by LUKE BAUMGARTEN & r & & r & The Moment of Truth & r & & r & (Fox, Wednesdays, 9pm) & r & & r & & lt;span class= "dropcap " & B & lt;/span & eing a Gen Y dude and an avid television watcher, I have a high smut tolerance. I watch The Hills, Gossip Girl and whatever trash is on VH-1 and am not repulsed by it. But I still take comfort knowing that I can take a deep cleansing breath, turn to PBS, watch a lion tear at the hindquarters of a sickly oryx and wash the impurities away. I have no illusions about the justness or goodness of the human race. At the same time, I'm not keen on having my face rubbed in skeeze all the time. By my calculations, that puts me smack in the middle of the American depravity continuum, which makes me the target audience for FOX's new lie-detector thrill ride, The Moment of Truth. I'll actively watch trash TV, but I still have the capacity to be shocked by it.
God I wish I could be shocked by this.
The show, from its circular stage and gaping audiences to its thoroughly forgettable host Mark Walberg, feels like every other primetime game show. The difference is that the questions being asked are things like: "Have you flirted with someone besides your wife?" If the person answers this and 20 other questions truthfully, he walks away with $500,000. If he lies, he gets nothing.
It's marketed as an expos & eacute; of human evils, but it's nothing more than a parade of small deceptions. Still, the audience gasps like they're watching a public beheading. Is this what passes for scandal in primetime? Not impressed.
Neither are the families. They sit through the milquetoast confessional with very little trouble. The last thing I want is Jerry Springer, but if you're gonna do it, FOX, get someone's blood up.
"Is there an honest person left in America?" Walberg asks at the beginning of each episode. The answer of course is yes, but they'd never be allowed on The Moment of Truth. Of course, the truly pathological vermin won't be either. What're we left with is simple, middle-American deceit.
That means The Moment of Truth's most intriguing lesson is one you only need to learn once. Suburban scandal, presided over by Mark Walberg and broadcast to millions of people in primetime, is less salacious than whatever dirt you could dredge from your own cul-de-sac.
Everyone in America knows it's back, but I'd be remiss -- and in violation of my self-proclaimed superfan status -- to not proclaim THANK GOD! That said, the season premier wasn't exactly earth shaking. Nice of KXLY to let us know about the school closures in the middle of the episode. Psych -- that wasn't nice at all. (ABC, Thursdays, 8 pm)
Wasn't so long ago that Johnny Lee Miller was steaming up cyberspace in the hilarious we-have-no-idea-how-people-hack-things film Hackers -- wait, yes it was. Now he's playing an attorney who thinks he's a prophet. (ABC, Thursday, 10 pm)
Randy Jackson Presents: America's Best Dance Crew
I hate Randy Jackson. I hate dancing shows. God's punishing me. (MTV, Thursdays, 10 pm)
Sarah Connor Chronicles
Ever so much better than Bionic Woman and rife with gunplay -- not just standoffs -- the show that brings Terminators to the 2K8 is doing a lot to convince me that technology is making good action TV a reality. (FOX, Mondays, 8 pm)