Maisy Fernandez October 7, 2009
It’s not that we wanted to break up with our favorite TV shows. But when they make themselves unavailable between seasons, it’s only natural that we stray from time to time.
Now, we admit: We strayed a lot over the past three months. And we had no idea what we’d been missing. There’s some crazy, crazy stuff on TV!
Even though many of our favorite programs are back, here are seven shows we can’t stop watching:
Toddlers & Tiaras
This documentary program follows several families each week as their children — ranging from babies to 6-year-olds — compete in beauty pageants. This is where you see stage moms at their finest.
It’s hard to stomach watching four-year-olds get spray tans, be slathered in makeup and buried under giant, fake hairpieces — under the direction of their parents, no less. But when they come out wearing a sequined two-piece cowgirl outfits for for a strip club and “flippers” to hide their ghastly missing teeth — well, that’s just nuts.
Really, mom? This is OK with you? I’ve seen more clothes on The Girls Next Door.
10 p.m. Wednesdays, TLC
The compulsion to collect is the focus of this show, which highlights people who hoard everything from animals to garbage to liquor bottles to car parts. The most disturbing episode to date featured a woman who, among other things, collected cats. She had no idea how many felines lived there, since her place was so full of crap she could barely walk around. When they cleaned out her place, there were more than 75 cats — and almost 40 of them were dead, rotting or skeletal someplace in her house or garage.
10 p.m. Mondays, A&E
I Didn’t Know I Was Pregnant
Having recently been pregnant, I became fascinated with this show, which tells the stories of women who had no idea they were with child until they at the hospital in labor. Because they don’t know their condition, many of them continued to drink, smoke, play sports and do other dangerous behaviors and got no prenatal care. All the stories have happy, healthy deliveries, but still.
The more episodes I see, the more insane it seems. I mean, who wouldn’t know?!
Airs at various days and times on TLC
This show is crazy in a really sad way. It focuses on individuals with dangerous addictions — usually to drugs, alcohol or both — and the interventions staged by their friends and families. You see this kind of thing in movies all the time, but seeing it play out with real, live people is both tragic, educational and eye-opening.
You watch, and you really hope the person can get their lives together by the end of the show. At the end of each episode, there’s an epilogue, and it isn’t always a happy ending. Many go back to killing themselves slowly; some even die before the episode airs.
It serves a purpose, too. It makes you never, ever want to do drugs or have more than a cocktail or two.
9 p.m. Mondays, A&E
On this contest-style show, women nominate their lying, cheating, conceited, ridiculous boyfriends — “tools” — to be rehabilitated into good domestic partners. (Winning means you’re less of a tool than the other contestants, which isn’t much of an achievement.)
The nurturer in me wants to put my arms around the women’s shoulders and say, “Wouldn’t it be easier and healthier to just find a boyfriend that treated you right?” But my inner TV viewer is glad they stuck with them, because it makes for great television. After all, who doesn’t love watching guys crafting fauxhawks from gallons of hair gel, calling each other “bro,” flexing their muscles in front of mirrors, and, in general, making fools of themselves?
Every so often, one of the women will get a clue and dump their guy. And we say a little prayer that they have better taste the next time around.
Sundays, 9 p.m., VH1
Man v. Food
If host Adam Richman weren’t so funny and full of personality, this show would be unwatchable. Richman travels to various cities in search of gut-busting meals, such as sandwiches made with four pounds of meat (served with fries!), stuffed, 12 egg omelettes and six-pound burritos.
Cameras roll as he tackles these enormous piles of food. His eyes roll back in his head, his nostrils flare and he sometimes sweats as he noshes, remnants of food often adhering to his face. Because he’s usually required to finish in a certain amount of time, there’s no time to mess with a napkin and hygiene.
Gross and fascinating, it’s got train-wreck appeal.
10 p.m. Wednesdays on the Travel Channel
18 Kids and Counting
With 18 children, Michelle Duggar and her husband, Jim Bob, have their work cut out for them. This reality program follows their day-to-day lives as the family goes bowling, does chores and tends to their garden and more.
It’s wholesome television viewing, to be sure; the craziness comes from watching them all do things as a group. I mean, think about how hard it is to coordinate happy hour with five friends. Imagine doing that with 20 people, all day, every day.
Their transportation is a large vehicle, like those airport shuttles that transport you to the rental car places. And I don’t care who you are, no parent can control 18 children at once.
Amazingly, Michelle and Jim Bob still manage some alone time. The proof? They’re expecting child No. 19.
Various days and times on TLC.
Categories: TVTags: Hoarders, Man v food, Toddlers & tiaras, Tool academy