I am fascinated by the machinations of mindless, transparent hype and like to stand by in giddy fascination when a major network makes a corporate fool of itself. It's in this spirit that I discuss "Victoria Beckham: Coming to America" (7 p.m., NBC).
This is at least the third NBC special this summer to treat American viewers as if we were still part of the 13 colonies. We've had Matt Lauer's interview with two British princes. Then there was the concert for Diana. Enter the Beckhams.
Victoria was once known as Posh, the glamorous member of the Spice Girls, a pop phenomenon during the irrational exuberance of the late 1990s. Her marriage to soccer star David Beckham made them both the toast of British trash journalism and the subjects of endless style, celebrity and gossip items that British trash journalists churn out with great gusto.
Victoria's famous husband has begun playing soccer for a Los Angeles club, and the famous couple have gone native by purchasing a Hollywood castle that costs about as much as the gross national product of Burundi.
NBC has decided to help them out by touting this curious puff piece as part of "the next British invasion." I think they may be overselling a bit here by alluding to the Beatles. The Fab Four were, after all, talented, witty and young. The Beckhams affect a different attitude.
The couple began their invasion with an interview and photo spread in a fashion magazine. Excerpts and pictures ricocheted around the Internet last week. Mr. and Mrs. Posh appear in their underwear and appear to be underfed and decidedly unhappy. Victoria scowls into the camera, affecting the sullen grimace of a cartoon rodent. But in the same article, she declares, "I am not a miserable cow." Thank you for clearing that up, Vick. She also promises that she will "smile more for America."
But will America smile back?
Tonight's other highlights
¢ Gordon Ramsay hosts two hours of "Hell's Kitchen" (7 p.m. and 8 p.m., Fox).
¢ Scheduled on "History Detectives" (7 p.m., PBS, check local listings): the finest silver from the north of Spain.
¢ Firefighters get pampered on "Extreme Makeover" (8 p.m., ABC).
¢ "Simon Schama's Power of Art" (8 p.m., PBS, check local listings) profiles Jacques-Louis David.
¢ An elderly stranger confesses to seven murders on "The Closer" (8 p.m., TNT).
¢ Room for one more family on "Big Love" (9 p.m., HBO).
¢ Chelsea Handler interprets entertainment news on the new nightly series "Chelsea Lately" (10:30 p.m., E!).
The documentary "Who Gets to Call It Art?" (8 p.m., Sundance) recalls New York Metropolitan Museum of Art curator Henry Geldzahler and his work with Andy Warhol, Jasper Johns, among others.