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

Padma Lakshmi invites you to Taste The Nation

Emiliano Marentes, Padma Lakshmi
Emiliano Marentes, Padma Lakshmi
Photo: Dominic Valente (Hulu)

Here’s what’s happening in the world of television for Thursday, June 18. All times are Eastern.


Top pick

Taste The Nation With Padma Lakshmi (Hulu, 3:01 a.m., complete first season): “It’s no wonder that the best American food shows are those that whisk hosts off to other countries. It’s there, not in the States, that they can actually investigate the culinary traditions that form the amorphous patchwork of American cuisine, which is defined primarily by how it’s adopted the recipes and techniques of other cultures… Taste The Nation, a new food travel show from Hulu, directly engages with this notion, asking point-blank just what, exactly, American food is. By focusing specifically on the immigrant groups that have seen their native dishes appropriated, as well as the ways in which they seek to preserve those original traditions, it inches toward an answer more complex than ‘fast food.’ Episodes dig into the evolutions of Japanese cuisine in Honolulu, Persian fare in Los Angeles, and burritos in the border city of El Paso, and while some old traditions are seeing a back-to-basics resurgence in the U.S., others, like those of the Gullah Geechee in Charleston, South Carolina, are working to keep them alive in their own communities.” Click here to read the rest of Randall Colburn’s pre-air review.

Regular coverage

Top Chef (Bravo, 10 p.m.): season-17 finale drop-in

Wild cards

Bully. Coward. Victim.: The Story Of Roy Cohn (HBO, 9 p.m., documentary special): “The second recent documentary focused on Roy Cohn, Bully. Coward. Victim.: The Story Of Roy Cohn is as stuffed and jumbled as its title’s punctuation. Despite this, the film manages to inject some genuine personality into its Wiki reckoning of Cohn’s cursed résumé… Cohn was publicly anti-gay, summered in popular gay destination Provincetown, and died of AIDS; he was Jewish and pushed to make a specifically deadly example out of Jewish Communists Julius and Ethel Rosenberg. These self-loathing contradictions aren’t rare—outed homophobes became such a headline staple that it’s turned into a lazy trope—but they’ve rarely been so bold. The documentary’s title (taken from Cohn’s square on the AIDS Memorial Quilt) promises stark ideological juxtapositions and the epitaph epigraph doesn’t disappoint.” Click here to read the rest of Jacob Oller’s pre-air review.

Cleanin’ Up the Town: Remembering Ghostbusters (Crackle, 3:01 a.m.): For a documentary of a very different stripe—they pretty much only have the ’80s and New York in common—turn to Crackle for this look back at the 1984 film Ghostbusters. It includes interviews with more than 40 members of the cast and crew, and precisely zero fear of no ghosts.

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!