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On The Tube

Feb 16, 2012
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By Dean Robbins

Clinton’s soap-opera presidency

In 2008, “American Experience” presented a whitewashed portrait of President George H.W. Bush’s presidency, presumably to avoid Republican charges of liberal bias. Bush’s successor, Bill Clinton, gets a more balanced treatment in a new two-part documentary (Monday, 8 p.m.; and Tuesday, 7 p.m.). I guess PBS doesn’t worry about Democratic charges of conservative bias.

In any case, “Clinton” is the juiciest soap opera you’ll see on TV all week. In hindsight, Bill Clinton looks like an outsized character from American folklore, with his string of catastrophes and reversals of fortune.

The documentary doesn’t stint on sin, particularly Clinton’s love of the ladies. But commentators across the political spectrum can’t help acknowledging his gifts, both intellectual and political.

Part one focuses on the monumental failures of his first two years, from the scandals to the foreign policy missteps to the health-care fiasco. When gleeful Republicans won both house of Congress at the midterms, it looked like a comeback was finally beyond Clinton’s reach.

Or did it? Part one ends with a quote from cabinet member Robert Reich: “Bill Clinton was constitutionally incapable of not coming back.”

‘Ice Loves Coco’

Sunday, 9:30 p.m. (E!)

“Keeping Up with the Kardashians” presumes to entertain us by simply turning the cameras on a banal semi-celebrity family. “Ice Loves Coco,” which begins its second season, works a bit harder to justify its existence.

Rapper/actor Ice T and blond-bombshell wife Coco merrily turn reality TV into unreality TV. Ice is adept at playing the part of a doting husband. Meanwhile, Coco drapes her Jayne Mansfield curves in outfits that make Nicki Minaj look understated. Each episode features an amiably trumped-up situation, set to punchy brass on the soundtrack.

In other words, “Ice Loves Coco” is a cartoon — and a fun one. Bugs Bunny, eat your heart out. CV



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