Freak Show & Tell: Terrible Boyfriend Edition
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.
My Teen Is Pregnant and So Am I(TLC)
Who Is This Now? Austin.
Why Are We Watching Him? He’s accompanying his girlfriend Chaé to a shower for their imminent baby.
How Did He Get Here? Since Chaé has become pregnant at the same time as her mother, Lorna, TLC is profiling them in a reality show with some other pregnant mother-daughter pairs.
What’s the Grossest Thing We See? We learned last week that Austin, who is unemployed, still lives with his parents, his very young child from another relationship, and … the mother of that child. He lives. With his ex. So Chaé already has cause to suspect that Austin may not be 100 percent committed to her and the daughter they’re about to have. This week, Austin is burnishing his dirtbag credentials: When Chaé tells him at the shower that she has to sit down, he agrees that she has to sit down on his “big old d---.” Then he snatches her phone away to call someone, right in front of her, denying that he’s calling anyone; when she points out that it’s her phone, he snaps, “It’s mine now.” Later, he starts a fight with Chaé in front of a table full of people, including Lorna, and leaves the party before it’s over.
What Have We Learned? The people who might get you pregnant when you’re a teenager sometimes aren’t the best people to raise a child with.
Couples Therapy (VH1)
Who Is This Now? Joe.
Why Are We Watching Him? He’s working on his relationship with his girlfriend Abbey.
How Did He Get Here? Joe (last name Francis) is the creator of the Girls Gone Wild media empire, which may have had some effect on the way he treats women in his personal life.
What’s the Grossest Thing We See? During a group therapy session, Dr. Jenn Berman suggests that the significant age difference (14 years) — added to the fact that Abbey has an eating disorder, which has made her the “identified patient” in their relationship — has meant that Joe has a controlling attitude. After the session, Joe complains that Dr. Berman attacked him, claiming that he has always “tried to empower [Abbey] as a woman” as much as he could, and orders her to tell Dr. Berman next time that he is not controlling. (And Abbey agrees and apologizes.) Later, getting ready for a tandem ascent on a rock climbing wall, Joe attaches himself to Abbey and starts spinning her around wildly as she tells him — laughing, but still — to stop. Eventually, she falls on her ass; after Joe picks her up and kisses her without actually apologizing, he quietly tells her, “That was your fault … Don’t embarrass me.”
What Have We Learned? In some ways, Joe Francis might not be a great boyfriend.
Who Is This Now? Dekeydra.
Why Are We Watching Her? She’s getting married, and her behavior toward everyone involved in the blessed event could be just a bit more cordial.
How Did She Get Here? Since Dekeydra proudly tells the camera that she will never apologize for being who she is, she’ll probably never be moved to examine her own manners, and the world will never know how she got here.
What’s the Grossest Thing We See? In the last days before the wedding, Dekeydra summons her bridesmaids to appear before her in their dresses so she can critique the way her friends — and that’s using the term very loosely — look in them. When one, Angelina, pushes back at Dekeydra’s declaration that Angelina’s gotten too fat for her dress to fit her properly, Dekeydra bellows over her and refuses to make eye contact. Angelina finally resigns from the wedding party, and Dekeydra follows her to the door and throws the dress at her.
What Have We Learned? Elope.
Marriage Boot Camp: Bridezillas (WEtv)
Who Is This Now? Rob.
Why Are We Watching Him? As part of a couples’ therapy program, he’s spending the day seeing what it would be like to be married to Kristen, a woman in his therapy group.
How Did He Get Here? Rob married Remy, a woman whose wedding-related antics were sufficiently extreme for her to be profiled on an earlier season of Bridezillas; consequently, I assume, now they’re having problems in their marriage.
What’s the Grossest Thing We See? The extremely vain Rob, who’s been instructed as part of the exercise to go grocery shopping with Kristen, tells the camera that from the start, he was worried that strangers in the store might think that Kristen is his actual wife, since she doesn’t meet his high standards of beauty. When she accidentally drops a $50 bill from the cash they’ve been given to shop with, losing it for several minutes, Rob negates the good he did by finding it before someone stole it by saying “That’s why you don’t let women handle money” about 20 different times. Finally, he celebrates being reunited at the end of the day with Remy, the wife he chose, by flatly responding to a question she’s asked about his drinking with “You’re dumb.”
What Have We Learned? Rob is lucky anyone agreed to marry him — even his horrible wife.
Pretty Wicked Moms (Lifetime)
Who Is This Now? Emily.
Why Are We Watching Her? She’s revealing a makeover she performed on a relatively new friend, Meredith.
How Did She Get Here? She’s a monster, so obviously she’s the anchor beast in a Lifetime reality show.
What’s the Grossest Thing We See? When Meredith comes to Emily’s store, Swank, so Emily and her sidekick Nicole N. can start this makeover, Meredith reveals that she doesn’t put much effort into her look because, several years ago, she was in a car accident and suffered a brain injury, consequently experiencing a change of personality and some memory loss. She adds that because she got married about the time of her accident, she doesn’t remember her wedding, and that though there is a video, she’s never been able to bring herself to watch it and still doesn’t want to. So OF COURSE, when Emily and Nicole plan a whole unveiling party for Meredith’s new look, they arrange with her husband to bring the video so that she can watch it — against her stated wishes, and in front of a group of frenemies she apparently hardly knows. Naturally, this makes Meredith cry and ruins the big reveal, and the night.
What Have We Learned? If you want to defy Emily, having a public breakdown might get her to back off.
Princesses: Long Island (Bravo)
Who Is This Now? Ashlee.
Why Are We Watching Her? Her parents are throwing her a lavish 30th birthday party.
How Did She Get Here? She still lives at home with her parents, who have spoiled her spectacularly.
What’s the Grossest Thing We See? The party features at least one male model serving hummus to the guests, which is normal. What’s not normal is that the model is naked except for briefs and a belt/holster, worn around his waist, that’s equipped with several cups of hummus, in which guests are invited to dip their crudités.
What Have We Learned? The standards for acceptable social behavior are very different in Long Island than what I am used to.
Taboo USA (Nat Geo)
Who Is This Now? Vincent.
Why Are We Watching Him? He’s a painter who works in a unique medium: his own blood.
How Did He Get Here? Having survived an unstable childhood as the son of a severe hoarder, Vincent explores dark themes in his work.
What’s the Grossest Thing We See? Vincent getting an in-call phlebotomist to draw his blood so he can paint with it? Vincent talking about how his blood smells bad, so that he has to finish painting pretty quickly?
What Have We Learned? If you’re thinking of copying Vincent, be careful: One time, he had too much blood drawn at once, and his lung collapsed. These aren’t problems experienced by, for instance, LeRoy Neiman.