KATHY GRIFFIN: STRONG BLACK WOMAN
Bravo Tuesday, May 9 (9 p.m. ET/8 p.m. CT)
To satiate the tastes of My Life on the D-List disciples until the series’ second season this summer, Bravo is offering up an hour-long special featuring that show’s star Kathy Griffin. The comedienne, best-known for her roasts of red-carpet regulars and as a self-proclaimed Hollywood bottom feeder, received a shot of adrenaline for her career with the D-List “celebreality” series. In Strong Black Woman, she takes to the stage and schmoozes about Tinseltown, from its tackiest (Tom Cruise) to its tiniest (Dakota Fanning).
Similar to her D-List schtick, Griffin’s stand-up is full of no-holds-barred dishing on L.A.’s greatest and lamest. Her routine develops like an organic tête-à-tête, flowing from musings on celebrity rehab to a run-in with none other than Steven Spielberg to guilty pleasures provoked by Oprah. Griffin, as if sitting down for a cup of joe with everyone in the audience, even acknowledges her current marital struggles with her husband, Matt, who appeared frequently in the series. She also keeps a personal pulse throughout, diverting from the Hollywood scene to offer the dish on an eventful weekend in Palm Springs with her dogs.
Watching Griffin get her gab on is like sharing a fresh, glossy copy of US Weekly with one snarky, sassy diva. Consistent with Bravo’s lighthearted lineup of pseudo-star reality shows, the special may not reel in viewers not acclimated to Griffin, but will certainly strike a chord with current fans of this self-proclaimed “strong black woman.” —Maressa Brown
Showtime Friday, May 12 (8 p.m. ET/PT)
Award-winning filmmaker Nicole Conn’s heartbreaking documentary Little Man is an uncompromising descent into a family’s nightmare. It’s a documentary about a lot of things: maternal love, modern medicine, marriage and quality of life among them. Most of all, it’s about Nicholas, a remarkable boy born 100 days premature weighing just one pound, whose spirit to live keeps defying the odds.
When life partners Conn and Gwen Baba, already parents of a two-year-old daughter, decided to have a second child by surrogacy, Conn (writer and director of the film Claire of the Moon) decided to chronicle their experiences on film. But she wound up documenting a very different story when a 20-week sonogram revealed serious birth defects and it was discovered that the surrogate mother had concealed pre-existing medical conditions.
Conn’s camera is unflinching, and the scenes of baby Nicholas’ nearly 160 days in a Neonatology Intensive Care Unit will be too painful for some viewers to handle. Audiences will also be divided over Conn’s monolithic refusal to abort the pregnancy, ignoring the hospital’s advice and jeopardizing her relationship with Baba. But no one will dispute Conn’s overwhelming love for Nicholas or her courage in telling her family’s story with such relentless honesty. —George Vernadakis