Reality television is now commonplace on television today. This type of programming is usually dominated by people acting badly, generally for the sake of the camera. The meaner, or more outrageous you are, the more popular. Reality TV opens the door to our dirty little habits which should make some sigh with relief, because now they know they are not the only ones in the world with this or that particular problem and if they want it, there is help.

For the last four seasons, A&E has aired the reality show “Hoarders.” It’s a painful look at people who put more value in ‘things’ than they do in family members and living well.

It’s much like Style Networks “Clean House” but only more desperate.

Watching “Hoarders” can cause mixed emotions in a viewer. First, it’s shock; how can a person live like that, and how can family members cope with it. Then it’s disgust; often homes are filthy, and look like they stink, and they always do. Junk is piled to the ceiling but somehow people adapt to it and make a home in the midst of the horrific conditions.

Your emotions suddenly turn to anger because these folks don’t think they need help, get attitudes when someone tries to help them and you end up wanting to turn the channel. But there is hope, mainly because of those very special people who have made it their life’s mission to help clean up other people’s mess. You stay with the show knowing in the end these people will get a second chance at living in a clean home.

According to A&E, “Hoarders” not only captures the drama as experts work to put each hoarder on the road to recovery but also highlights the individual’s inner challenges and triumphs. Although cleaning marks the first step of tackling this disorder, success is not definite.

Hoarders are from every walk of life. But because I write about Blacks in film and television, I make it a point to watch when a Black family or person is featured. There is no significant difference in their actions or attitudes; “Hoarders” helps us see how we are very much alike in dealing with our pain, and overwhelming odds.

To learn more about this disorder and to see full episodes you may have missed, go to “Hoarders” airs Monday nights on A&E. Check your local listings.

A&E’s “Intervention” also airs on Monday nights. “Intervention” is a powerful and gripping television series in which people confront their darkest demons and seek a route to redemption.

The “Intervention” television series profiles people whose dependencies on drugs and alcohol or other compulsive behavior has brought them to a point of personal crisis and estranged them from friends and loved ones.

A Black family was recently featured. A mother of three children–two daughters and a teenage son–claimed she loved to smoke crack and was proud of it. She even sold her body for the drug, and her mother blames herself because she was a heavy drug user for years and even went to prison for robbing a bank in order to purchase drugs. The family has a history of drug addiction and abuse, which includes her father and her children’s fathers. But the family has had enough; they want to break the cycle.

As you watch the drug users’ life unfold, you know they are not acting. This very graphic program gives you a window into the lives of families who are trapped in a world of addiction and broken dreams, and are seemingly devoid of hope.

But there is hope, an intervention, a final plea from family members urging their loved one to get help.

“Intervention” is not an easy program to watch. It seems very personal, and painful. But it too has a purpose. People whose loved ones suffer from addictions can find information and help.

To see past shows and to learn more about “Intervention,” go to, “Intervention” follows “Hoarders” on Monday nights.

Gail Choice can be reached at