Watching: Three Fun Shows

If you need a little pep in your step …

By Margaret Lyons

Dear Watchers,

Amanda Seyfried will star as the disgraced Theranos founder, Elizabeth Holmes, in the upcoming Hulu mini-series “The Dropout,” replacing Kate McKinnon in the role. I can’t wait.

Have a safe and lovely week.

Wash me on the gentle cycle

Patric Richardson, right, helps Brittany Kennedy clean a favorite jacket.Discovery+

‘The Laundry Guy’

When to watch: Arrives Wednesday, on Discovery+.

“You do laundry for people you love; I love a lot of people,” says Patric Richardson, the laundry expert and affable host of this surprisingly tender new show. Think “The Repair Shop,” but garments. Richardson meets with distressed people whose special pieces — her mom’s wedding dress, his old varsity jacket — are in states of stained ill-repair, and then he coaches them through a diagnostic process and a thorough cleaning and restoration. “Good Eats”-style tips and tricks abound, though the occasional asides about general hospitality and hosting feel unnecessary: Just give us that sweet, sweet laundry action.


If you want to read more about the weird spot laundry occupies in our domestic chores, read this Vox article. And if you want to read more about the weird spot HGTV and Discovery+ occupy in our domestic imaginations, read this New Yorker article.

I want something fun and bright

A scene from Season 4 of “The Great Pottery Throw Down.”Love Productions/HBO Max

‘The Great Pottery Throw Down’

When to watch: Seasons 4 arrives Thursday, on HBO Max. (The other three seasons are already available.)


Season 4 of this spinoff of “The Great British Baking Show” keeps everyone’s favorite judge, the earnest and sometimes weepy expert potter Keith Brymer Jones; promotes the kiln guy from previous seasons, Richard Miller, to judge; and swaps in the “Derry Girls” actress Siobhán McSweeney as host. The show remains a shining beacon of artistry and camaraderie, so great moves all around. One of my favorite aspects of “Pottery Throw Down” is that the contestants seem to be having fun even though the circumstances are strange and stressful (especially for a season done within a pandemic bubble). You cannot have a bad time watching this show.

Honestly, I just want ‘Top Chef’ to come back

A new season of “Top Chef” starts this week.David Moir/Bravo

‘Top Chef’

When to watch: Thursday at 8 p.m., on Bravo.

Well then, great news: “Top Chef” is back with a pandemic go-round set in Portland, Ore. This is the show’s 18th season, so format tweaks here and there barely register, and we can just experience the calm that exists only when “Top Chef” is airing. Hats off to the cheftestants brazen enough to cook scallops on the season premiere — this is the brave confidence we’ll all need to face new challenges ahead.


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Doc Severinsen Recalls High Notes, Low Notes and Everything in Between

The trumpeter and former “Tonight Show” bandleader tells tales from his personal life and his work with Johnny Carson in a new PBS documentary.

By Dave Itzkoff

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Drag Star Sasha Velour Lip-Syncs for Her Operatic Life

“The Island We Made,” Velour’s collaboration with the composer Angélica Negrón and the director Matthew Placek, is a meditation on motherhood.

By Zachary Woolfe

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Racist Moments in WWE Catalog Vanish in Move to Streaming Platform

Peacock, NBCUniversal’s streaming service, is now showing old and new episodes of WWE Network wrestling. Some troubling segments in the network’s history disappeared in the transfer.

By Maria Cramer

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Craig muMs Grant, Actor and Slam Poet, Dies at 52

He was a star of the HBO series “Oz” under the name muMs, which he also used on the poetry circuit both before and after finding success on television.

By Neil Genzlinger

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critic’s notebook

‘Kid 90’ and the Days When Even Wild TV Teens Had Privacy

A documentary from Soleil Moon Frye, star of “Punky Brewster,” and a reunion of “The Real World” remind us that Gen X didn’t curate themselves for mass consumption.

By Alexis Soloski

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The Boom and Bust of TikTok Artists

When a 60-second video can make you famous, is it any surprise that young creators would bypass art school? But what’s left of their careers when fans move on and copycats encroach?

By Zachary Small

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Critic’s notebook

When Tragedy Strikes, What Does Criticism Have to Offer?

It’s easier to find meaning in fiction than in the senseless mass killings of our reality, which seem to render the critical perspective pointless, even silly, at times.

By Maya Phillips

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16 Global Design Concepts for an Unpredictable Future

The challenges of the past year gave designers every reason to recede into the shadows, but creativity won’t be denied.

By Julie Lasky, Lila Allen and Lauren Messman

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