Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

I May Destroy You hosts a birthday party, which will probably still wreck us somehow

Michaela Coel stars in I May Destroy You
Michaela Coel stars in I May Destroy You
Photo: Natalie Seery/HBO

Here’s what’s happening in the world of television for Monday, July 20. All times are Eastern. 

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Top pick

I May Destroy You (HBO): I May Destroy You recently finished up its U.K. run, but we here in the States are still following along week to week. The plot descriptions never give up much: This week, Arabella (Michaela Coel) takes on a new job with Theo (Harriet Webb) while she continues to struggle to finish her book. Terry (Weruche Opia) has a birthday party. See what we mean? These synopses elide what actually happens, so to properly prepare you for tonight’s emotional devastation, here’s Ashley Ray-Harris on last week’s episode: “We need victimhood to be this perfect thing, don’t we? So far, Arabella, Kwame, and Terry have all been ‘perfect’ victims. Their attacks were all examples of crimes perpetrated by strangers and there’s little that gets in the way of the audience feeling sympathy for them. In reality, victimhood is not this simple. Victims can be imperfect and still be worthy of support and well-being. ‘The Alliance’ is the story of an imperfect victim. It’s a complicated episode and it’s also another welcomed departure from Arabella’s story. I May Destroy You isn’t in a rush to unlock Arabella’s journey.”

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Stargirl (DC Universe, 9:00 a.m.)

Wild card: Catch-up edition

Royal Pains (Peacock, all episodes streaming) If you’re looking for a breezy show that allows you to feel like you’re enjoying the beach and fancy restaurants without needing to socially distance, check out this old USA gem. Royal Pains follows Hank (Mark Feuerstein) and Evan (Paulo Costanzo) Lawson as they establish a concierge medical service in the Hamptons while living out of a mysterious European billionaire’s pool house. The show has some mild mysteries, but the main narrative thrusts come from the Lawson brothers’ relationships with each other and the Hamptons community. Noel Murray wrote of its 100th episode: “Some cultural archaeologists will stumble on Royal Pains. And what will they say? Will USA’s medical dramedy be looked at as a small gem that never got its due? Or will the TV watchers of the future be shocked to discover that this show that was never a phenomenon—and was barely acknowledged by critics, recappers, or awards voters—was on the air for eight seasons?”

Sulagna Misra has written for The Cut, The Hairpin, and The Toast, as well as other publications that don't start with "the." She writes about what she thinks about when she’s not paying attention. She’s on Twitter so she can not pay attention more effectively.

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