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.
Pregnant in Heels (Bravo)
Who Is This Now? Patrice and Thomas.
Why Are We Watching Them? Patrice, who is expecting their first baby, has contacted maternity concierge Rosie Pope to deal with her and Thomas's separate issues.
How Did They Get Here? Patrice, a former fashion writer, is opposed to maternity clothing, despite the fact that she's in her third trimester and none of her pre-pregnancy clothes fit. Meanwhile, Thomas has developed a sympathetic pregnancy, and is experiencing more pregnancy symptoms (weight gain, tender breasts, constipation) than his wife is.
What's the Grossest Thing We See? When Patrice tries on clothes that actually fit her and complains that they all make her look fat, one fears for the daughter she's about to have, and to whom she may pass on her hatred of her body and its completely natural changes. (The episode also features an unrelated cold open in which Pope and two of her employees investigate pubic wigs for women, a.k.a. merkins, the contemporary commercial availability of which I was happier not knowing about.)
What Have We Learned? If your husband is competing with your pregnancy for attention, you might have married the wrong man.
Bristol Palin: Life's a Tripp (Lifetime)
Who Is This Now? Bristol.
Why Are We Watching Her? Because she's a kicky single mom trying to make it on her own, moving out of her parents' house for the very first time!
How Did She Get Here? Four years ago, her mother helped sink John McCain's presidential campaign, and Lifetime is convinced that we still care what she and her offspring are up to.
What's the Grossest Thing We See? Bristol dismisses a guy who heckles her at a restaurant by asking if his antipathy toward her mother is due to the fact that he's "a homosexual." (It is, but Bristol's need to ascertain it serves no purpose other than to highlight her own homophobia. Straight people hate Sarah Palin too!) Second-grossest is the Trumpishly over-the-top mansion Bristol moves into in Beverly Hills, and since it's far bigger and fancier than any place Lifetime might rent on her behalf and it's never explained how Bristol can afford it, one might reasonably presume that it is on loan from a Republican fan of her mother's.
What Have We Learned? Mark Ballas, Bristol's old partner on Dancing With the Stars, has nicknamed her "BP," which seems fitting given that, like the other BP, she will never be able to escape her connection to one of the worst disasters in American history.
Embarrassing Bodies (DFH)
Who Is This Now? Kerry.
Why Are We Watching Her? She's experiencing issues with evacuation.
How Did She Get Here? Like so many disgusting stories on Embarrassing Bodies, this one started when Kerry gave birth.
What's the Grossest Thing We See? Fortunately, we only hear about Kerry's sensations of something tearing when she tries to move her bowels; about her sometimes going up to two weeks without defecating; and about the obstructive skin tag that has formed in the affected region (her butt).
What Have We Learned? I guess I'll say it if no one else will: Having a baby just isn't worth it!
Monster In-Laws (A&E)
Who Is This Now? Mark, Liz, their daughter Leila, and Liz's sister Rebecca.
Why Are We Watching Them? Rebecca has made mortal enemies of both Leila and Mark.
How Did They Get Here? Two years ago, Rebecca (whose means of financial support are never spelled out) moved in with Mark and Liz; her failure to pay a penny in rent since then is but one aspect of what makes her a terrible houseguest.
What's the Grossest Thing We See? Rebecca is certainly obnoxious, but Liz, in the middle of her household's conflict, does herself no favors by responding to every moment of conflict by crying helplessly. Plus she keeps wearing Ren Faire-ish crushed-velvet garments — while she's just hanging around the house — and that is not OK.
What Have We Learned? If a family member's been freeloading off of you for, let's say, two months, there's no reason to assume she's going to get her act together after 22 more months.
Tara Ariano can neither confirm nor deny that she composed this post while wearing a merkin.