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The Morning After: Junk Shots

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A&E

Because my TiVo apparently decided that I was too happy, it decided yesterday evening on its own to switch the channel and start recording Hoarders on A&E. I always find the show fascinating and depressing, and fascinating in how depressing it is. The stories of the junk fiends, burying themselves in stuff usually as a reaction to deep psychological problems, are compelling, and I can see why they’ve made this one of A&E’s most successful shows ever, as hard as they can be to take. (In last night’s episode, a woman risked losing her family over her compulsion, but flew into a blinded rage as the cleaners began loading up trucks.)

What’s amazing to me above all is that, with this and drug-story reality show Intervention, A&E is essentially building a cable brand around sadness. (OK, sadness and The Glades.) Even the channel’s Storage Wars, which capitalizes on the trash-to-treasure mania of Pawn Stars, has an essentially sad premise: its stars are buying up the repossessed storage lockers of people who fell behind on their payments.

Stories of people addicted, possessed by their possessions, their possessions repossessed—it all seems to be hitting home with some viewers. Anyone here have a Hoarders addiction?

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