Freak Show & Tell: Sink Baths, Revirginization, and Mauled Robot Babies
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? Emily.
Why Are We Watching Her? Pregnant with her first child, she is so terrified of labor that she has remained purposefully ignorant about what she should expect of the process of childbirth.
How Did She Get Here? As a preteen, she watched an extremely explicit childbirth movie in school that traumatized her for life.
What’s the Grossest Thing We See? Before maternity concierge Rosie Pope can even address the issue of Emily’s labor phobia, a consultation in Emily’s home goes awry when Emily’s yappy little dog Mikey goes nuts and attacks a demo baby doll out of Pope’s bag, dragging it around the room by its head. Not only do Emily and her husband Dustin fail to register any alarm about this incident as evidence of how they should expect their (poorly trained) dog to respond to their imminent baby, but Emily flatly refuses to prioritize said baby’s safety over the dog.
What Have We Learned? If you spoil your dumb dog as though it were a baby, then having an actual baby may be unnecessary. (And inadvisable.) ALSO: When you’re learning what an episiotomy is (in your ninth month of pregnancy), simply stating aloud, “I don’t want to tear, I don’t want to rip” will not prevent those things from happening to you, unless maybe you phrase the declaration as a spell — and then, only if you are a witch.
Beverly Hills Nannies (ABC Family)
Who Is This Now? Ari.
Why Are We Watching Her? She’s auditioning nannies to look after her daughter, Emma.
How Did She Get Here? Ari lost her last nanny, Kristin, when she asked Kristin to clean up feces left around the kitchen by the family duck. Kristin states that she’s fine dealing with poop in diapers; waterfowl waste is not covered by the terms of her employee agreement.
What’s the Grossest Thing We See? Ari tells one applicant, Amanda, that she met her fiancé when he was the best man at her first wedding, adding, “It’s not as naughty as it sounds. Well, it is. But it’s not. But it is.” Later, Ari tells applicant Amber to pick up the dog’s poop in the middle of her job interview. At her second interview, Amber must cheerfully sit through a recitation of Ari’s numerical ratings for her in the areas of personality, discipline, and “cuteness.” (Amber ends up getting the job, perhaps because Ari’s fiancé Barry rates her cuteness as a mere 6.)
What Have We Learned? Some rich people in Beverly Hills are such human garbage that they don’t realize it’s not in their interest to have their horrible behavior documented for reality TV.
Hoarding: Buried Alive (TLC)
Who Is This Now? Randy.
Why Are We Watching Him? He’s hoarded in his apartment so badly that the only way he can get from room to room is by crawling through the top of door frames over piles and piles and piles of stuff.
How Did He Get Here? He admits to suffering from both depression and OCD, which lead him to fill gaps in his life by acquiring objects (in the case of the former illness) and not to be able to resist buying things he sets his heart on, even if he can’t really afford them (in the latter).
What’s the Grossest Thing We See? Seeing Randy “bathing” by wiping himself down with a facecloth moistened in his filthy sink is pretty grim, particularly when we can see, on a small towel rack beside the sink, three Powerade bottles filled with a yellowish fluid of indeterminate origin. (Randy has already told us by this point that “the commode” has been unusable for some time, so )
What Have We Learned? A brief chat with Guy — Randy’s landlord, who lives downstairs — is a terrible reminder of the risks that come with renting out property. On the other hand, kudos to the crew who built Guy’s building: It’s remarkable, with all the crap on the second story, that the floor hasn’t just caved in.
Strange Sex (TLC)
Who Is This Now? Lynn and Jonny.
Why Are We Watching Them? Lynn, age 56, is about to get not just vaginal rejuvenation surgery but also a hymenoplasty: surgery to render her hymen intact again.
How Did They Get Here? They were married when she was 16 (he was 19) and pregnant; since then, as both Jonny and Lynn discuss very frankly, things downstairs have lost some of their original structural integrity. “She was a lot looser than she was before she gave birth like throwing a tennis ball down a hallway,” says Jonny — charmingly — of the woman who gave birth to two of his children. So they’re getting her a tune-up to celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary.
What’s the Grossest Thing We See? Both Jonny and Lynn talk about her surgeries in terms of restoring her virginity, which grants more importance to the hymen than most sex educators have done for the past 40 years or so. Almost worse than that, given all the clinical descriptions of Lynn’s genitals and of the transformation they are about to undergo, filming the couple sharing a cherry pie is a little much.
What Have We Learned? Guys, for real. Why does anyone ever have a baby?!
Tara Ariano is not sure why a family living in Beverly Hills would even want a pet duck.