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.
Raising Fame (TLC)
Who Is This Now? Shun.
Why Are We Watching Her? She’s a momager doing everything she can think of to make her four children famous with careers in the entertainment industry.
How Did She Get Here? As she mentions several times this hour, Shun had three of those four children by the time she was 18 and therefore had to struggle financially for years afterward. Therefore, she says, her efforts to set up her children with showbiz careers is motivated by her wish to get them making a lot of money in a field that wouldn’t require them to have any special/costly education or training.
What’s the Grossest Thing We See? Shun has decided that her 18-year-old daughter, Amber, should be working toward becoming a Victoria’s Secret model, and to be honest, this isn’t a crazy idea: Amber is beautiful and thin and has (according to Shun) natural D-cups. What makes this gross — other than the fact that Shun is explicitly planning to make money off the exploitation of her daughter’s body — is that Shun spends almost every interaction she has with Amber hectoring her about her weight. When they go out for breakfast together and Amber orders an amount of food Shun thinks is too much, she announces that Amber will not be eating for the rest of the day. She takes Amber for a hike, and when Amber states that she has a good body and doesn’t have to worry about exercising, Shun tells her that skinny people get cellulite more easily than “thick” people do. When Amber has an acting audition, Shun forbids her to eat beforehand so that she won’t get bloated.
What Have We Learned? Maybe Amber should just go to college.
Couples Therapy (VH1)
Who Is This Now? Joe Francis.
Why Are We Watching Him? He’s being challenged to participate in an anger-management exercise by his therapist, Dr. Jenn Berman.
How Did He Get Here? He’s in an inpatient couples’ therapy course with his much-younger girlfriend, Abbey Wilson.
What’s the Grossest Thing We See? As Joe watches fellow patient Tyler beat the crap out of a car with a baseball bat, calling out grievances he holds against his father, Joe quietly comments to Temple, another patient, “We don’t want to do it. Because it’ll be played on The Soup and stuff.” But when Dr. Jenn calls him up for his turn, Joe haughtily announces an entirely different reason to skip it: “I don’t believe in violence … To me, there’s an intellectual divide between anger [sic]. I think people who are intellectually inferior become more angry, ’cause they can’t figure it out? And it comes from frustration?” Temple calls out Joe and Abbey for not “wanting to tarnish their perfect image,” to which Joe replies that Temple is the one who brought it up. (It’s hard to tell from what we see whether Temple agreed with Joe so that she didn’t have to get into a debate with him while they were supposed to be respecting Tyler’s moment; regardless, Joe is definitely the one who brought up not wanting to look dumb on The Soup.) Anyway, thus challenged, Joe gets more indignant, braying, “I was abused as a child!” and barking at Temple, “Please don’t project what you tell me and say that we were talking about it.” (Total lie.) Chingy, Temple’s boyfriend, points out that Joe has, in the past, bitched about Liz (Flavor Flav’s girlfriend) not participating in exercises, and Joe gets even more shirty as he declares that this is different, yelling at Chingy, “If you were told to rape somebody right here, I wouldn’t do it either.” Eventually, Dr. Jenn decides to go along with Joe’s claim that the exercise is “triggering” him and lets him opt out. I bet this clip still ends up on The Soup, though!
What Have We Learned? Every second Joe Francis spends in decent society is borrowed time.
Who Is This Now? Stephanie.
Why Are We Watching Her? She’s at the salon with her bridesman, Krupp, for some pre-wedding primping.
How Did She Get Here? Having exhausted her options for torturing her fiancé, Chris (she settled an argument with him in an earlier episode by tasering him), she’s brought Krupp along to be the victim of her sadistic whims.
What’s the Grossest Thing We See? Stephanie tells Krupp that while she’s getting a bikini wax, he’s going to join her in order to get a wax job on the area between his scrotum and anus. (This area has a colloquial name but I’m not sure I’m allowed to use it on a family website.) [Editor’s note: Taint?] Krupp is alarmed, because his understanding was that he was there just to get the backs of his hands waxed. Once Stephanie and Krupp are in the treatment room together (which … seems like kind of an intimate situation for supposed platonic friends to share?), Krupp learns that Stephanie has actually arranged for him to get his entire pubic area waxed.
What Have We Learned? Stephanie somehow got Krupp to submit to this abuse rather than just leave the room, the salon, and their friendship. She’s either an excellent saleswoman or possibly an actual witch.