Even as I see the half-century milestone of my existence growing larger on the horizon, I find that life never ceases to throw me a curve ball once in a while. Just when I think I've seen it all or heard it all, I find yourself sitting in my living room with my wife one evening and partaking in a conversation that, just a couple short weeks earlier, would have left me stroking the semi-groomed facial hair on my chin and furrowing my brow in full-on bewildered mode and posing a simple, one-word question: "Huh?"
Me: It's just another lipoma.
Her: No, I think it's a cyst. Maybe one of those pilar ones. Yep, it must be, because they're all putting on their face shields in case erupts everywhere when they squeeze it.
A few minutes later, we're watching a scene unfold in front of us on our television screen, and it's one of those images that compels or even forces you to lurch forward and wretch with your tongue out and mouth open wide...you know, like you're pretending that you're gagging. Because you have to pretend that you're gagging! You have no choice!
Close-up and huge on the big flat screen, we're seeing a substance pouring out of a human body, from underneath the skin, that has the consistency of slightly watered-down drywall mud, and the color is pretty spot-on, too...a whitish gray. It just comes and comes and comes and keeps on coming. Will it ever end? My wife fake-gags a second time, and then a third.
Over the previous couple hours or so, we've seen other things be ejected from underneath the skin of all kinds of living, breathing human beings, in just about every location you can think of on the human body. Back, neck, arm, shoulder, head, face, chest, leg, and, yes, the butt. The drywall mud is a popular one for consistency and color-related comparison purposes, but so are ejected bodily material that might remind a person of cottage cheese, or mayonnaise and/or Miracle Whip, or oatmeal, or custard, or ricotta cheese, or grisly fat on a steak, or waffle batter, or butter.
We're binge-watching Dr. Pimple Popper on The Learning Channel. Please don’t judge.
Am I proud that I've seen a few episodes of this show featuring Dr. Sandra Lee's dermatological/surgical practice in California over the past month or so? No, not necessarily proud, but I'm not exactly ashamed, either.
Sometimes you have to simply bow down to the wonders and powers of the internet. Dr. Lee a few years back posted some videos on her Instagram page of blackhead extractions she performed, she started to build an audience and started getting suggestions on how to reach an even larger crowd. Soon, she was posting some of her more extreme extractions, and it wasn't long after that when the name Dr. Pimple Popper caught on. Now, here she is today, with her own show.
While it seems like a stretch to say Dr. Lee's show is positive or even uplifting, that seems to be the most apt description. Some of these people that come to her have in many cases for many, many years had their life essentially defined by some huge lump or bump or prehistoric-looking growth protruding from somewhere on their body. They're petrified at the prospect of finally dealing with their particular medical situation, but they also know they can't ignore it any longer, even if it means they'll be featured center stage on a TV show that focuses on gross things squirting and exploding from the human body, or being popped or otherwise pulled out and displayed on a sterile silver tray for millions to see and, yes, simultaneously feel compelled to fag-gag over.
You'd assume that all of that gross stuff is the focal point of every episode of Dr. Pimple Popper. How could it not be, right? That's what draws viewers, the freakish macabre of it all.
But I would argue that Dr. Lee is the show. She makes the show what it is. One after another, each of her patients sits nervously and with extreme embarrassment in an exam room. Some of them are mired in downright despair and anguish. They feel like a star of the freak show at the circus, while sometimes also being paralyzed by the fear that what's under their skin or protruding from their body isn't just something disgusting to be featured in a TV show, it could be a serious even life-threatening health problem, like skin cancer. (In the handful or so of episodes we've seen, skin cancer has been a possibility on a couple of occasions, but each time the biopsies have come back with benign results.)
But then Dr. Lee strolls into the exam room all beaming and bubbly and instantly makes every patient feel at ease. She disarms them of their fear and shame with her unrivaled bedside manner. Soon, their protrusion is gone, and they feel no less than reborn.
Dr. Sandra Lee: Pimple-popper...life-changer.