The appeal of Gross TV on DStv

Ewww TV

International 02 September 2022

The surprising appeal of Gross TV: why we watch, and the horrors we’ve seen!

Ewww TV

Hold onto your hazmat hats for Call The Cleaners as we treat you to befouled and grungy bathrooms, a “spit mountain”, flattened rats, hoarder flats, and disco rice (maggots) in a chair someone died in. You’d think we’d flee, but for some viewers, this is a siren’s call – and that’s great, because we have some wobbly cysts and flaking feet, with brown spongy toenails for you too.

The same way we can devour True Crime shows without feeling any desire to be murdered in a torture basement, we can take in our favourite icky shows like Monsters Inside Me, Dr. Mercy, Dr. Pimple Popper and My Feet Are Killing Me without being gross about human suffering.

With a new season of Dr. Pimple Popper coming to TLC (DStv Channel 135) this September, we took a moment to think about why you can’t look away from all the parasites, poppin’ and scrapin’.

As always, the truth might surprise you.

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Somebody cares

True crime and gross shows have a powerful message in common: somebody cares. Seen through that lens, they reveal that there are no limits to what other people will do to help you.

They’ll sift through the particles of dust in your vacuum cleaner for a clue to catch your killer. They’ll sift through the piles of trash in your house to give you back your life, and they’ll touch parts of your body that you yourself have become afraid to even look at. “What it all comes down to is it makes people happy! Some people feel like it’s a cleansing thing, like you’re getting rid of something that shouldn’t be there,” explains Dr. Pimple Popper, Dr. Sandra Lee, before adding “To some people, it’s like a roller coaster or watching a scary movie – there’s a rush of endorphins that you get watching something like this, and then watching it get resolved and being happy in the end – it makes you feel really good.”

Dr. Mercy Odueyungbo of reality show Dr. Mercy says, “There’s lots of transformation and lots of stories. We get to follow a lot of patients where we give them their lives back. People can actually go back and get jobs now, because they are normal again and people aren’t going to be staring at them.”

Dr Pimple Popper S4 2.JPG 2 (1)

Dr. Mercy is a big fan of the way that Dr. Pimple Popper has also “popped” people’s fears about their weird bodies. “I think Dr. Pimple Popper is amazing! A lot of my patients have watched Dr. Pimple Popper and they saw the patients going in for their procedure, happy and smiling. By the time they come to me, they know that we can talk them through it, that they don’t have to be in pain while we’re doing it, and that patients actually leave the office perfectly fine. The fear factor part has been removed by watching her show,” she says.

Angela of series Call The Cleaner explains that one of the most important things they all do is not to judge people. She sees gross things like that every day, but never, ever, gross people. “The first time you come across something bad you’re shocked and when you’ve seen something 100 times it doesn’t bother you anymore,” says Angela. “You can’t be judgemental. It can happen to anyone from any walk of life and a lot of it is down to depression. Something happens and they just get in a mess and it escalates. Sometimes we have to talk our way in, because people are embarrassed, but we explain we are not there to judge but to help. They’re always really grateful when we’ve finished. That’s why we do it.”

Gross shows, great messages

Dr. Pimple Popper 4B 3840X2160
Dr. Pimple Popper Season 4

Dermatologist Dr. Sandra Lee lets us inside her clinic to meet her patients who are all battling with skin-related conditions. It’s a love-or-hate show, with the visuals on extractions either being your jam, or completely putting you off your custard.

Watch Dr. Pimple Popper Season 4 from Friday, 2 September at 21:00 on TLC (DStv Channel 135)

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My Extreme Excess Skin S2 2017
My Extreme Excess Skin Season 2

In series like My 600lb Life, we follow morbidly obese patients as they take back control of their lives and health. Now people who’ve gone through extreme weight loss speak honestly of its impact as they take us through their next step – plastic surgery to remove the excess skin left after their bodies “deflated”.

Watch My Extreme Excess Skin Season 2 Mondays at 20:00 on TLC (DStv Channel 135)

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Call The Cleaners S01 EP03 16X9
Call The Cleaners Season 1

Britain’s extreme cleaners – including sisters Yvonne and Angela, mother Maxine and her daughter Jasmine, and Shaun and his team – help vulnerable, desperate clients who’re drowning in grime and squalor, whether in their own houses, or once a hoarding tenant has moved out.

Watch Call The Cleaners Season 1 from Monday, 5 September at 21:00 & 21:30 on TLC (DStv Channel 135)

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My Feet Are Killing Me 2 Landscape
My Feet Are Killing Me Season 2

Dr. Brad Schaeffer and Dr. Ebonie Vincent are putting their patients back on their feet. They treat feet split down the middle, growths, extra toes, missing toes, ballet feet, pasta-shaped toenails, extreme calluses, itchy feet, and stinky issues. Above all there’s hope, as the doctors counsel, comfort and get to work.

Watch My Feet Are Killing Me Season 2 Fridays at 22:00 on TLC (DStv Channel 135)

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Drmercy S001 16X9[2]
Dr. Mercy Season 1

Chicago-based dermatologist Dr. Mercy Odueyungbo takes us inside her busy clinic and her home life, too, as she treats patients living with extreme skin conditions. Aside from changing her patients’ appearance and removing life and sanity-threatening growths, Dr. Mercy’s compassion and care helps them to regain their sense of self-worth.

Watch Dr. Mercy Season 1 Fridays at 21:00 on TLC (DStv Channel 135)

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Monsters Inside Me S4 2013
Monsters Inside Me Season 4

This documentary series includes first-person interviews with people who’ve contracted rare diseases and battled parasitism – like teenager Steven Weersing who barely survived being sucked into a tornado, only to nearly fall prey to zygomycosis, a rare fungal infection caused by the dirt that lodged in his lungs – along with explanations of treatments from medical experts. While there’s an element of horror in the tales, the series delivers loads of fascinating scientific information.

Watch Monsters Inside Me Season 4 Mondays-Wednesdays & Fridays at 22:55 (from Monday, 5 September) on TLC (DStv Channel 135)

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How Healthy Is Your Gut 2021 Channel 4 Sabrina Grant
How Healthy Is Your Gut?

For the science lovers, this show (hosted by Sabrina Grant) is all about that gross topic with great fascination. Six volunteers road test some of the UK’s most popular methods for restoring gut health, to find out exactly how our diet and other lifestyle factors can dramatically affect our health. It’ll also explore the latest developments surrounding our gut microbiome.

Watch How Healthy Is Your Gut on Thursday, 13 September at 20:00 on BBC Earth (DStv Channel 184)

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TLC (DStv channel 135) is available on DStv Premium, Compact Plus, Compact, Family and Access. To upgrade your existing package, click here. Or if you'd like to Get DStv, find a service that suits your needs here.

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