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Archive for Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Heidi, you’re out of touch

April 1, 2009

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CBS celebrates April Fools’ Day with a reverse “punk’d” scenario. Celebrities participate in hidden-camera high jinks on “I Get That a Lot” (7 p.m., CBS). Jeff Probst (“Survivor”) works at a supermarket checkout counter and is besieged by shoppers who think they recognize the guy from around the tribal-council campfire.

Probst fibs sheepishly and insists, “I get that a lot,” a line employed by fellow performers in similarly everyday situations, including LeAnn Rimes, Jessica Simpson, Ice-T and Mario Lopez.

Every segment ends with a pleasant “reveal,” where the celebrity in nondisguise finally admits that his or her adoring fans have been right all along and they’ve been on candid camera, or whatever.

Most of this is pretty harmless and mildly amusing. But the first segment, featuring Heidi Klum as a pizza-parlor clerk, crosses the line between mere slumming and clueless condescension. While chatting up a customer, Klum complains about her salary ($10.50 an hour) and wonders aloud if she should take up work at a strip club instead. She then goes through several clumsy pole-dancing maneuvers.

I’m sure the mothers watching this show with their daughters will be thrilled to see stripping as a plausible alternative to a regular job. And how are viewers who make an hourly wage ($10.50 far exceeds the federal minimum wage) supposed to feel about millionaire Klum’s dismissive attitude toward their work, their paychecks and their futures? This is not the segment to air when people are lining up at 4 a.m. for a job. Any job.

No, it’s not cool for a rich TV star to treat her audience with thoughtless contempt. But Klum just can’t help herself. When a feisty customer reveals that he is from New Jersey and is of Sicilian descent, the “Runway” host asks him casually, “Are you in the Mafia”?

• Ray Suarez hosts “Jerusalem: Center of the World” (8 p.m., PBS, check local listings), a survey history of the 4,000-year-old city that dates back to the Old Testament’s Abraham and the origins of monotheism. Along the way, we’re also offered a quick history of the three faiths that have laid claim to the city by spiritual, political and military means.

• The harrowing series “Locked Up Abroad” (9 p.m., National Geographic) enters a new 14-episode series with the tale of a tourist who runs afoul of Peruvian justice for carrying contraband in her luggage. Future episodes promise glimpses of rough justice in Mexico, Brazil, the Philippines and Venezuela.

• Queen Latifah and John Mayer appear on a prime-time “Sesame Street” (7 p.m., PBS, check local listings) aimed at military families.

• “Pedro” (7 p.m., MTV) recalls the life of Pedro Zamora, a veteran of “The Real World” who brought awareness to HIV and AIDS when he was on the reality series. He died in 1994.

• “The Final Inch” (7 p.m., HBO2) documents efforts to eradicate polio from the world, more than half a century after it was stamped out in the developed world.

Tonight’s other highlights

• David Cook and Lady Gaga perform on the “American Idol” (8 p.m., Fox) results show.

• Jack’s decision puts Kate on the spot on “Lost” (8 p.m., ABC).

• A mystery caller makes Sam a tempting offer on the series finale of “Life on Mars” (9 p.m., ABC).

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