If you want to hear the truth, go get a haircut. That’s the lesson on tonight’s “Frontline” (8 p.m., PBS) installment “Close to Home.” The investigative program takes a detour from high-powered profiles of Washington and Wall Street big-shots to listen to the clientele at an upper Manhattan hair salon as they discuss, or rather confess, how the recession has affected their jobs, businesses, marriages and their very outlook on life.
We learn quickly that New York’s Upper East Side is hardly the isolated and gilded preserve of “Gossip Girl” fame. Nearly every customer we meet has cut back in some way, and many have been downsized, furloughed or fired. A once-wealthy woman known as “The Porsche Lady” had to sell her car to pay for health insurance. Men over 50 have spent months, if not more than a year, sending out thousands of résumés to little avail. Deborah, the owner of the salon, worries about her business simply evaporating and her sister, who bought a home in Florida at the height of the market, tries to stave off foreclosure by renting rooms to victims of the Florida real estate collapse whose stories are more desperate than her own.
This is hardly an upbeat way to spend an hour, but it puts some real human faces on the biggest news story of our time and discusses the plight of a surprising spectrum of society, without resorting to statistics or Dow Jones averages.
Tonight’s other highlights
• The top 20 perform on “So You Think You Can Dance” (7 p.m., Fox).
• Sally joins Linus in his holiday ritual in the 1966 animated special “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” (7 p.m., ABC).
• Mike Epps hosts the 2009 BET Hip-Hop Awards (7 p.m., BET) featuring Jay Z, Snoop Dogg, Ludacris, Young Jeezy, Gucci Mane, The Dream and others.
• Callen recuperates and reports for duty on “NCIS: Los Angeles” (8 p.m., CBS).
• Somebody gets the hook on “Dancing with the Stars” (8 p.m., ABC).
• Mike milks camels on “Dirty Jobs” (8 p.m., Discovery).
• “Arrested Development” (8 p.m. and 8:30 p.m., IFC) repeats air on Tuesdays and Sunday.
• Alicia represents a women who claims she was violated at a posh party on “The Good Wife” (9 p.m., CBS).
• A new case reminds Alex of his own family woes on “The Forgotten” (9 p.m., ABC).
• The arsenal is running low on “Sons of Anarchy” (9 p.m., FX).
• Scheduled on “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel” (9 p.m., HBO): the death of Angels pitcher Nick Adenhart; threats to high school athletic programs.
A group of ESP experimenters discovers a killer in their midst in the 1968 shocker “The Power” (9 p.m., TCM). Dig this cast: George Hamilton, Suzanne Pleshette, Yvonne DeCarlo, Gary Merrill, Aldo Ray and Michael Rennie!
From combat to gang war on “NCIS” (7 p.m., CBS) ... Summer school ends on “90210” (7 p.m., CW) ... Ella fears for her job on “Melrose Place” (8 p.m., CW).