The Awful Truth (TV series)

The Awful Truth (TV series)
The Awful Truth
Directed by Tom Gianas
Starring Michael Moore
Language(s) English
No. of seasons 2
No. of episodes 24
Running time 30 minutes
Original channel United StatesBravo
United KingdomChannel 4
Original run April 11, 1999 – July 5, 2000
Preceded by TV Nation
External links

The Awful Truth (1999-2000) was a satirical television show that was directed, written, and hosted by filmmaker Michael Moore, and funded by the British broadcaster Channel 4.



The show emulated television newsmagazine shows (such as 60 Minutes, or Moore's own previous show, TV Nation) in that it comprised a series of documentary segments. For the first season the format involved presenting them to a studio audience (the second season moved to Times Square), often accompanied by a coda and commentary by Moore as to what happened after the segment was first filmed. The show focused on exposing problems in American government, business, and society. It often used outlandish sketches and stunts to point out the inherent absurdity of a situation and hint at potential solutions. At times, the show's sometimes humiliating tactics drew enough attention to cause corporations involved to rethink their policies. For example, after initially denying a man coverage for a pancreas transplant, Humana agreed to pay for it.[1]


Season 1

# Title Segments Original air date
1 "A Cheaper Way to Conduct a Witch Hunt" and "Funeral at an HMO" April 11, 1999 (1999-04-11)
2 "Beat the Rich" and "The Sodomobile" April 18, 1999 (1999-04-18)
3 "Crackers vs. Mickey Mouse" and "The Voice-Box Choir" April 25, 1999 (1999-04-25)
4 "Sal, The Bill Collector" and "Duck and Cover" May 2, 1999 (1999-05-02)
5 "The Awful Truth Man of the Year", "TV Pundits?", and "150 Feet from NBC" May 9, 1999 (1999-05-09)
6 "Work Care!", "LucyCam", and "Air-Drop TVs on Afghanistan" May 16, 1999 (1999-05-16)
7 "William Sebastian Cohen", "LucyCam #2", and "Manpower" May 23, 1999 (1999-05-23)
8 "Montana Shacks", "Joe Camel Gets a Job", and LucyCam #3" May 25, 1999 (1999-05-25)
9 "Turdonia", "Teen Sniper School", and "Hitler Goes Banking" June 2, 1999 (1999-06-02)
10 "Crackers Goes to Buckeye Eggs", "The Michael Moore Playset", "American Apartheid", and "Bill Gates' Housewarming" June 9, 1999 (1999-06-09)
11 "Weapon Inspectors", "The Make a Wish Foundation", and "We Find Hillary a Date" June 16, 1999 (1999-06-16)
12 "NAFTA Mike", "Strikebreakers", and "Mergers" June 23, 1999 (1999-06-23)

Season 2

# Title Segments Original air date
13 "Advertiser Appreciation Night" "Presidential Mosh" and "Gun Crazy" May 17, 2000 (2000-05-17)
14 "Compassionate Conservative Night" "Don't Shoot, It's Only a Wallet" and "Sibling Rivalry" May 24, 2000 (2000-05-24)
15 "Help the Dead Guy" "Immoral Majority" and "Seniors Strike Back" May 31, 2000 (2000-05-31)
16 "German Vacation Night" "Got it Maid!" and "BMW (Break My Windows)" June 7, 2000 (2000-06-07)
17 "Ficus for Congress" June 21, 2000 (2000-06-21)
18 "Taxi Driver" "Whitey Can't Ride", "Low Heels for Ho Heels", and "Male Apartheid" June 28, 2000 (2000-06-28)
19 "Dixie Flag Night" "Corporate Cops" and "Molson Loses Its Head" July 5, 2000 (2000-07-05)
20 "Stop and Frisk Night" "No Trials Necessary" and "No Intelligence Necessary" July 12, 2000 (2000-07-12)
21 "Replacement Mike" "No Side Effects" and "We Still Love NY" July 19, 2000 (2000-07-19)
22 "Store the Homeless" "Design For Living", "Thou Shalt Not...", and "Affirmative Action" July 26, 2000 (2000-07-26)
23 "Gulf War" "Saddamized" and "It's All in Your Head" August 2, 2000 (2000-08-02)
24 "Find Clinton a Job" "Roe v. Wade, R.I.P." and "Population Explosion" August 9, 2000 (2000-08-09)

Notable scenes

  • After legislation to display the Ten Commandments in public schools, Moore interviews the bill's co-signers and asks them what the eighth commandment is; most cannot answer the question correctly. Dave Weldon does suggest "thou shalt not steal," which is correct for most Protestants, but Michael was using the Roman Catholic/Lutheran list (Moore is Catholic). Nobody (including Moore) identifies the actual eighth commandment from Exodus 34:25 (see Exodus 34:27-28 for reference).
  • Moore creates an "African American Wallet Exchange" in Harlem, in response to four NYPD officers who fired on and killed Amadou Diallo, because they thought his wallet was a gun. Once all the wallets are exchanged, Moore deposited them in front of the NYPD headquarters.
  • Staging a mock funeral outside of Humana's corporate headquarters when a health care policyholder is denied a claim to fund a potentially life-saving pancreas transplant. This segment became the inspiration for Moore's sixth feature film, Sicko, released by The Weinstein Company on June 29, 2007. Moore's original plan for Sicko was to stage ten 'stunts' like the mock funeral in front of health-care agencies, but eventually decided to scrap the idea.[2]
  • A group clad in Colonial clothing behaving in a manner reminiscent of the Salem Witch Trials in protest of Kenneth Starr, and his tactics during President Bill Clinton's impeachment trial, with the idea that colonials know how to conduct an economical witch trial. They also read parts of Starr's report on Clinton while Starr was head of the Office of the Independent Counsel, and also highlight certain high-profile politicians own 'anti-moralistic' behavior (in particular Newt Gingrich's affair and subsequent divorce).
  • Crackers, the corporate crime fighting chicken (a character first introduced in TV Nation), traveling to Disney World to confront Mickey Mouse about unfair labor practices.
  • The Iowa Caucuses Mosh Pit, in which Alan Keyes dived onto a portable mosh pit and crowd-surfed to Rage Against the Machine to win the endorsement of The Awful Truth for the 2000 presidential election.
  • The Sodomobile, a pink van loaded with gay men and women, traveling across the country to U.S. states that have on-the-books sodomy laws, to fight for gay rights. At one point they encounter Pastor Fred Phelps, infamous for protesting at the funeral of Matthew Shepard, picketing during the funerals of other young gay men.
  • An election special where a Ficus tree was run against the otherwise unopposed Republican incumbent Rodney Frelinghuysen for a seat in Congress. In total 23 plants ran as write-in candidates for House seats. The Ficus write-in votes were later refused to be counted by the election committee, but the ones that were showed the Ficus having a 4-1 lead over Frelinghuysen.
  • A visit to Philip Morris (now Altria) headquarters, where a group of lung and throat cancer victims used their electronic voice boxes to sing Christmas tunes.

Location filming and DVD release

The first season of the series was filmed in Chicago, Illinois, and aired on the Bravo cable network in the US and on Channel 4 in the UK. The second season was filmed in New York City. Both seasons are also available on DVD.

Season one had 12 episodes and premiered April 11, 1999 ending June 27, 1999. Season two had 12 episodes, and premiered May 17, 2000 and ended July 5, 2000.


External links

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