WHY WE CARE


Plugged In exists to shine a light on the world of popular entertainment while giving you and your family the essential tools you need to understand, navigate and impact the culture in which we live. Through reviews, articles and discussions, we want to spark intellectual thought, spiritual growth and a desire to follow the command of Colossians 2:8: "See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ."

YOUR STORIES


Family uses Plugged In as a ‘significant compass’

"I am at a loss for words to adequately express how much it means to my husband and me to know that there is an organization like Focus that is rooting for us. Just today I was reading Psalm 37 and thinking about how your ministry provides ways to 'dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.' We have two teenagers and an 8-year-old in our household...Plugged In has become a significant compass for our family. All three of our kids are dedicated to their walk with Christ but they still encounter challenges. Thanks for all of your research and persistence in helping us navigate through stormy waters."

Plugged In helps college student stand-up for his belief

"Thanks for the great job you do in posting movie and television reviews online. I’m a college freshman and I recently had a confrontational disagreement with my English professor regarding an R-rated film. It is her favorite movie and she wanted to show it in class. I went to your Web site to research the film’s content. Although I had not seen the movie myself, I was able to make an educated argument against it based on the concerns you outlined. The prof said that she was impressed by my stand and decided to poll the whole class and give us a choice. We overwhelmingly voted to watch a G-rated movie instead! I’ve learned that I can trust your site and I will be using it a lot in the future.”

Plugged In brings ‘Sanity and Order’ to Non-believer

“Even though I don’t consider myself a Christian, I find your Plugged In Web site useful and thought-provoking. No one reviews movies like you do. Instead of being judgmental, you put entertainment ‘on trial.’ After presenting the evidence, you allow the jury of your readers to decide for themselves what they should do. In my opinion, you bring sanity and order to the wild world of modern day entertainment. Keep up the good work!”

Mom thinks Plugged In is the ‘BEST Christian media review site’

"Our family doesn't go to the movies until we go online and check out your assessment of a given film. I think this is the BEST Christian media review website that I've found, and I recommend it to my family and friends. Keep up the good work!"

SUPPORT THE WORK OF PLUGGED IN

Our hope is that whether you're a parent, youth leader or teen, the information and tools at Plugged In will help you and your family make appropriate media decisions. We are privileged to do the work we do, and are continually thankful for the generosity and support from you, our loyal readers, listeners and friends.

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

TV Series Review

America has a fascination with stuff. And cable TV is replete with proof.

From shows about it ( Pawn Stars and Storage Wars) to shows about people who have more of it (Keeping Up With the Kardashians) to channels that let you buy it from your couch, we're constantly reminded of our love of it, and how it seems we can never have enough of it.

For most of us, of course, that last statement is hyperbolic. But that's not the case with everyone. Some people literally can't store enough stuff. They fill their homes with it. And it's tearing their lives apart.

A&E's Hoarders examines the psychological condition of compulsive hoarding in which people, trying to fill a deep-seated, perhaps little-understood need, take on stuff … that takes over their lives. Sometimes the possessions they collect can have some value. Often though, it's junk valued only by its owners: empty plastic bottles, old newspapers, broken furniture. Soon, their houses are full of it, their yards overwhelmed with it. They carve paths or tunnels to get where they need to go—sometimes surrounded by stuff stacked to the ceilings.

And still they collect more. In watching this show, you get the idea that the hoard has more life than the hoarders. The piles of trash take over properties, forcing bewildered owners into smaller and smaller spaces—a room, a bed, a chair.

Hoarders has some content problems. Episodes can be peppered with profanities (the harshest obscured with bleeps), and the conditions we see can be truly horrifying: Feces may litter a living room. Dead animals may be found in the kitchen. But the biggest issue here is, very simply, subject matter. I don't know if there's a sadder, more disturbing program on television.

Each episode gives us a whirlwind trip through two or three hoarders' stories and potential recoveries. We hear about why they're on the show in the first place. Sometimes we learn that a social service entity is insisting the place be cleaned up. Sometimes extended family demands an end to it. Interventions are common.

So the hoarders try to stop, to control their compulsions. They allow psychologists to examine them. They welcome teams of experts and cleaners. And then some become resistant. Remember, to them, their living rooms aren't filled to the rafters with trash, but with treasure—stuff they've kept because they want it or need it or love it. Letting go can be hard, painful, even impossible.

By the end of most episodes, featured houses (or at least a few rooms in them) have been cleaned. Piles and piles of stuff are gone. Mice messes have been scrubbed away. The toilet can be used again. And there are smiles to share before the credits roll and the cameras leave. We're told how the hoarders are, in general, continuing to manage. Are they still seeking counsel? Have their relationships been repaired? Hoarders does what it can to offer its viewers a happy ending.

But it doesn't feel happy. And I'm not sure what the appeal is to watch week after week. But some families must. The series has survived for five seasons already. Perhaps, like so many reality shows, it helps some people feel better about themselves, in this case their own clutter. Perhaps it serves as a salve to hoarders or families of hoarders: A&E says there are 3 million Americans who have the condition, and even if just a fraction of those folks tuned in it would make for a reasonably successful show. Perhaps there are those who find inspiration here—to help themselves or to help others.

But it's a lurid, desperate source of inspiration, seasoned with voyeuristic sensationalism.

It seems as though many of the hoarders we see collect stuff to protect themselves—to form barriers between themselves and whatever hardships or realities they can't deal with. When Hoarders' cleaning crews come in, they're tearing off layer after painful layer, leaving them exposed—not just to whatever formed the kernel of their hoarding, but to us too. It's an important and necessary thing to do in order to finally find healing—but to undergo the process in front of an audience? Is that the right thing to do?

I'm happy these folks are benefiting from so many helpful hands. If Hoarders is a worthwhile conduit to receive that help, I'm grateful. But after watching the show, I didn't feel grateful. I felt like I was a kid again, barging into an occupied bathroom or seeing a proud man cry.

Advertisement

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements

Conclusion

Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Christian Beliefs

Other Belief Systems

Authority Roles

Profanity/Violence

Kissing/Sex/Homosexuality

Discussion Topics

Additional Comments/Notes

Episode Reviews

Hoarders: 1-27-2012
We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

Get weekly e-news, Culture Clips & more!