Turn On. Tune In. Hit Play.

I am not a slave to television.  I do not plan my life based on the TV schedule… but having a DVR may have something to do with that.  With it I can extend my multitasking even to television watching, and thereby avoid tough trade offs like which baseball game to watch on a given day.  Line ‘em up; I’ll watch them all!

A friend and I recently compared notes on TV shows that horrify us – but that we surreptitiously watch anyway.  We cannot look away.  Of course, I would never, ever record any of these shows because that would be sad and wrong.  But if I were channel surfing and happened to come across one of these…

Hoarding: Buried Alive.  For a neatnik like me, this show is scarier than any death drop roller coaster out there.  The unfortunate hoarders profiled tend to be lonely and isolated, and many just seem bat-shit crazy.   The presence of cameras is usually precipitated by some catastrophic event, like a child has developed asthma due to conditions in the home, and the authorities are now threatening removal and/or to condemn the property.

It’s always amazing to me that hoarders are so deathly attached to their stuff.  (Queue sound of hand-slapping-forehead here.)  I know I know, hoarders gonna hoard.  But it’s like someone with emphysema, who needs an oxygen tank to breath, but still refuses to give up smoking.  So… your kitchen sink is clogged and filled with filthy stagnant water.  Your fridge is crawling with cockroaches.  And you sleep on a funked-up mattress next to a mountain of QVC Christmas ornaments that will smother you in your sleep if they fall on you.  Yet, you insist that nothing is wrong?

Will Mary Jo let the biohazard team clean out her house, or will she lose her marbles and lock herself in her basement with her collection of newspapers dating back to the Eisenhower administration?  Those are the scenes that really get my adrenaline pumping!

What Not To Wear.  OK, I lied.  I have been known to record this one, because really… what’s not to love, starting with Clinton Kelly?  (Or as his makeovers from New Jersey often refer to him, “Cli-hun”.)  I highly recommend his book Freakin’ Fabulous: How to Dress, Speak, Behave, Eat, Drink, Entertain, Decorate, and Generally Be Better Than Everyone Else.

The show can be inspiring when a hard-working single mom finally sees herself as beautiful.  But the real guilty pleasure part of WNTW is the clothing choices that got these women nominated for the show in the first place.  “You wore THAT to your husband’s boss’s wedding?  Afterwards he was FIRED, right?”

No matter what fashion faux pas is committed, you’ll find a plus-sized woman shopping in the junior’s department at its core.

The make-up segment is almost always benign.  When there’s a professional make-up artist at work, there’s nothing but upside.  But the hairstyle segment?  Yikes, hang on to your extensions people!   A 55 year-old woman with a middle part and no bangs, two-inch roots and only five hairs on her entire head that aren’t split will plop down in the stylist’s chair and say, “You can do whatever you want, but I want to keep it long.”  The stylist will explain that her cut is a bit “dated” and it ages her, so he wants to cut off FOUR INCHES.  This will leave her with hair only down to (gasp!) her shoulders.  The hair segment usually ends in tears, and a mediation team must be called in.

At the end of the show, the makeover unveils her new look at a cocktail party for family and friends.  Her boss announces that she can use the front door when entering the office from now on.  Her husband is speechless and gives her a big, sloppy smooch.  Her kids cry, and say they have never seen her look so pretty.  (That’s the part that always gets to me.)

Decision 2012.  This is the guilty TV pleasure that cracked up my friend Jenni, once I assured her that I wasn’t being sarcastic.  I am a registered Democrat who watches the Republic primary debates (sometimes twice!) and takes notes in case something happens worth blogging about.  I also watched the Super Tuesday results come in with my guy Chuck Todd.  He is adorable and objective, and he doesn’t yell or interrupt. (That’s right, I’m looking at YOU Chris Matthews!)  And he can do math really fast.  IN HIS HEAD!

I do not consider Who Do You Think You Are? a guilty pleasure.  There’s nothing to feel guilty about – it’s educational, damn it!  My devotion to it stems from my love of history, genealogy and Ancestry.com… and my determination to prove that I am related to a really good U.S. President.  Not a Warren G. Harding or William Henry Harrison.   I want a founding father, Honest Abe or some sort of Roosevelt (even Eleanor!).

Once I uncover my link to the White House… consider it blogged!

What are your guilty TV pleasures?

7 thoughts on “Turn On. Tune In. Hit Play.

  1. Virge

    We don’t have a tv but when I am in a hotel room sans kids the clicker goes from Family Guy to House Hunters to WNTW.

  2. Jenni Hamill

    I love any article that can manage to equate the quality of Hoarders to the Republican primaries. Kimberly for president!!

  3. Ms. Julia

    I watch Hoarding when I travel. It is incredibly, deeply disturbing. I do find myself arguing with the television (that’s effectively what it is) about whether many of the people profiled are hoarders in the clinical sense or really just filthy and lazy. I won’t argue that all, however, suffer from a mental illness of some type/order.

    1. Before that show, I had thought hoarding meant you bought stuff from QVC that you didn’t need, until you bankrupted yourself. It’s stunning how it also seems to include a complete inability to take a decisive action inside your house. Your sink gets clogged? You can’t bring yourself to fix it. You spill something? You just leave it there to turn rancid and attract vermin. In time your kitchen or bath will stop functioning, and you just stop going in there. Other rooms just get so full of crap, you stop going in them too. Eventually you are confined to just a couple of rooms. I can’t believe those folks are fixed by just a group of hazmat cleaners coming in to purge the place. Serious counseling has got to be required.

  4. Veron

    I somehow missed this post! This line made me LOL: “Her boss announces that she can use the front door when entering the office from now on.” Okay, you know I love WNTW, but a part of me always wonders if the woman maintains the look and her confidence is now through the roof, does her relationship suffer? It’s like when you’re a 5 so you only date 5s, but all of a sudden, you’re an 8, and you wake up one day and think, wth am I doing with a 5?! I can do better! Upgrade! Or, the guy is like “OMG she is so much prettier than me now” and then gets insecure and clingy, thus driving her away even though she was perfectly happy with him. In case you’re wondering, these are the things that keep me up at night.

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