Freak Show & Tell: Flexible Babies, Hoarding Elvises, and Bristol Palin vs. Occupy
Every week, television documentaries present us with so many unusual people, with so many strange and/or disturbing problems, you might find it hard to keep up with all of them. That’s where I come in! Here’s an unflinching look back at TV’s Week in Freak Shows.
Pregnant in Heels (Bravo)
Who Is This Now? Aimee and Seth.
Why Are We Watching Them? They’ve asked maternity concierge Rosie Pope to help them to make sure the baby they’re about to have (their first) is “flexible.”
How Did They Get Here? I guess they decided to have a baby first, and then thought through the changes said baby’s existence would necessarily cause in their carefree yuppie lives afterward. And the solution they came up with is that the baby could learn to be chill!
What’s the Grossest Thing We See? Pope enlists the robot baby to give Seth and Aimee a taste of what it might be like to take their flexible future baby on a visit to a vineyard, where Seth reveals the kind of father he’s going to be: the kind who fobs all child care onto his wife. “Aimee, pleeeeeeeeease, you gotta make that stop,” he whines in the car on the way to the winery. “Let it cry,” he orders when the robot starts screeching on the tour. “Why don’t you wheel it out into the hall,” he demands, through gritted teeth, when it needs a diaper change just as the wine tasting has begun. I know it’s only a robot, but still.
What Have We Learned? Aimee’s going to have a pretty crappy time as a single parent.
Bristol Palin: Life’s a Tripp (Lifetime)
Who Is This Now? Bristol.
Why Are We Watching Her? Her mother, Sarah Palin, is about to give the keynote address at the CPAC convention.
How Did She Get Here? Well, she doesn’t have a job anymore, so there’s nothing keeping her from traveling to Washington to see the speech.
What’s the Grossest Thing We See? When a heckler interrupts Palin’s remarks, the entire hall of CPAC attendees turns on him, to Bristol and her sister Willow’s delight. After all, Bristol has already shared her feelings on the Occupy protesters outside the Palins’ D.C. hotel: “When I see protesters, it kind of makes me sick …. Why are you out here? Why aren’t you at work?” Presumably no one has explained to Bristol that a lack of employment opportunities in this country is one of the things Occupy is protesting, but here’s a related question, Bristol: Why aren’t you at work?
What Have We Learned? When Bristol said of her mother, “I sometimes can’t believe what she’s been able to accomplish,” I learned that Bristol and I have one thing in common.
Hoarding: Buried Alive (TLC)
Who Is This Now? Cary.
Why Are We Watching Him? He’s hoarded in his apartment almost past the point of livability.
How Did He Get Here? He’s a semi-professional Elvis Presley impersonator, so he’s collected thousands of pieces of Elvis memorabilia — in some cases, multiples of the same item. He’s also been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and compulsive tendencies, such that he gets nervous when he feels like he may run out of essential items.
What’s the Grossest Thing We See? A glimpse inside Cary’s fridge is pretty rough (which is usually the case in hoarders’ homes). But at least that decay is contained; there’s no good reason for Cary to have a fried chicken thigh just hanging out in the middle of his kitchen floor. It’s also alarming to see a thick layer of dust around the edge of his tub, since it suggests that he hasn’t had a proper bath in kind of a while.
What Have We Learned? Given the escalating arguments among Cary and his well-meaning but (naturally) frustrated friends Joe and Francisca during the clean-up, it seems like being friends with a hoarder is probably impossible.
Tara Ariano‘s home is so clean you might mistake it for a coroner’s office.