Every week, television documentaries present us with so many unusual people, with so many strange and/or disturbing problems, you might find it hard to keep up with all of them. That's where I come in! Here's an unflinching look back at TV's Week in Freak Shows.
Embarrassing Bodies (Discovery Fit & Health)
Who Is This Now? Julie.
Why Are We Watching Her? She's concerned that her ears might be abnormal, in that when they aren't oozing a lot of thick fluid, they're so dry and flaky that her car is covered in ear skin crust. Also, it smells.
How Did She Get Here? At some point, she contracted chronic otitis (a long-term ear infection), which she decided not to have treated until some doctors drove a huge truck into her town square.
What's the Grossest Thing We See? As horrible as Julie's crusted outer ears are — they kind of look like tiny spiders have filled them with webs — they really can't match the hideousness of her goopy inner ears. Seeing them makes one muse as to whether camera technology has advanced too much.
What Have We Learned? As self-conscious as you may be about whatever disgusting thing is going on with you, it's quite possible that you could clear it up with a simple course of antibiotics. Don't be a child about it.
Bizarre ER (Discovery Fit & Health)
Who Is This Now? Matt.
Why Are We Watching Him? He's the recipient of a successful hand transplant.
How Did He Get Here? He was screwing around with an M-80 when it went off in his hand.
What's the Grossest Thing We See? The post-firecracker hand, obviously, which is absolutely pulverized and unsalvageable. It kind of looks like a wad of ground beef with a couple of fingers haphazardly shoved in it.
What Have We Learned? Everything your parents said about fireworks is true, and there's a good reason so many states have made them illegal.
World's Wildest Police Videos (Spike)
Who Is This Now? An unnamed father, his unnamed son, and their unnamed dog.
Why Are We Watching Them? They've been pulled over on a routine traffic stop that happened to be captured by a camera running in the detaining officer's squad car.
How Did They Get Here? Whatever the traffic infraction was, it's so minor as not even to be mentioned. However, they've ended up on World's Wildest Police Videos because, as members of the sovereign citizen movement — "a group that advocates violent resistance to law enforcement" — they get very uncooperative very quickly: The father shoves one officer, whereupon the son gets out of the van and shoots both officers with an AK-47 before fleeing the scene.
What's the Grossest Thing We See? When the kid shoots the officers, we only see him, not his victims ... but it's still pretty bad. Even worse is the footage taken from a helicopter above the scene where the police corner the gunmen in a parking lot and kill them both.
What Have We Learned? I'll let WWPV narrator Sheriff John Bunnell (retired) sum it up: "There's no telling how many lives officers saved today when they put themselves in the line of fire and shielded the rest of us from these homicidal anarchists. For good." So I guess I shouldn't feel too guilty about watching a snuff film that aired just before 9 p.m. on national television? OK.
Tara Ariano recommends keeping fireworks in the hands of trained professionals. Pun intended.