Magnificence in the downright dirty
I was watching a terrific interview with Mike Rowe the other night, he's the host of Discovery Channel's popular series "Dirty Jobs with Mike Rowe" that's now in its third season. How dirty? We're talking downright disgusting jobs ranging having to transport tons of cow dung...to cleaning up roadkill...to cleaning the city's sewers... to many more sticky, icky tasks.
(A promo for the show is here.)
What is so magnificent about this series? Many things, actually:
They listen to the public: as I understand, only about 20 of the 150+ episodes were found by the producers--all the other segments have come in through viewer's suggestions.
A new reality: instead of this being yet another reality show, it's a formula where the host is a guest and does the dirty job on which they're basing a segment (and Mike Rowe is one heck of a relate-able, everyman host).
It's positive: while I can safely say that viewers don't want to live in "a day in the life," the people who live this life are very positive, oh-so real and really funny. Their dirty jobs aren't their "lot in life" but, many times a job where they have a lot of freedom. And even a lot of fun.
It's respectful: I don't know about you, but when I see what many of these workers go through I have a really hard time griping about my workload, being these guys deal with a load of crap (literally). But the show is in no way a mockery, it celebrates the world's dirtiest jobs and the unsung heroes that do them.
It counters a trend: in a time where we are awash with "infotainment" shows celebrating the elite, primped and pretty I'm gaining a newfound respect for the downright dirty. We don't need anymore plastic celebs, we need the real deal these types of shows give us. Oh, and it's given me a new reason to watch Discovery (I otherwise only watch it for Shark Week).
Interesting tidbit: in the interview Mike Rowe told Larry King that he had an uncanny success rate at aligning with unsuccessful shows. But he kept trying new things...decided to get his hands dirty...and now has quite a hit on his hands.
Yep, sometimes you (literally!) gottta step in a lotta sh*t to come out smelling like a rose.