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No. 1 Inside Amy Schumer
This may be the most inappropriate show your (older) kids should be watching
Amy Schumer is vulgar and brash enough to make censors break out in a cold sweat. She’s also producing some of the most socially relevant comedy on TV. Like Saturday Night Live at its best, Schumer’s sketch-comedy show finds no hot-button issue too controversial – and Hollywood’s hottest stars want to be part of it. In the first episode of the show’s third season, Schumer is joined by The Good Wife‘s Josh Charles (channeling Coach Taylor in a Friday Night Lights parody that tackles sexual assault in sports); the all-star trio of Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Tina Fey and Patricia Arquette (throwing a party to celebrate ageism); and Amber Rose and Method Man (sending up the objectification of women in rap videos). Schumer’s humor is always timely but never feels like homework. It’s much more akin to an issue of National Geographic pubescent boys might enjoy: supereducational yet just a bit titillating. (Comedy Central, April 21, 10:30 p.m.)
No. 2 Clarence
Clarence is the most unflappably sunny kid to hit TV since Sue Heck on ABC’s The Middle. Like Sue, he’s up for everything, even if he’s not gifted at anything. He’s also a funny and loyal friend. Kicking off its second season, Clarence is for kids and adults who like their cartoons sweetly subversive. (Cartoon Network, Thursdays, 5 p.m.)
No. 3 Alabama Shakes, Sound & Color
The soul quartet roared onto the scene with their rowdy 2012 hit “Hold On”– now they’re back and still brimming with raw energy. Frontwoman Brittany Howard’s throaty wail—showcased in impassioned pleas “Don’t Wanna Fight” and “Gimme All Your Love”— makes Sound & Color a follow-up you shouldn’t miss. (April 21)
No. 4 Bruce Jenner: The Interview
The Olympian shares his transgender journey
As the long-suffering patriarch of the Kardashian clan, Bruce Jenner rarely got a word in edgewise amid the reality-TV cameras so masterfully manipulated by his kids and ex-wife Kris. Now he’s finally making himself heard, sitting down to share his transition from male to female with Diane Sawyer in the year’s most anticipated interview. (ABC, April 24, 9 p.m.)
No. 5 Monkey Kingdom
Tina Fey narrates this light-footed trek through Sri Lanka following macaque Maya as she fights to make a better life for her son Kip. The footage is breathtaking and bold (but not too scary), while Fey adds dashes of her patented wry humor. (April 17/G)
No. 6 Greg Holden, Chase the Sun
The songwriter steps into the spotlight
Known for writing “Home” (American Idol Phillip Phillips’s 2012 hit), folksy Brit Holden uses a similar formula on his first major label release: “Hold On Tight” and “Free Again” boast equally bright sing-along choruses. But it’s not all anthems. Have some tissues handy for “Boys in the Street,” a poignant narrative about a gay man whose dad doesn’t accept him.
No. 7 Silicon Valley
Nerd alert: Season 2’s got the same loony antics
The buddy comedy following a merry band of Bay Area techies (think Entourage meets The Big Bang Theory) returns to find Richard (Thomas Middleditch) and his team struggling to launch their app Pied Piper upon their primary investor’s death on safari by charging rhino … and a weak heart. Awkward boardrooms and genital jokes ensue as an ill-timed lawsuit blackballs them from potential backers. (HBO, April 19, 10 p.m.)
No. 8 Clouds of Sils Maria
Actress Maria Enders (Juliette Binoche) and her assistant Valentine (Kristen Stewart) toy with text and subtext as they prepare for Maria’s play in a Swiss mountain retreat. Binoche is great, but Stewart is a revelation, vivid and beguiling in a film that nods at the trials of living in tabloid culture. (Now playing/R)
No. 9 Carli Bybel
With her dark brown hair and sculpted cheekbones, this vlogger looks like a long-lost Kardashian sister. The Jersey-based makeup pro has the fan base of one too – her channel boasts more than 2.6 million subscribers. Get ready to fall into a black hole of contour how-tos. (YouTube.com/CarliBel55)
No. 10 Louie
Painful social situations, painful romantic situations, agonizing bathroom situations … Five seasons in, Louie is still at his funniest when he is exquisitely uncomfortable. Which is always. (FX, Thursdays, 10:30 p.m.)
No. 11 A Most Violent Year
There’s an intimacy to the tale of Abel (Oscar Isaac), trying to stay clean in the dirty heating-oil business, that lends itself to DVD. Watch his scenes with canny wife Anna (Jessica Chastain) to enjoy the incredible precision in the acting and script. (Now available/R)
No. 12 The Best New Books
A single dad vs. a sociopath, the Vietnam War’s emotional fallout and one woman’s homage to shoes
The Given World
The loss of her beloved older brother, presumed dead in Vietnam, sets Riley on a decades-long quest to dull the pain. She’s a secretive heroine, as complex and haunting as the heartbreak she lives with. Packed with rich characters and locations (Montana, San Francisco, Saigon), World is a vivid and unforgettable debut.
This ebullient memoir chronicles a woman’s life through the shoes she’s loved, from the granny boots she donned as a smitten coed to the sneakers she gave her balance-challenged mom. Along with dispensing fun facts (Saks’s shoe department has its own zip code), Morrisroe shows how our footwear tells our stories – and reveals our character.
BOOK OF THE WEEK
Every Fifteen Minutes
In a sock-’em stand-alone, Scottoline, best known for her crime-busting female lawyers, takes a detour into the twisted mind of a sociopath. Dr. Eric Parrish is a respected psychiatrist and a great dad, but like a character out of a Hitchcock film, he finds his life becoming a train wreck after a series of bewildering calamities puts him squarely in the sights of the police. The red herrings come fast and furious; part of the fun is how skillfully Scottoline leads us astray.
NEW IN PAPERBACK
Let’s Just Say It Wasn’t Pretty
In her charming second memoir, the idiosyncratic star and style icon opens up about beauty, Hollywood pressures and staying true to herself.
All Fall Down
Sure, Allison has it all—but she also has a sick father, sky- high stress and a habit of popping pills. A powerful tale of addiction and redemption from crowd-pleaser Weiner.
A terrorist attack takes Theo’s mother and leaves him with a precious artwork that inexorably influences his fate. Tartt’s immersive coming-of-age tale won last year’s Pulitzer.