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Time to get into construction - gingerbread house construction.

PBS Primetime Programming for the Week of December 6

Last year, for the holidays, I made a pretty swell gingerbread house. I had never made one before, but in my desire to impart new traditions to my small but growing family I decided that a gingerbread house could be great. It was. It was truly excellent. Of course the first one didn't quite work out as I had hoped.

Sunday, December 6:

8:00 – 9:00PM

Nature – "The Dragon Chronicles." See, I find this a little amusing. A show entitled "Nature" is going to be looking for dragons, and I don't mean little komodo dragons, I mean the fire-breathing, flying kind. You know, the kind of dragon that goes after unsuspecting little hobbits.

9:00 – 11:00PM

Great Performances – “Barenboim on Beethoven”. He’s not actually on Beethoven, it’s more like he does Beethoven. Wait, that’s not quite right either. He’s not doing Beethoven as much as he’s performing Beethoven. Or, better still, Beethoven’s music, he’s doing Beethoven’s music. Oh forget it, I give up.

Monday, December 7:

8:00 – 9:00PM

Antiques Roadshow – “Mobile (Hour Three)”. I know what you’re thinking and you’re wrong (and, not funny, but who am I to throw stones) — this week’s episode is not literally on the road moving around, it’s in Alabama. But, I do want you to know that I appreciate the notion that you’d try and tell a joke, no matter how badly you failed at it. Good on you.

9:00 – 11:00PM

Andrew Jackson: Good, Evil and the Presidency. Andrew Jackson did some great things. Andrew Jackson did some terrible things. Andrew Jackson also did some presidential things. One must wonder whether he did more good, more evil, or more presidential. See, if you did the documentary on George W. Bush you couldn't really discuss two of those three areas.

Tuesday, December 8:

8:00 – 9:00PM

Nova – “Volcano Above the Clouds”. Back in 1980, Mount St. Helens erupted. It was a bad thing. Could Africa’s Mount Kilimanjaro suffer the same fate, destroying lands for hundreds of square miles around it? I think it should be circular miles, but maybe not.

9:00 – 10:00PM

Frontline – "The Madoff Affair." Law & Order has already done their episode on Madoff, so why not Frontline too? I assume that the Frontline version will be far more factual than L&O’s, and while that’s good it doesn’t return the money he stole, some of which, we all know, will be kept by his family for years on end.

10:00 – 11:00PM

Independent Lens – "Between the Folds." Theoretical scientists – is there anything they can't think about, is there anything that can't theorize? Well, this particular group of theoretical scientists, the ones featured in this program, have actually given up their scientific lives in academia in order to become paper-folders. That's right, they're theorizing and scientist-doing as paper-folders.

 

Wednesday, December 9:

8:00 – 9:00PM

L.A. Holiday Celebration 2009. PBS does this to us every single year. They're calling this the celebration for 2009 even though they filmed it back on Christmas Eve of 2008. I'm not saying that the celebration won't be enjoyable, there are over 1,000 performers here, I'm just saying that it's the 2008 celebration even if it's airing in 2009.

9:00 – 11:00PM

Jerusalem: Center of the World. Jerusalem is one of the most fought over and discussed cities in the world. It is important to three major religions, all of whom kind of feel it's "theirs," and who, at certain points in history, haven't minded shedding more than a little blood to keep it theirs. Watch what happened.

 

Thursday, December 10:

8:00 – 9:00PM

The This Old House Hour – Episode TBA. It’s This Old House and Ask This Old House. It’s like maintenance… for your home. Wait, no, that’s exactly what it is. That doesn’t mean it’s not awesome though. Seriously, The This Old House Hour is one of the finest home improvement hours on PBS. No joke.

9:00 – 10:00PM

Michael McDonald – This Christmas: A Soundstage Special Event. Michael McDonald sings Christmas songs! Michael McDonald sings regular songs! Michael McDonald sings both, but probably not at the exact same second even if he's singing them in the same special. And, for the record, he is singing them both in this special.

10:00 – 11:00PM

The Story of India – "The Meeting of Two Oceans." Michael Woods heads on a journey – and takes us along – through the history of the subcontinent. He examines the people, the place, and the culture. Tonight's hour explores Islam coming to the subcontinent and the Moghul Empire.

 

Friday, December 11:

8:00 – 8:30PM

Washington Week with Gwen Ifill and National Journal #4923. Another whole week has gone by and good old Gwen Ifill and National Journal are here to fill us in. For the record, I like to pretend the National Journal is a sidekick, like Robin to Batman, Starsky to Hutch, or chocolate sauce to Double Dutch Chocolate ice cream.

8:30 – 9:00PM

NOW on PBS #550. It’s the Emmy award-winning weekly news magazine. It looks at issues facing our democracy. The show is hosted by David Brancaccio. And, even better, they still send me e-mails (I think that makes me cool and them nice). Thanks, Now, you guys are awesome!

9:00 – 10:00PM

Bill Moyers Journal #1334 It’s Bill Moyers. It’s his 1,334th journal (not really, but I’m not going to explain to you the way in which TV shows are numbered at this point in time, maybe later if you’re nice). He’s a good journalist so I assume this will be good journalism (at least the odds are it will).

10:00 – 11:00PM

A Renaissance Christmas. It's a concert. It's people caroling. Specifically, it's Chicago's Music of the Baroque Chorus and Brass. They sing, they're brassy. They're doing Christmas music in the Chapel of the Holy Spirit. I may sound unimpressed, but I do love my Christmas music, so it's just how I sound, not what I think.

Saturday, December 12:

11:00PM – 12:00AM

Austin City Limits – "The Decemberists/Explosions in the Sky". Frankly I think there ought to be explosions in the sky during December. Mostly because it’s my birthday, which I think makes me a Decemberist, and to have explosions in the sky (I think of them as “fireworks”) during December would be just fantastic.

The problem with last year's gingerbread house – the first one – was that the roof was too heavy and so the walls couldn't support the weight of the roof. It was a problem I was able to fix by making the roof thinner and cooking the sides slightly longer, but it is also a mistake I'd like to not repeat this year. I need a better recipe, but I also need it to be wholly edible and delicious – if it's not edible, I'm not interested.

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About Josh Lasser

Josh has deftly segued from a life of being pre-med to film school to television production to writing about the media in general. And by 'deftly' he means with agonizing second thoughts and the formation of an ulcer.

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