TV Smackdown: 'Hoarders' vs. 'Hoarding: Buried Alive'
In watching TLC’s “Hoarding: Buried Alive” (new episodes return July 10, 9 p.m. EST) and A&E’s “Hoarders,” I was tempted to break down the subtle differences between the two to create an easy viewing guide for you, dear reader, so that you might be able to determine which show is a better use of your valuable lounging-around-and-eating-chips-on-the-sofa time. But that was before I kept pausing my television to scream, “OH MY GOD, is that flat, furry thing the cleaner picked up a cat carcass? And why oh why is that woman trying to KEEP it? Are those rats? Is that wall of gooey looking stuff actually POOP? I feel sick. I think I have to go clean something. Throw up first, then clean something.”
Welcome to the joys of hoarding TV.
So at the end of each episode, all we’re left with is the relief of seeing dead rats neatly disposed of, feces industriously scrubbed away by people in hazmat suits and piles of unloved dolls donated to those who might actually play with them. In short, it’s pretty much the vicarious thrill we used to get from home redesigns in the 90s, but with a dose of insanity and mess more often associated with a police procedural. Finally, we’re able to look around our own abodes and think, well, the dust bunnies under the bed? Not so bad. We’re also able to worry, if we're so inclined, about what separates us and our growing pile of unclipped coupons and unfolded socks from these sad, lonely hoarders. Hopefully a lot, but neither “Hoarders” or “Hoarding: Buried Alive” attempts to give us any answers.
The verdict: Interchangeable, but whichever one you watch, make sure you schedule time to compulsively clean your house for at least an hour after viewing. Trust me, you'll want to.