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

Welcome to the House Of Ho

Illustration for article titled Welcome to the House Of Ho
Image: HBO Max

Here’s what’s happening in the world of television for Thursday, December 10. All times are Eastern. 

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Top pick

House Of Ho (HBO Max, 3:01 a.m., complete first season): “Though the series employs familiar devices like talking head interviews, a glamorous opening theme song introducing the family members like characters on a scripted show, and punny episode titles (‘Ho Sweet Home,’ ‘Ho Lotta Gossip’), it’s more straightforward documentary than a soap opera or scripted reality show. There’s no sugarcoating of the strict collectivist (and sexist) expectations of family patriarch Binh and his wife Hue, and the iron grip they have on the lives of their adult children Judy and Washington, as well as their daughter-in-law Lesley. Viewers seeking an entertaining romp through the privileged lives of an incredibly wealthy Asian family will be in for a rude awakening—the series is less about clashing values within different equally outspoken generations than it is an uncomfortable glimpse into how traditional patriarchal structures continue to make the lives of women absolutely miserable, even in the wealthiest families.” Read the rest of Priyanka Bose’s pre-air review.

Regular coverage

Star Trek: Discovery (CBS All Access, 3:01 a.m.)

From Film Club

Let Them All Talk (HBO Max, 3:01 a.m., streaming premiere): “Set almost entirely onboard the Queen Mary 2, Cunard’s trans-Atlantic ocean liner, Steven Soderbergh’s latest film boasts the relaxed, improvisational vibe of a temporary diversion—the sort of thing one might cook up to help pass the time during an extended voyage. Let Them All Talk’s screenplay is credited to renowned short-story writer Deborah Eisenberg—a six-time winner of the O. Henry Award—but she reportedly created only the characters and a rough outline of potential plot developments, leaving the dialogue to be invented by the cast. (Eisenberg’s story doesn’t involve gossip to be ignored, so the film’s title seems to be a tongue-in-cheek reference to this process.) Making up your movie as you go along, to any extent, is always risky; the hope is that you’ll gain in playful spontaneity more than you’ll lose in artful precision. In this case, the gamble mostly pays off, even if a lot of what happens does feel slightly random.” Read the rest of Mike D’Angelo’s film review.

Holiday stuff

12 Dates Of Christmas (HBO Max, 3:01 a.m., two episodes, first-season finale): Insecure’s Natasha Rothwell offers the same kind of amusing voice-over commentary heard on Netflix reality shows like Too Hot To Handle and The Circle, but a lot funnier. Rothwell is the audience stand-in: She’s watching all of this while drinking wine and eating popcorn just like the rest of us, self-deprecatingly poking fun at her own love life. She offers commentary, aided by hindsight, like, ‘Oh, a masked ball! Or as you say in 2020, a ball.’ During the admittedly painful karaoke session, she quips, ‘Oh hang on, I think my ears just threw up!’ And even if Rothwell’s one-liners begin to falter, there’s still the pleasure of watching spectacularly good-looking people go skiing and sledding in an idyllic, picturesque pre-COVID winter.” Read the rest of Gwen Ihnat’s pre-air review.

Haute Dog (HBO Max, 3:01 a.m., holiday special): The dog-grooming competition series returns, presumably just so that someone can make a really cute doggo look like Santa Claus.

Wild card

One Night Only: The Best Of Broadway (NBC, 8 p.m.): Broadway’s houses might be dark, but several of its most exciting casts return to perform in the streets of Manhattan in this two-hour special. Expect performances from the casts of Ain’t Too Proud: The Life And Times Of The Temptations, Chicago, Jagged Little Pill, and Mean Girls.

Contributor, The A.V. Club and The Takeout. Allison loves TV, bourbon, and overanalyzing social interactions. Please buy her book, How TV Can Make You Smarter (Chronicle, 2020). It’s short!