i can’t believe i haven’t blogged about this yet: “obsessed” (the A&E show, not the lame “fatal attraction” rip-off)

Last week was the premiere of A&E’s new show Obsessed, about people with moderate-to-severe Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. The show focuses on their compulsive behaviors (germphobia, fear of driving, pulling out hair, etc.), and gets them to sumbit to Cognitive Behavorial Therapy, where they confront their triggers in an attempt to normalize their reactions through exposure. It follows a little of the same formula as Intervention, except the patients aren’t being tricked in any way (unlike the addicts on Intervention who think they’re filming a documentary about addiction and don’t know they’re being set up for the titular confrontation). It’s kind of an odd experience seeing people on reality shows that are sympathetic, instead of the famewhores and drugged-out messes that usually populate them. (Although I do empathize with a lot of the addicts on Intervention, it must be admitted that sometimes I just want to smack them. Like Allison the amazing duster-huffer.)

I couldn’t find any clips of last night’s show online, but it featured a young woman named Nicole who had the most seemingly random tics I’ve ever heard of. We’re all familiar with the stereotypes of compulsive handwashing or repeatedly checking to make sure the stove is off. But Nicole had two triggers: She was totally freaked out by her mother’s and brother’s — and ONLY her mother’s and brother’s — hands, especially if they were holding something “softly” or “delicately”. She was eating with her mother, and every time her mother put the fork down on her plate, Nicole would have to pick it back up and BANG! it down on the plate until it “felt right”. She was also extremely bothered by her mother’s “K” sounds, and every time her mother said something with a K or hard C, Nicole would have to make this exaggerated “KCH!” sound in her throat. It was the most bizarre thing I’ve ever seen.

I’m looking forward to the rest of the seaon, although I suspect the hair-puller featured in the clip above will have me cringing non-stop. But I hope the show can bring attention to OCD and show that it’s a disorder that can seriously affect the quality of the sufferer’s lives. It’s certainly not cute or funny, like Monk. (I actually enjoyed the first couple seasons of Monk, which clearly showed how lonely and isolated the disorder made Monk feel. But it eventually descended into broad laugh-at-the-freak comedy, and I stopped watching it.)

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