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Writing and Romance On the War Front

By Jac Kern · May 23rd, 2012 · Television
HBO’s latest television film follows the professional and romantic journey of literary great Ernest Hemingway and legendary journalist Martha Gellhorn. Starring Clive Owen and Nicole Kidman as the title characters, Hemingway & Gellhorn (9 p.m. Monday, HBO) shows that while the duo travelled from Spain to China to Cuba reporting on some of the most tumultuous times in history, their own relationship was the one battle they could not conquer.

Hemingway met Gellhorn in 1936 in Key West, Fla., while he was still married to his second wife. They reunited in Spain, both covering the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939). At the time, both had already seen success in their own rights. He had published The Sun Also Rises and A Farewell to Arms and she was a noted war correspondent. It’s a linguaphile’s dream. Their union was like a perfect storm, which, as we all know, does not make for a stable relationship.

Gellhorn was quite the match for Hemingway in terms of passion, writing and adventurism. This, of course, caused much conflict during a time when women were expected to just be wives and mothers. While most are already familiar with Hemingway’s badassery, Hemingway & Gellhorn gives us an incredible female counterpart.

The end is no mystery — Gellhorn notoriously became the only one of Hemingway’s four wives to request a divorce, and they went their separate ways. Both saw continued accomplishment after their split (the relationship inspired Hemingway to pen For Whom the Bell Tolls, his most successful work) and both eventually died at their own hands. Though they were destined for disaster, Hemingway & Gellhorn gives a rare glimpse at a power couple from a bygone era.


Modern Family (Season Finale, 9 p.m., ABC) – Mitchell and Cameron’s Calexico prospect selects them to adopt her baby and goes into labor the same day as Lily’s dance recital.

Gloria uses her Spanish to help the two while Jay and Manny help Lily prepare for her performance. Alex attends her first prom and Haley surprises the family with her plans for the future.

Don’t Trust the B---- in Apartment 23 (Season Finale, 9:30 p.m., ABC) – June desperately tries to keep up with Chloe’s partying. JVDB gets angry when, on the Dancing With the Stars set, he discovers Dean Cain’s dressing room is larger than his.

Around the World in 80 Plates (10 p.m., Bravo) – The chefs travel to Spain, where they test their knife skills with Barcelona fishermen and serve Mediterranean dishes at a popular local restaurant.


Geo Bee 2012 (8 p.m., National Geographic Channel) – Alex Trebek hosts this 24th annual geography bee for kids in grades 4-8 competing for college scholarships. Drinking game suggestion: Whenever one of these child brainiacs correctly answers a question that you can’t, drown your embarrassment with a shot!

Men At Work (Series Premiere, 10 p.m., TBS) – Sadly, this is not a reality show about the reunion of Colin Hay’s ’80s band. Danny Masterson (Hyde from That ‘70s Show) stars in this bro comedy about four YPs working at a magazine, navigating work, life, love, blah.

Awake (Series Finale, 10 p.m., NBC) – The police close in on Britton as his dual realities clash. While critically acclaimed, Awake didn’t do too hot in numbers and will not return for a second season.


The Ricky Gervais Show (9 p.m., HBO) – Ricky, Stephen and Karl each define what being English means to them. Karl explains why he’d like to be Italian if he wasn’t a Brit.


Game of Thrones (9 p.m., HBO) – War is here. Stannis Baratheon and his massive fleet arrive at King’s Landing, placing the Lannisters in troubled defense-mode. Will we get to see wildfire come into play?

Veep (10 p.m., HBO) – Selena hosts a healthy eating summit at Baltimore’s baseball park, to the dismay of some fast-food execs. Later, while the Veep makes her way to an elementary school, Dan and Amy are forced to entertain the waiting kids.

Mad Men (10 p.m., AMC) – Krishna Krishna, y’all! Don handles a difficult pitch while Peggy considers taking a trip.

Girls (10:30 p.m., HBO) – The girls head to a Brooklyn party, where Hannah spots Adam in public for the first time, Marnie meets Charlie’s new chick and Shoshanna accidentally smokes crack.


Workaholics (Season Premiere, 10:30 p.m., Comedy Central) – Anders, Blake, Adam and the TelAmeriCorp crew are back and ready to get weird. In what’s sure to be a “tight butthole” third season premiere, the guys go on a business trip — and an acid trip. 

CONTACT JAC KERN: jkern@citybeat.com



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