Here’s what’s happening in the world of television for Tuesday, December 18. All times are Eastern.
Ellen DeGeneres: Relatable (Netflix, 3:01 a.m.): A fascinating New York Times profile from last week offered a few hints as to what we can expect from Ellen DeGeneres’ first standup special in 15 years. Here’s a little taste:
... Yet the most jarring jokes in this special are those that subvert her reputation for kindness. After a lifetime of clean comedy, she startles her crowd with a curse. The comic Tig Notaro calls it “a decades-long payoff,” adding, “Then you’re like: Ellen’s a real person with a foul mouth.”
It’s not just a parade of curse words, however. It’s Ellen, what do you fuckin’ expect?
Instead, the through line of Relatable—co-directed by Notaro and Joel Gallen—is just what the title might suggest. In 64 minutes, DeGeneres explores the tension that exists between her status as the nice, approachable, dancing daytime lady, and the complex human being whose jokes aren’t always about cute animals and happy domestic stuff. There are still some cute animals in there, and yes, there’s some dancing, but this isn’t an hour-long talk show monologue. We’re ready for it.
Lidia Celebrates America: A Heartland Holiday Feast (PBS, 9 p.m.): From time to time, chef Lidia Bastianich sets out on the roads of these United States with PBS’ cameras in tow. This time around, her goal is to “explore how Americans representing diverse heritages are both preserving their own culinary traditions and transforming local cuisine.” And it’s festive! Informative, cheery, likely to make you hungry. Sounds perfect.