A&E: Appalling and Emotional


Last night, A&E premiered a new episode of Intervention, and followed it with the premiere of its new series Hoarders. As usual, it made for an intense Monday night.


Intervention featured a pair of brothers, Sebastian and Marcel, who at the ripe old ages of 20 and 21, are full-on heroin addicts. Both still live at home with mom and dad—selling drugs, sleeping and staying so fucked up they can barely speak. While many subjects of this show turn to drugs after some horrific event in their past, these two were essentially spoiled into drugs, with an overindulgent father trying to make up for his own strict upbringing by letting his boys do whatever they please.

What was so crazy about it was their older brother, who seems to have been forgotten in favor of these two “golden boys.” Though we don’t get a lot of his story, he seems to have his shit together, and is able to support himself and live a fairly normal life. And he’s the one the father refuses to believe when the question of the boys’ drug selling comes up. Dad’s so deep in denial, and so fucking whipped by these two brats, that he’s even willing to let his wife leave him, rather than disciplining these two addicts. It was truly one of the most pathetic and strangely codependent family situations I’ve ever seen on the show.

HoardersI have to admit, I was pretty excited about Hoarders. I’m really fascinated by people who hoard, and it both horrifies and captivates me to see them and their collections. But even so, I wasn’t ready for Jill’s house.

Jill lives in Milwaukee, and she hoards food (among other things). Her home was filled with rotten food—months-old pumpkins turned to blackened mush in the living room, bags of sludge that once contained lettuce in another room, a refrigerator full of rotten meat and year-old yogurt, carrots rotting in the sink. It was the kind of thing nightmares are made of. What was even worse was that Jill had several cats, living in (and probably contributing to) the filth.

While seeing a house full of clutter is pretty shocking, seeing the level of squalor this woman lived (and forced her pets to live) in was almost too much for me to watch. And seeing her intense mental disorder—which allowed her to reason that as long as the food package wasn’t “puffy,” it was still OK to eat—just blew my mind. At the end, it said she was seeking therapy, and I can only hope she gets the help she needs because no person (or animal) should ever live that way.

And even though I’m still horrified by last night’s episode, I can’t wait to tune in next week!


9 responses to “A&E: Appalling and Emotional

  1. I had an employee that was a hoarder, and trust me this dynamic follows the person to work! She was one of the best direct care maternity nurses I’ve worked w/in my career. But sadly, her hoardering behavior limited her career potential. I think this is one of the most frustrating behavior disorders one can enounter.

    • @AGreenEyeDevil: I think both my grandparents (and other members of my family) had borderline hoarder tendencies. My grandmother’s house was just insane, and my grandfather got a freaking train depot (I know, WTF?), put it in the yard and filled it to the rafters with junk. I’m a bit of a pack rat myself, but I do regular purges, giving things to Goodwill and throwing things in the trash. I think my family’s habits make me even more fascinated by all this.

  2. Dotty Z, I’ve often wondered if those heavily influenced by The Great Depression (directly or via a family member) are more predisposed to hoarding given the deprivation/difficulties they encountered. Do you think that played a role for your grandparents?

    I just have to say – WOW, a train depot?!

    • @AGreenEyeDevil: I think it definitely played a role. They both raised kids during the Depression, and they struggled mightily during that time. My grandmother used to do stuff like washing styrofoam and plastic dining wear, reusing it over and over again.

      And yeah, the train depot is crazy. I don’t even know how he got ahold of that. It used to sit down the street from their house, and I guess they wanted to get rid of it, so he took it. Insane.

  3. angie and i watched it and could barely get through it. but we couldn’t get over how normal – in talking and outside of their houses – these people seemed (aside from their reasoning to keep things). like the wife who was ready to throw everything away seemed pretty normal, you know? fascinating.

  4. AYL, it’s amazing how talented and engaging a hoader can be in other facets of their life. It’s not until you see their house and/or office space that you’re just dumbfounded at the paradox.

  5. I just blogged about this today. I am totally with you. Fascinated and repulsed at the same time.

    Here’s my blog: http://ljworganizing.blogspot.com/

    I really commend A & E for putting this kind of programming on the air, and the participants for their courage.

  6. Nice post. bubbleugmculture.com is killer.

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