TRIO NETWORK Shows examine big deal about supersized Texas
Even the obesity epidemic appears to loom largest in Houston.
By FRAZIER MOORE
Cable's Trio network is giving viewers a big show all during August with its passel of Texas-themed programming.
Looming large in the pack is "Texas: America Supersized," a documentary about Lone Star State life, politics and culture as observed by British journalist-critic Christopher Hitchens.
"Everything about Texas is predicated on its being big," he reports in this film, which by turns is penetrating, cagey and admiring. "With a Texan in the White House, are Texan values taking over America?" he asks, then sets off to find out.
Hitchens visits a Fort Worth rodeo, the state Capitol in Austin and the sacred shrine of the Alamo in San Antonio. He checks in with liberal columnist Molly Ivins, oil magnate Boone Pickens and an ad executive who says Texas is "like America on steroids."
The hour also addresses high school football, oil wells, Enron and the evolving ethnic mix: by 2008, says Hitchens, the majority of Texans will be Spanish-speaking.
And he leaves the viewer with a question worth pondering: "If Texans are so all-fire confident in themselves, why do they keep having to prove it all the time?"
Airing Sunday at 9 p.m., this film is followed at 10 p.m. by a different take on Texas Big. "Fat City" examines the epidemic of American obesity through the prism of Houston, designated "the fattest place on earth" by Men's Fitness magazine.
Not quite cruel and all too revealing, "Fat City" focuses on extreme eating habits -- and how the local culture enables it.
Meet Bud Caudil, a champion competitive eater, and 5-foot-4, 275-pound Linda, who, at dinner, admits, "I don't know that satisfied feeling. I don't know 'full."'
"In Texas, fat is normal," declares narrator Larry Hagman. Before this hourlong film is done, you'll feel the weight of his argument.
For a full rundown of the month's Texas-oriented shows and feature films, visit theTrio Web site (http://www.triotv.com).