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Sunday night 'idiot box' report

My eyes were about to dry up from all the TV I watched last night -- but some of it was actually worth talking about.
 
 
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Last night I dove headfirst into the mind-numbing, soul-crushing idiot box, and was surprised to find at least a tiny bit of food for thought in there.

First, I saw one of the scarier contestants on (shuttup) "America's Next Top Model" get booted -- almost immediately after she'd introduced herself as "America's biggest conservative" (or something along those hateful lines). The 18-year-old Texan (argh), whom I believe was named Dina, proclaimed that she "didn't like gays" and that she hadn't spent a lot of time around black people. Still, she insisted that she wasn't going to let anyone -- not even her fellow black contestant-roommates, whom she repeatedly insulted -- bully her into silence. The ever-PC Tyra Banks lectured Dina about her homophobia -- but not her racism -- before giving her the boot with a bunch of other contestants later on. Phew.

Later, I half-watched the new HBO series "Big Love," which danced contentedly around Utah polygamy and made the whole "three wives for every guy" arrangement look like fun -- albeit undersexed fun. (The protagonist had, um, bedroom difficulties with each wife). The show wasn't anywhere near as engaging or provocative as I'd hoped; a friend called it "weird and boring," and I must agree. The creepy, pull-you-in plotlines that HBO does best on shows like "Sopranos" and "Six Feet Under" were nowhere to be found, and the three main female actors just didn't do it for me. They seemed too…polished, pretty, and put-together to be who they were claiming them to be. (Mormon-lite ladies in the Utah burbs). Maybe I just can't accept odd little Chloe Sevigny in a role more nuanced than "Kids"-esque skate punk, or NYC club queen.

Finally, my eyeballs fried nearly to the point of combustion, I made my way through a repeat of the debut episode of F/X's creepy, flawed, but fascinating new show "Black.White" (which I blogged about here a few months back). That one was, by far, the most car-wrecky of the bunch -- but it also had the most potential.

Laura Barcella is AlterNet's front page editor.