Thursday, February 3, 2011

Personal Injury Lawyer Commercials: Throw that shit away already

WTF Washington?
So I didn’t update yesterday in my junk food world tour segment because what I made was just a terrible, inedible mess. I made a macaroni and cheese Cheeto pie. It was garbage. Don’t do it. It’ll make your teeth fall out and Jesus himself will appear in your kitchen just as you put it in the oven just to Ric Flair Chop you.

That being said, I thought I might delve into some television today. What would be better than to talk about my latest obsession, A&E mental disorder shows? Nothing. That’s what.

A&E has sopped up the niche sideshow market of cable television as of late. The premise of their lineup is, “do you have a disease that Maury Povich could do an entire show about?” If the answer is “Yes” then we got a new series. Right now they have Intervention, Obsessed, Hoarders, and Heavy for your sideshow viewing pleasure.

I, for one, can’t get enough of all of these shows. I, for two, can really understand why people would have a problem with the content. They’re exploited people. They’re people with some sort of disorder that normal people (what the fuck are those?) can’t look away from. All they can do is cuddle up on the couch and watch the hour long car accident.

The show’s premise is to find an addict, not just any addict, though. They have to make sure that they’re either a ridiculous addict (walking on sunshine girl: Allison the Huffer), or an addict that is photogenic (Jessica the heroin addict). Then they follow around said addict under the guise of being a ‘documentary about addiction’ rather than “OMGOMGOMG yous doin heroins! Wat a waste!”

There is a fine line between tasteful documentary and exploitation. This show makes no bones about what it wants to show the viewer. We want to see drunken people fall down, heroin addicts nod off, drug addicts begging for money, and we want their enablers to be persecuted for helping these people get to that sad state they’re in. That’s why the show is an hour long and 45 minutes of it is just watching the addict wander around town scoring dope. Truly, that’s all I want to see anyway. Then I won't have to see anymore of this guy crying.

This is just another show that hooks your interest in the way that reality TV can do the same. Reality TV relies on the viewer forming an opinion on the various characters that have been selected to interact with one another and periodically get voted off. This works the same way, but I only get to form an opinion on the enabler and the sideshow freak that drinks a gallon of Sky Vodka a day. The intervention comes towards the end of the show and most of the time the addict takes the offer of going off to a rehab resort for six months.

Then they do the follow up at the end showing the subject either returning to their roots as an addict or being a born again Christian. This is all just Schadenfreude. We want to see them turn into even worse junkies after their rehab so we can see them fall down some more in another episode.

The program revolves around people with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and their inane idiosyncrasies.


This show’s not as fun to watch as an addict on Intervention because there are elements that really tug on the “man I’m watching a guy wear rubber gloves in the supermarket” heart strings that might resemble sympathy. What drives this kind of television is the idea that whatever mental disorder you’re eating oodles of noodles while watching is a correctable disorder. This show is the hardest because these disorders are truly of a frightening and debilitating nature. These people can hardly even participate in what we like to call life.

Better wipe that fuckin El Camino off, quick!

But then there’s fat people. Everyone hates fat people.

From their website: “A&E’s docudrama Heavy follows twenty-two individuals facing extreme life-threatening health consequences as a result of their obesity. The one-hour series follows two participants per episode documenting their incredible transformations during a six month treatment program.”

In other words, let’s watch fat people work out and cry. Everyone likes to see a morbidly obese man break down in tears about the cheesecake that he ate for breakfast. It’s like the biggest loser, but they’re all losers.

My mother’s always quick to point out that the people on Biggest Loser and Heavy only serve as unreal motivation to other morbidly obese people. They all don’t have to work during this ‘transformation,’ and they all get to go to the gym as often as they like, aka eight hours a day. Everyone on the planet that doesn’t have to work and is morbidly obese with a cash goal in front of them will lose a ton of weight. It’s unrealistic for someone to watch these shows and declare that they too will be the biggest losers. Then CPS comes to take their kids away when they fail to feed them for weeks while they’re spending eight hours in the gym everyday instead of working.

There also seems to be a recurring theme in all of these docudramas: Support Systems.

Having a support system to quit smoking is good. People tell you, “Hey, don’t smoke that cigarette.” And the quitter is like, “aight then.” Support system? Check.

The reality of these shows is the support system needs to be more than that. It needs to be more like, “Hey man, stop eating so much forever. Work out a bunch. I’ll pay your bills and mortgage while you do it.” Fuckin’ – A.

My favorite of these docudrama side shows is Hoarders. Where else can you be nosy and voyeuristic from the comfort of your couch without it being sex related? Unless there’s an episode of Hoarders where someone is caught having sex with a pile of dirty adult diapers. SIGN ME UP.

The plot of this show is basically the same as Obsessed and Intervention. There are subjects, two per episode, that have a horrible mental disease that inhibits their ability to throw things away. This can be escalated by an excessive shopping disorder which is very common to these people. Hoarding is an OCD symptom that involves the gathering (hoarding) of useless objects that have sentimental or incoherent value. In layman’s terms, these people keep trash and useless junk because they think it’s valuable.

Where're my Bakugans at?

Yep. There are many people in this country that hoard their own dirty adult diapers and think it has a value other than JESUS FUCKING CHRIST THERE’S POOP SACKS EVERYWHERE. GET RID OF IT.

I know my VHS of Starship Troopers is in here somewhere

The hoarders will try to mask their hoarding, naturally. Some will hoard objects that have a resemblance to value; i.e. beanie baby collections, hiding actual valuable items in the midst of trash, hobby supplies, beat up cars, and pets! Yes, I said pets. I think that’s the most unfortunate problem with hoarders. Let them acquire all the garbage they want, but letting them adopt 40 cats and let them take run of the house is just inexcusable.

Apparently Animal Planet got wind of it and deduced that it was very Inexcusable AND a ratings grabber. All episodes of Hoarders that revolve around someone hoarding 72 dogs had ratings off the charts as apposed to their counterparts; aka Bobby-Joe likes to keep every magazine and newspaper he’s ever received and Susan just can’t clean her house. Animal Planet then made their own show(s): Confessions: Animal Hoarding and Dangerously Devoted (now defunct). Confessions: Animal Hoarding is just an animal heavy episode of Hoarders and Dangerously Devoted is about another hotbutton topic that people will be up in arms about…then they’ll sit on the couch to watch it every week. Who doesn’t have an opinion for or against having dangerous pets? It’s almost the same kind of argument of having a gun in the house with small children. I have a snake who could eat my infant and I also have a loaded pistol that I lost in the house a year or so ago. DRAMA.

Back to Hoarders.

In Hoarders, the hoarder is usually in some sort of dire need of assistance in cleaning up their place with the end result being either keeping their house, getting their kids back, or being able to live in their house again. This end of the rope atmosphere is ripe with drama and mental disorders serve as the frosting on top of the shitcake. There are arguments between the hoarders and the “professional organizers” often resulting in a “cool down” session. WTF does all this mean? What the hell is a professional organizer? Is that like being a life coach, having a degree in homeopathic medicine, or another made up profession? I’m going to assume it’s akin to being a country music artist. You gotta keep telling people what you are until they believe you. Then one day you’re Kenny Chesney. Freaking island country is the worst kind of country. Give me Hick-Hop back already.

The backbone of the Hoarding process is a downward spiral in ratio of the house/property degradation to the escalating embarrassment associated with it. The idea is simple. If you keep enough junk around, eventually, the junk will start getting in the way of your house working. If the electricity goes out in certain rooms, the hell if you’re going to let some electrician come see the inside of your house. So in fear of this embarrassment, you just learn to exist with the broken whatever. It gets worse and worse. Electricity in the whole house goes or something happens with the water, and you’re still finding a way to cope with the living conditions.

People end up living in a small area of one part of the house with a space heater, a hotplate and a room upstairs will be dedicated to keeping all of their shitbags and used adult diapers. Forget hygiene all together. You disapprove? Well, too bad! We're in this war for the species, boys and girls. It's simple numbers. They have more. And every day I have to make decisions that send hundreds of people like you to their deaths.

It's afraid...that you may throw away its Grandma's receipt from Walgreens.
Amazingly, none of these people come to their senses. You expect after the clean up that the world will be opened up full of new and exciting futures, but no. They all had their hands forced and will return to their old habits. It took them 25 years to accumulate that much junk in the first place. It’ll take another 25 to get back to there.

I forgot to mention that TLC has jumped on the bandwagon as well with Hoarding: Buried Alive, Infested, My Strange Addiction, and Toddlers & Tiaras.   Let's compare and contrast these two networks next week, fuckers.

I feel dirty after writing.

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