Freak Show & Tell: Placenta Smoothies, Swollen Feet, and Cloned Dogs
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? Fritz and Christina.
Why Are We Watching Them? They’re first-time parents-to-be who’ve sought the assistance of maternity concierge Rosie Pope in mediating their clashes over such issues as whether Christina should deliver via home birth.
How Did They Get Here? Because the two of them “run the top conceptual art space around the city,” they (mostly he) have a lot of unique (dumb) ideas about parenting, and really do need Pope to rein them (him) in. For example, while Christina wants a home birth with the assistance of a midwife, Fritz would prefer that they just go find a tree for her to grab onto during labor — a scenario he suggests twice, on two different days.
What’s the Grossest Thing We See? The grossest thing we hear about is that Fritz subscribes to the notion of Elimination Communication — that is, raising the baby diaper-free from birth, and just watching its face for cues that it’s about to void its bladder/bowels. What’s great about this plan is how practical it is for parents raising a child in the incredibly dense urban environment of Manhattan (or, more likely, Brooklyn, though exactly where they live isn’t specified). However, the grossest thing we see takes place immediately after Christina’s successful home birth: At Christina’s request, Pope takes the placenta into the kitchen, makes it into a smoothie, and gives it to Christina to drink.
What Have We Learned? Even compared to other conceptual artists, this guy Fritz is one of the worst people who’s ever lived.
Embarrassing Bodies (DFH)
Who Is This Now? Anna.
Why Are We Watching Her? Her left hand and right foot are painfully swollen and unsightly; she’d like to get the situation taken care of before her upcoming wedding.
How Did She Get Here? She has a congenital condition: lymphedema. There isn’t a cure, but with combined decongestant therapy, it can be treated.
What’s the Grossest Thing We See? I thought Anna’s swollen foot was pretty gnarly until the EB producers decided to educate me about lymphedema by flashing up some photos of extreme cases. YIKES.
What Have We Learned? The human body will never stop surprising you with how disgusting it can be.
Bizarre ER (Discovery Fit & Health)
Who Is This Now? Brian Stilson.
Why Are We Watching Him? He cut the hell out of his right calf.
How Did He Get Here? He was helping his mother with some home improvement and carrying a large plank through the backyard, which blocked his view of the old, broken toilet he was about to step in.
What’s the Grossest Thing We See? The gashes on his leg were nasty enough on their own before ER personnel started talking about the possibility of contamination by fecal germs that might have still been present on the commode when Brian stepped in it.
What Have We Learned? Helping moms is for chumps.
I Cloned My Pet 2 (TLC)
Who Is This Now? Edgar and Nina.
Why Are We Watching Them? They paid $150,000 to clone their late dog, Sir Lancelot.
How Did They Get Here? Edgar’s father founded NASCAR, so now Edgar and his wife have more money than sense.
What’s the Grossest Thing We See? Because the first Sir Lancelot died of cancer, there’s a chance that Lancy, his genetically identical clone, could develop cancer, too. In order to improve Lancy’s odds, Nina and Edgar have retained help for Lancy in the form of a personal trainer and a physiotherapist. Again: Lancy is a dog.
What Have We Learned? The original Sir Lancelot was obviously some kind of canine warlock who put a spell on Nina and Edgar by which he could achieve immortality.
At Jamba Juice, Tara Ariano rarely opts for the placenta boost.