American Experience offers warts-and-all portrait of controversial president JFK 

bY Dean robbins

I’m powerless to resist a documentary about John F. Kennedy. Though I’m well aware of the late president’s faults, I’m drawn in by his charisma every time. I cheer his triumphs and bemoan his tragedies. And I always respond to images of the assassination as if I’m seeing them for the first time.

In other words, I’m not the guy to ask for an objective assessment of JFK, PBS’s two-part profile (8 p.m. Monday and Tuesday). Predictably, I think it’s wonderful. American Experience assembles enough gorgeous photos, intimate film footage and perceptive commentary to keep a Kennedy fanatic happy for hours.

I can tell you that, to judge from Monday night’s part one, the documentary is far from a puff piece. We get a good look at JFK’s bad side, including his legendarily reckless adultery. After his first year of marriage to Jacquelyn Kennedy, we learn, she was walking around “looking like the survivor of an airplane crash.”

Guinness World Records Unleashed thurSDaY, 8 p.m. (trutv) In
this series, Americans try their luck at breaking Guinness world
records — the dumb ones that exist only because people dreamed them up.
The season premiere features a run at the record for Most Spaghetti
Eaten in One Minute Through the Nose. A woman tries for the Most Rope
Skipped in One Minute with a Foot Behind the Head. And a dude breaks the
record for the Most Kicks in One Minute to One’s Own Head.

By the end of the season, I predict the United States will break the record for Most Idiots in One Country.

Raising Hope FrIDaY, 8 p.m. (FOx) As a sitcom specializing in dumb characters, Raising Hope has some competition from new series in 2013-14 (The Millers, Mom). Still,
in season four, it continues to find creative ways to befuddle the
clueless Chance family. The season premiere focuses on Virginia Chance
(Martha Plimpton), who discovers that her birth father (Jeffrey Tambor)
is a gay intellectual with sophisticated tastes. Virginia and husband
Burt (Garret Dillahunt) gamely accompany him to French art films and
sushi restaurants, but they don’t feel comfortable in such rarefied
pursuits. Meanwhile, Dad labels any criticism of himself as homophobia.

How will this conflict end? The only thing I’ll reveal is that the resolution is dumb. I mean that in the best way.

MTV Europe Music Awards SuNDaY, 6 p.m. (mtv) In my preview of last August’s MTV Video Music Awards, I
predicted that Lady Gaga would overshadow all the other performers,
adding, “I think it’s safe to say that on Monday morning, no one will be
talking about Miley Cyrus.”

Of
course, Miley Cyrus was all people talked about on Monday morning —
well, and maybe me, in passing, just to note what a fool I am. … Oh,
never mind. I will make no predictions about tonight’s MTV Europe Music Awards.

Killing Kennedy SuNDaY, 7 p.m (Nat. GeOGraphIc chaNNel) Bill
O’Reilly executive produces this TV movie based on his best-selling
book about the 1963 presidential assassination. Rob Lowe opts for a
broad Boston accent in the role of John F. Kennedy, but the stunt falls
short of the intended effect. Instead, you can only think, “Rob Lowe is
really trying to sound like Kennedy.”

Killing Kennedy’s coarse
approach matches its coarse title. It parallels the lives of Oswald and
Kennedy over the course of three years, pouring on the ominous music.
The characters are merely puppets yanked through early-’60s political
crises and a sensationalized murder. On the 50th anniversary of JFK’s
death, Killing Kennedy turns tragedy into trash.

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