No More Hoarders for Me

I deleted the series Hoarders after watching the last episode with Hanna (and the couple whose names I have already blotted from my memory). I’m done.

It is not entertaining, or enlightening, or useful to watch people who are sadly so damaged by poverty, ignorance, and most likely abuse of all kinds, that they are beyond the help of this tv show and the people on it, however well intentioned. Instead, we get to watch these people abuse everyone around them, and last night, we were treated to animals suffering and dying during the progress of shooting this show.

When people from the local Animal Care and Control showed up unexpectedly, the television crew talked them into leaving. I burst into tears. I just couldn’t believe it. I went to the A&E TV website and read their arguments for taking this action. Without all the facts, and someone from Animal Care and Control speaking up, it’s hard to sort out what was right and wrong so I will leave that be for now. It could be that this was the best course of action at the time. I posted a request for a specific update about the state of all the animals, in particular a pregnant goat with a mangled leg that never got any care for the leg. Oh god, the shots of this poor animal with its leg flopping around, hanging by a few threads of flesh, and this sad, depressing, pathetic wretch of a human being who can’t seem to see that the animal is suffering. What must have been done to her? What must she have done to her children when she was raising them?

There is no exaggerating the horror of this episode and how appalling it was from start to finish. I used to watch this show, I must admit, like someone who slows down to look at the scene of an accident. I will take responsibility for my contribution as an audience member. But I always had a problem with how they would spend 95% of the time wallowing in shot after shot of whatever nightmare these people were living, and then only 5% on the aftermath. I wanted more time with the actual clean-up and a look at these people’s lives afterwards. Was the effort helpful at all? I want to see more then a few sentences flashed on the screen at the very end.

Instead the series has been getting more and more sad. The last few episodes have been heading towards what I saw the night before last. It has devolved into pointless, barely told stories about people and a situation that is left mostly unchanged. There was an episode this season about a family, the father was nothing but seething anger and hate, and his two grown children, now in their 40’s I believe, who never left home, held prisoner by his embrace of hate. The last shot I remember is of the family just sitting there, frozen in hostility, beyond help. They’ve been evicted in spite of the clean-up, and they just don’t understand why the world is doing this to them. Again, I believe the doctors and cleaners care, and I’m think they are being traumatized and harmed by this show as well. I blame the producers and A&E.

As a sort of palate cleanser for this post, I give you a picture of a man feeding the birds in Washington Square Park which I took the other day.


Stacy Horn

I've written six non-fiction books, the most recent is Damnation Island: Poor, Sick, Mad, and Criminal in 19th-Century New York.

View all posts by Stacy Horn →

6 thoughts on “No More Hoarders for Me

  1. Another reason I absolutely, absolutely refuse to have cable or Netflix or On-Demand anything. I’m to the point of only watching local news and the few things that interest me on PBS.

    Changing the subject-did you put your feeder back up for the winter? I have and (if you’ve been able to check out my blog) have gotten new birds to feeders – Baltimore orioles, bluebirds, downy woodpeckers, red-bellied woodpeckers, brown-headed nuthatches, etc. The weather has been so terrible that more little birds are showing up for the free food.

  2. I’ve realized for some time that some of the “reality” shows were starting to go down a sad, scary road. It’s like the shock value isn’t getting the kind of ratings they want, so they make it more degrading. Disturbing trend.

    I’ve never watched an entire episode of ‘Hoarders’…just couldn’t sit through it due to some of the issues you mentioned. Palin’s Alaska is also impossible for me to watch, mainly due to the ruthless slaughtering of animals for food.

    I recently subscribed to Netflix and have a Roku for streaming video. I like being able to choose a good movie every night, not be limited by what is on TV. A&E, Discovery and TLC started out to be interesting, almost educational channels; now they are joining the trash TV category.

  3. Oh Karen, I made the decision to stop, money is really tight for me right now. I feel terrible about it. I’m going to check out your blog, though.

    Cara, yeah. I just picked up Ric Burn’s New York from the library.
    (So old-fashioned, I know.)

  4. Thanks for mentioning your blog Karen. I remember you showing off your bluebirds last year and I could use a good bird fix. I never see mine except for on the weekends. Too dark in the morning when I leave for work and too dark when I get home.

  5. I went and looked and your pictures are great, and it’s astounding the variety you get.

  6. Thanks, Betsy and Stacy. It’s kind of a mish-mash of things as I’m trying not to bore everyone with just birds. And, for you, Betsy, I’ll post bluebirds tomorrow. Have had tons this winter; the weather has brought more birds to the small garden’s feeders.

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