I love my DVR but it leads to bad habits like lots of TV shows piling up in its recesses. (In the old days, you'd start to notice the tumbling stacks of videotapes.) Vacation, houseguests and breaking political news have all conspired to put me waaaay behind on new TV. I'm catching up slowly but here's some short grabs from what I've been able to get to:
A couple months back, I chided the modeling reality show She's Got the Look for not snapping up the tranny contestant before Tyra made that play. And sure enough: the "shocker" of this season of America's Next Top Model was Isis, the girl who was still a boy. In the end, the concept of Isis was more titillating than the poor girl, who seem to wilt more each week, and was recently sent packing.
ATNM -- now in season 11! -- is pretty much like that old sweater: comfy but not bringing much pizzazz. Apparently the two Jays are getting a spin-off, but history shows that outrageous characters are usually best in small doses.
I mistakenly thought that Bravo's Top Design had been tossed on the dust heap after its dull premiere season, but it popped back up -- and better than ever. Somebody heard my pleas to make the challenges interesting -- no more re-decorating the same white box! -- and the show has been a lot more fun.
Brain-busters for the would-be interior designers have included: a fall-out shelter for two; an eco-office; retail window displays (for former Project Runway designers, natch); and low-level bachelor pads. My only complaint this season is that judge Miz Margaret -- she of the LBJ-era molded 'do and Elle Décor magazine -- hasn't been as crazy uptight and mean this season. She actually seems happy, and I guess, I'm happy for her.
But I'm also sad, because last week, the kookiest contestant -- Wizit, the seriously off-kilter elf who seemed at times to be channel Klaus Nomi -- was sent home.
And a quick note about my favorite phony "documentary" series: BBC Reveals. It runs now and then on Sunday nights (with many repeats). It's pitched as a "documentary" program, but the topics are pure tabloid: two journalists who went on crash diets; women with too-big breasts; women with too-small breasts; a teen transsexual; body dysmorphia; boy anorexics; how to become a topless model; and the all-time-topper, "Britain's Worst Teeth."
It may have been one of the most horrifying things I've ever seen on TV. I didn't even know that teeth could get this rotted and messed up, and the four Britons profiled were in their 20s! And living in a country with socialized dental care! I gasped out loud several times and watched much of the show through my fingers, the dental procedures were that extreme.
This still doesn't count as "documentary" -- it's just more sensationalism -- but as a public-service announcement about dental hygiene, it was real gut-punch. You probably know somebody who needs to watch it.