What's on TV


Sunday 5/4

The Gin Game (PBS, check local listings): Comedy icons Dick Van Dyke and Mary Tyler Moore reunite in D.L. Coburn's Pulitzer Prize-winning play about two belligerent seniors living in a run-down nursing home. Hume Cronyn and Jessica Tandy created the roles on Broadway in 1977. TV-14

Lucy (CBS, 8-11 p.m.): The biopic about the legendary comedienne is informative about what showbiz was like in the '20s through the '50s. This film spends a lot of time on Lucy's marriage to Desi Arnaz - a complicated and unhappy one for the most part. Danny Pino as Desi has little to do besides drink a lot and womanize. But Rachel York warms to the task of imitating TV's first female screwball comic. Watching Lucy learn how to make faces in the mirror is worth the entire three hours. TV-PG

The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone (Showtime, 8-10 p.m., encores through the month): Based on the novella by Tennessee Williams, this troubling film stars the great Helen Mirren as a has-been Broadway actress who retires from the stage just before her husband dies. Intelligent as she is, seeing through the machinations of a "contessa" who keeps a stable of gigolos, Mrs. Stone nevertheless takes up with one of these young men (Olivier Martinez) - to her sorrow. If it were anyone but Williams, the story would amount to sentimental slop. But there is a delicacy in his touch that reveals much about the human condition at the mercy of false expectations. (For mature viewers. Includes nudity, strong language, and sex). TV-MA

Tuesday 5/6

Complicated Women (TCM, 8-9 p.m.): Hosted by Jane Fonda, this lively documentary precedes a 26-film festival of movies made in the '20s and '30s that predated the Hays Code, which determined what was acceptable to show on film. The documentary reveals fascinating facts about the women of these films - Norma Shearer, Mae West, Greta Garbo, Barbara Stanwyck, and Claudette Colbert. They broke through stereotypes - and they dished out plenty of sass. What the film fails to point out, however, is that these women may have played loose characters - but somehow the characters morally redeemed themselves by selfless acts. The films air Tuesdays May 6-May 27.

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