Worth Watching: Nasim Pedrad Is ‘Chad,’ Parenthood on ‘This Is Us,’ Pam Dawber on ‘NCIS,’ ‘Soul’ Searching
A Saturday Night Live veteran taps into her inner 14-year-old with cringe-inducing results. A teenage romance challenges a mother’s perspective on This Is Us. And it’s a family affair when Pam Dawber guests on husband Mark Harmon’s hit NCIS.
Boys will be boys. And then there’s Chad, an irrepressible Iranian-American teen who reeks of the need to be popular, fit in and win over the cool kids as he enters high school. That he makes everything worse, as he escalates every missed social cue into a tantrum, is no surprise. That Saturday Night Live veteran Nasim Pedrad, who created and stars in the show, successfully and endearingly transforms herself into this often insufferable loser is the true revelation here.
This Is Us
The challenges of parenthood are a running theme in this emotional family drama, and that’s the case in a lighter-than-usual episode in which Toby (Chris Sullivan) adjusts to his stay-at-home-dad status while Kate (Chrissy Metz) starts her new job. For Beth (Susan Kelechi Watson), the adjustment to daughter Tess’s (Eris Baker) sexual orientation is more acute, when Tess’s non-binary friend pays a visit. The very busy Chris Geere, also currently recurring on A Million Little Things, guests as Kate’s teaching supervisor.
With a suspended Gibbs (Mark Harmon) in the doghouse, the rest of the team gets reassigned by Vance (Rocky Carroll, who directs the episode) to COVID compliance duty at a foreign affairs summit. Naturally, they discover a link to another case while on duty. As for Gibbs, expect some meta moments as he encounters investigative journalist Marcie Warren (played by real-life wife Pam Dawber). Could she be snooping into why he’s not on the job?
Soul of a Nation
The season finale of this timely docuseries is built around the theme of “Reconstruction,” with guest host Michael Kenneth Williams (The Wire) among those leading an exploration into the resilience of America’s Black communities through history. Among the segments: Steve Osunsami looks back at the Tulsa, Oklahoma race massacre a century ago, which is also the subject of his new ABC Audio podcast, Soul of a Nation: Tulsa’s Buried Truth, premiering today. Linsey Davis interviews Oscar nominee Andra Day (The United States vs. Billie Holiday), who also performs.
Inside Tuesday TV:
- Hemingway (8/7c, PBS, check local listings on pbs.org): The terrific Ken Burns–Lynn Novick documentary continues, covering the years from 1929-1944, when the newly famous Ernest Hemingway leverages his celebrity by traveling back to Europe to cover the Spanish Civil War.
- black-ish (9/8c, ABC): Almost no one thinks it’s a good idea—especially Dre (Anthony Anderson)—but Junior (Marcus Scribner) is determined to move in with Olivia (Katlyn Nichol). Their happiness could be short-lived, though, after she compares him to her dad.
- New Amsterdam (10/9c, NBC): No one can say Dr. Max (Ryan Eggold) is lacking in ambition. His latest crusade: fixing systemic racism at New Amsterdam. Why stop there?
- Death in Paradise (streaming on BritBox): The escapist mystery-comedy is back for a 10th season of Caribbean hijinks, when DI Parker (Ralf Little) is joined by a familiar face from the past.