Reality Bites

Reality Bites: My Strange Addiction

There are a million reality shows on the naked television. We're going to watch them all, one at a time.

We're all of us addicts. Often it's fairly innocuous, like caffeine or tentacle porn, but some of us dunk our heads rather than dip our toes in the River Lethe and are carried away by dependency on alcohol or drugs, sometimes never to return.

And then there are the weird ones. TLC's My Strange Addiction chronicles the fringes of addictive behavior, and unlike some similar shows, they provide a bare minimum of lip service to the idea of seeking treatment for these people. The message is pretty clear: Ain't no money to be made in normal, well-adjusted folks.

"My name is Nathaniel, I'm 27 years old. And I'm in a serious relationship with my car."

Hearing these words spoken by what appears to be an actual human being (terrible rudimentary porn 'stache and Cosby sweater aside) leads me to believe we, as a society, have failed young Nathaniel. Not too long ago, somebody like him could have lived out his life in Royal, Arkansas, enjoying carnal relations with his economy sedan to his heart's content and no one but his immediate neighbors would've been the wiser.

But this is the 21st century, and networks are so desperate for content they'll run any old objectophile up the flagpole and hope he doesn't fellate it.

It's our own fault. We've become so desensitized to the sight of hoarders or bedbug infestations or Bethenny Frankel we don't even bat an eyelash when some dude decides to slip it to his Chevy Lumina. In short, we have not given Private Pyle, er, Nathaniel the "proper motivation."

If this sounds like I'm calling for the citizens of greater Arkansas to administer what is known as a "sock party," sight unseen, to Nathaniel...that's because I am. We're not even a minute into this farce and I can't prescribe violence fast enough.

Nathaniel has been in a -- *sigh* -- committed relationship with his car "Chase" for five years. He takes the car on dates, enjoys sexual relations with "him" and pines for his presence when they're apart, just like all young lovers. His roommate Kim worries about people ridiculing her friend for French-kissing a car.

Lady, I'm not making fun of him for groping an automobile (you should see the girl I hooked up with in France), I'm doing it because I think "Nathaniel" is full of shit.

Why? Because he says he's "worried that it may affect his job" if word got out about his relationship. This explains why he allowed his unaltered face and voice (as well as his hometown) to be broadcast to millions of homes, I guess.

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Peter Vonder Haar writes movie reviews for the Houston Press and the occasional book. The first three novels in the "Clarke & Clarke Mysteries" - Lucky Town, Point Blank, and Empty Sky - are out now.
Contact: Pete Vonder Haar