stopper “New York Doesn’t Like Your Face” (co-written by Fiona Apple) as a likability consultant who has her work cut out for her in softening the image of crass moneybags Bitsy (Stanley Tucci). The Tillerman family has a crisis of its own, as they all head to the Harlem Meer in search of the dreaded fish from hell known as the snakehead.
Mark Duplass on Putting Himself in 'Room 104's Final Season & Whether the Motel Door Is Shut for Good
She Loves Me (9/8c, PBS, check local listings at pbs.org): If musicals are your thing, you can’t do better than this sparkling Great Performances rebroadcast from 2017, presenting the Roundabout Theatre Company’s Tony-winning revival of the jewel-box 1960s musical from Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick (Fiddler on the Roof). Tony nominees Zachary Levi (Chuck) and Laura Benanti (Nashville) star as combative co-workers in a Budapest perfume shop who don’t realize they’re actually secret pen pals. Broadway may have gone dark until sometime in 2021, but She Loves Me reminds us of the delights waiting for everyone when it’s safe to go back inside a theater.
Inside Friday TV:Cedric the Entertainer hosts the return of CBS’s The Greatest #At-Home Videos (8/7c). The first special, presented during the nationwide quarantine, was such a success that four new specials were ordered. Celebrity guests shown in viral moments include Arnold Schwarzenegger, Tracee Ellis Ross, Luke Bryan and Kylie Jenner, with Motown great Smokey Robinson and ace skateboarder Tony Hawk also making appearances… ABC News correspondent Bob Woodruff and son Mack go on an inspirational international Rogue Trip (streaming on Disney+) in a six-part series from National Geographic. The father and son visit regions known for conflict — including Colombia, Ethiopia, Pakistan, Lebanon and Ukraine — to explore their natural splendor… HBO’s eclectic anthology Room 104 (11/10c) returns for its fourth and final season. Series co-creator Mark Duplass wrote, directed and stars in the opener, “The Murderer,” as an elusive musician who invites a young man (Logan Miller) and his friends into the titular room to hear him sing about some very dark deeds.