Tuesday, December 01, 2009

The Long Trainwreck

10 minutes into "Hoarders" last night, I was struck (not for the first time) with one of those pangs of "why is someone else's misery so fascinating to me?"

What was it about watching a woman squirm while three professionals calmly explained to her that 1 1/2 inches of rotten meat sludge in the bottom of her crisper was a health hazard that I considered entertainment?

Was it gratitude? I don't think it was. Although I tried to spin it that way.

Was it shock-and-paralysis? More likely. How bad could this get?

I suppose that passes for entertainment now. It's like the news has finally invaded entertainment TV. Reality shows have dragged what we fear right smack into prime time. Murders, crime investigations, mental illness, casually slung insults, financial ruin, and of course wildly unclean homes: these are at the crucial, central plots of most of the TV I find interesting (outside the occasional, and rarely entertaining Cowboys game and the even less entertaining commercials-dotted-with-movie known as AMC).

I heard someone referring to slow motion ski videos that romance deep powder in Vail as "Snow Porn". I think Hoarders is "Grime Porn": We (I) watch it and weirdly project ourselves somewhere we could never knowingly tread. We (I) wait, patiently, for the light to go on in a woman's head – a woman who lived in a house full of rotting food for years...fucking YEARS – after 2 days of intervention by psychologists and organizational professionals. Maybe that's the bigger draw: can the Container Store fix this woman's dimensia? I smell sponsorship opportunity!

Oh. No. That's a pumpkin. Wait... That WAS a pumpkin. Last week. Now it's a pile of mush in the corner of the living room.