It is a truth, universally acknowledged, that a woman (between the ages of 19 and 40) in possession of a large DVR needs some will power.
Perhaps you have heard of this new television show, Hoarders? It is described by A & E (on their website) as the following:
Each 60-minute episode of Hoarders is a fascinating look inside the lives of two different people whose inability to part with their belongings is so out of control that they are on the verge of a personal crisis. Whether they’re facing eviction, the loss of their children, jail time, or divorce, they are all desperately in need of help. In a fly-on-the-wall style, we’ll capture the drama as experts work to put each on the road to recovery. But cleaning is just the first step, like taking drugs away from an addict. The healing won’t be easy. For some, throwing away even the tiniest thing — a sponge, a button, an empty box — is so painful that they will not be able to allow the cleaning to be completed, no matter the consequences. For others, professional help and an organizer’s guidance give them the strength to recover. At the end of each episode we’ll find out who has been able to keep their hoarding behavior at bay and who, despite help, is still lost inside this painful disease.
Right. So, as a woman with a DVR & a husband who sometimes spends an evening meeting up with his sailing friends for an evening of culture & refinement (Read: bourbon & talk of boats that go real fast) I downloaded two episodes of Hoarders with an intent to spend an evening of sloth-like bliss, eating breakfast for dinner & watching trashy television. Tasty omelette, cozy blanket & all, I was ready for some relaxing. Instead I got a punch in the gut.
This…show….as some call it, isn’t entertainment in my book. It is a front row seat (from my clean, tidy house and recently vacuumed couch) at the lives of people afflicted with a mental disorder so deep & powerful they ignore human instincts that cause (most) of us to stay away from rotting food, feces and animal droppings. The show, rather than simply explain hoarding with a few scandalous photos & the camera time with a psychologist & perhaps an interview with a person who hoards (face blurred, to protect their privacy) instead exploits it. Juicy interviews with crying friends and spouses. Long camera shots of the utter chaos they live in. The threats the people live with, typically the ones that prompted them (or their family member) to reach out to the show – eviction, condemned homes, city fines, DCFS taking their children away are highlighted over and over again, the shows “explanation” for why they are there with their cameras.
I’ve only watched two episodes, so I can’t speak for every one, but the ones I watched brought in two days of help- psychologists, cleaning crews & a professional organizer. They film as the experts (respectfully) try to help the hoarders part with the rot and the mold and stuff – useless broken junk, beyond repair, that simply sits in their homes, their yards and their attics.
What the show doesn’t do is fix the problem. They often only have time to clean one room in the entire disgusting home. It doesn’t fix the mental illness that got the people there. One episode ended with a blurb saying the individual was in therapy, but the rest of the of episodes I saw ended with a statement saying the person refused therapy.
I don’t think the individuals portrayed on this show have the mental capacity to consent to being on this show. (WHO HAS A FANCY LAW DEGREE NOW?) Much like someone under the influence of alcohol can’t consent to things, neither can a person who suffers from (in the courts words, not mine) a mental defect. The mental illness removes their ability to agree to be put on television. Sure, some people are learning as they watch. Some people might use the show to come to grips with the Hoarders in their life. The rest of us however, sit in our jammies and eat our crackers and cheese and marvel at how weird/gross/disgusting/awful/bizarre these people are and HOW DID THEIR FAMILIES LET THIS HAPPEN? YEE GADS LOOK AT THAT ROTTEN PUMPKIN! IN THE LIVING ROOM! NEXT TO THE BABY BASSINETT FULL OF STARVING KITTENS!
My point is, these people are ill. They deserve respect and help, preferably behind closed doors with a lot of bleach and therapy. They need help that doesn’t come in the way of a television show- from their families, their church, their health care professionals, from Adult Protective Services, from their neighbors and paper boys & the Fed Ex man that brings all that junk to their door. They don’t need all of America gazing in at their crazy. They are not a bimbo hoping for a shot of fame & a 3 carat diamond on The Bachelor & they are not signing up to live on a deserted island to compete for a hot meal and a million dollars.
They already live on a deserted island, one filled with sadness and loneliness & filth. We don’t need to invite ourselves in from our own sterile living rooms.