Ellen Gray: Thanksgiving viewing beyond football

Grant Bowler (left) and Lindsay Lohan star in "Liz & Dick."
Grant Bowler (left) and Lindsay Lohan star in "Liz & Dick."
Posted: November 21, 2012

THERE'S MORE reason than usual to keep politics off the Thanksgiving menu this year: Even if every member of your family is thankful for the re-election of President Obama, the spirit of the holiday doesn't extend to gloating, whatever MSNBC pundits believe.

Grousing? Even less festive. Fox News will be there on Friday.

So what's left on the table beyond football? Television.

Everyone watches TV, or will be happy to talk - for hours - about why they don't. Here are a few other TV Talking Points:

"Liz & Dick."A "Saturday Night Live"-worthy performance by Lindsay Lohan makes this much-anticipated/dreaded Elizabeth Taylor-Richard Burton biopic (9 p.m. Sunday, Lifetime) even worse than I, at least, had imagined. Lohan looks as if she'd raided her grandmother's closet (and a Sephora outlet) and delivers her lines in her usual rasp.

Taylor drunk would have enunciated better, but no one speaks for her in "Liz & Dick." Grant Bowler, who does a passable Burton, appeared in one video calling Lohan "pretty much Elizabeth Taylor reincarnated." Lucky for him the math doesn't work: A reincarnated Taylor might drive over him in Lohan's car.

But just because the movie's a multi-vehicle pileup doesn't mean it can't promote family discussion as grandparents explain that Taylor wasn't just that big-haired friend of Michael Jackson who once voiced Maggie on "The Simpsons," and their grandchildren fill them in on the ways Lohan's offscreen life does and doesn't resemble Taylor's.

Afterward, everyone could watch a home-video double feature: Lohan's "The Parent Trap" and Taylor's "National Velvet."

"My Brother the Serial Killer."Probably only for the adult table and for families who appreciate Showtime's "Dexter," this Thanksgiving Eve documentary (9 p.m. Wednesday, Investigation Discovery) presents the case of Glen Rogers, a death-row inmate whose victims, his brother Clay believes, include Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman.

Clay Rogers' theory doesn't exonerate O.J. Simpson, who's already been acquitted, but it does raise questions.

And beyond giving us reasons to be thankful the sibling passing the cranberry sauce probably won't be implicated in more than 70 murders, "My Brother the Serial Killer" offers a realistic look at a phenomenon TV too often associates more with high intelligence than low impulse control.

What's on your DVR? Like asking someone - five years ago - what's on their iPod, it's a question likely to elicit revealing (if not mildly embarrassing) answers, assuming people tell the truth.

Who's watching (or hoarding) "Say Yes to the Dress?" Who's still sticking with "Glee"? And what have people recorded every week that they may never get around to watching? Food for thought: Nielsen estimates 46 percent of its sample households now have DVRs. And TV Guide reported last month that if time-shifted viewing were a network, it would be No. 1 in total viewers.

Email: graye@phillynews.com

Phone: 215-854-5950

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