Gonzo but not forgotten
Saturday, March 5, 2005
When Hunter S. Thompson's body was found in a chair in front of his typewriter, the word "counselor" was found typed in the center of the page. Coming from this legendary "gonzo" journalist, the dispatch was unusually concise. But its presentation was typically flamboyant.
Thompson, who committed suicide two weeks ago at 67, is now the subject of an A&E portrait. Airing 8 p.m. Monday, "Biography: Hunter S. Thompson" explores the life of this combustible reporter, and the "gonzo" style he invented: a volatile mix of reporting, self-reflection and outright fiction.
It was Thompson's "Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas" -- his 1971 account of a drug-fueled trip to cover a district attorneys' anti-drug conference for Rolling Stone magazine -- that earned him stature in both journalism and pop-culture circles. But along with prose, his life was riddled with erratic behavior, automatic weapons, illegal substances and a run for sheriff of Pitkin County, Colo., on a platform of decriminalizing drugs.
"Biography" includes interviews with Thompson as well as historian Douglas Brinkley; E. Jean Carroll, author of "Hunter"; Anita Thompson, his wife, and son Juan Thompson.
Other shows to look out for:
* Last fall, a group of 10 chain smokers was sequestered under false pretenses, only to learn they had begun a challenge to kick their tobacco habit in just 21 days -- and do it while TV cameras looked on. Now Pax TV reunites those 10 participants from the first season of "Cold Turkey" for a one-hour reunion show to find out how many have stayed cigarette-free. With Mother Love ("Forgive or Forget") as host, "The Cold Turkey Reunion Special" airs 9 p.m. Tuesday -- exactly one week before "Cold Turkey II" impounds 10 more unsuspecting nicotine freaks.
* The comedy troupe the Hollow Men is described as being in the tradition of Monty Python and the Kids in the Hall. That's just about right. It's also hilarious, as viewers will learn when "The Hollow Men" premieres 9:30 p.m. Thursday on Comedy Central. This free-wheeling sketch-comedy series showcases the skewed vision of four Cambridge-educated English lads: David Armand, Nick Tanner, Rupert Russell and Sam Spedding. Featuring a mix of on-location and in-studio performances, the Hollow Men embody numerous characters (many in drag) as they offer an otherworldly take on such everyday subjects as the workplace, law enforcement and dating.
* By day, she's a 28-year-old advertising exec. By night she's a would-be socialite-in-the-making. So when Katya Livingston discovers she hasn't been invited to the season's hottest party, she makes it her social-climbing business to crash this glamorous affair. Little does she suspect that her maneuvering will lead her to a different kind of affair -- with the love of her life. Jennifer Love Hewitt stars in "Confessions of a Sociopathic Social Climber," an original film premiering 7 p.m. Saturday on Oxygen. This romantic comedy also stars Joseph Lawrence and Colin Ferguson.