The Kennedy Center picks Billy Joel over Jerry Lee Lewis 

BY DEAN ROBBINS

This year’s Kennedy
Center Honors (8 p.m. Sunday, CBS) celebrates jazz innovator Herbie
Hancock, guitarist Carlos Santana, movie star Shirley MacLaine, opera
singer Martina Arroyo and pianist Billy Joel for their contributions to
American culture. I was going to maintain a discreet silence about the
choice of honorees, having tired of making the case for the perennially
overlooked Jerry Lewis year after year. But, dammit, the Kennedy Center
has gone out of its way to provoke me by choosing Billy Joel over a much
more deserving pop pianist: Jerry Lee Lewis, the outlaw genius behind
“Whole Lotta Shakin’ Going On” and “Great Balls of Fire.”

I
suspect the Kennedy Center passed over Jerry Lee Lewis for the same
reason it passes over Jerry Lewis: a hint of disrespectability. I say,
God help American culture if it consisted entirely of respectable
artists like Billy Joel.

Breaking Bad marathon 11 a.m. FrIDaY thrOuGh mONDaY (amc) AMC runs every episode of the now-classic series about Walter White (Bryan Cranston), the high school chemistry teacher turned meth kingpin. The network did the same thing in September, leading up to the muchanticipated finale. Back then, though, we didn’t know how the series was going to end when we watched episodes 1-61.

Now we do, and it’s bound to transform the experience of sitting through the whole run. Episode 62 confirmed Walter as a man rather than simply a monster. It was a 75-minute masterpiece, establishing Breaking Bad as a tragedy for the ages. Let’s start with episode 1 and retrace Walter’s path to what seems an inevitable conclusion.

The Wrong Woman 7 p.m. SaturDaY (lIFetIme) God bless Lifetime for premiering an original movie during a week of wall-to-wall reruns. The title is a conscious echo of Alfred Hitchcock, with the production substituting a Lifetime-appropriate “wrong woman” for Hitchcock’s “wrong man” prototype. Ellen (Danica McKellar) is a normal wife and mother who suddenly finds herself arrested for murder. The evidence appears undeniable, to the point where even her husband begins to believe it.

Whodunnit?

Treme 8 p.m. SuNDaY (hbO) Set
in New Orleans post- Hurricane Katrina, this most musical of series has
always taken a Dixieland approach to storytelling: It weaves multiple
plotlines into a pleasing polyphony. Appropriately, the series finale
occurs during Mardi Gras 2009, in a city rendered phantasmagorical by
masks, feathers, beads, percussion and parades.

Treme fans
will not be surprised to learn that the sprawling subplots avoid
profound conclusions. Pot-smoking Davis (Steve Zahn) toys with maturity;
high school music teacher Antoine (Wendell Pierce) plays a gig with Dr.
John; violinist Annie (Lucia Micarelli) resists selling out.

Given the devastated city we came to know in season one, however, that’s a profound conclusion in and of itself.

Getting On 9:15 p.m. SuNDaY (hbO) When
it premiered last month, I called this hospital series “arguably the
least enjoyable HBO comedy of all time.” I figured everyone would feel
the same way about the tale of pathetic doctors and nurses ministering
to pathetic terminal patients in the bleakest hospital ward imaginable.
Imagine my surprise to see critics falling all over themselves to praise
Getting On.

Clearly,
I needed to give the series a second chance, so I tuned into this
week’s season finale. But I have to say, San Francisco Chronicle, I
perceived no poignancy and definitely no hilarity as grotesque patient
Cordelia (Irma P. Hall) screamed and spit at the nurse giving her a
bath.

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