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Awful Truth Is Awful Fun

Provocative? Yes. Liberal? Heck, yes! Fun? For anyone who
enjoys seeing the big guys poked in the rear end with a sharp stick, you betcha.

The Awful Truth, debuting in April on Bravo, will
provide yet another forum for documentarian Michael Moore to do more of what he does best
-- shoot the pompous in the patoot.

For an avowed anti-Republican, Moore couldn't have
gotten his series rolling at a better time. In fact, the first episode was filmed in and
near the Capitol around the time of Ken Starr's testimony before the House Judiciary
Committee's impeachment hearing. (Those tired of news of presidential affairs will
enjoy Moore's none-too-subtle doctoring of the film to add hellfire sizzling off
Starr's notes as he testifies.)

The point of Moore's visit? To convince members of
Congress that he could have provided a decent "witch hunt" for $560. He rides
around town with a Salem-ready Puritan preacher yelling "damnation" out of a
flatbed truck, followed by a gaggle of groupie goodwives in search of fornicators.

It ranges from melodramatic to giddy. He confronts
lawmakers on the lawns of the Capitol, and their reactions (at least the ones that he
edited into his film) are rather civil, given his challenging manner.

This little melodrama ends with D.C. citizens rhythmically
chanting "Repent!" from the Mall.

The second episode is more pointed, a little smarmier but
more effective. It profiles a 34-year-old Florida man who is dying of diabetes
complications because his HMO (health maintenance organization), Humana Inc., refuses a
pancreas transplant.

Moore goes shopping for his coffin with him (a segment made
creepier due to laughter by the live audience watching the film in the series'
format) and watches him compose his obituary, then heads for the insurer's corporate
office in Kentucky in a hearse.

An executive who's agreed to a meeting suddenly
disappears, leaving Moore and company to present their perky, "We're having a
funeral!" invitations to a teeth-grinding public-relations rep doing everything short
of calling security to get them out of the building. This one has a very satisfying end
that I won't spoil.

Future episodes include Moore's attempt to smuggle
Americans into Mexico to regain their jobs and his notorious attempt to give New York
industrialist/mansion-builder Ira Rennert an award as a world-class polluter.

The series debuts on Bravo April 11 at 9 p.m. and 10 p.m.