American Masters

PBS | 8:00 pm

The new 90-minute episode "Mae West: Dirty Blonde" explores how this provocative and subversive performer may have created an aura of "sex symbol" around herself, but a closer examination of her work reveals how she shrewdly and perceptively invested her saucy story lines with astute commentary about some of the most complicated social issues of the 20th century. Over the course of an eight-decade career, West broke one boundary after another, in the process earning creative and economic power that was unheard-of for a female entertainer in the 1930s.