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Weird Genre Watch: TV Explores The Wildly Exciting World Of Towing Cars

Filed by KOSU News in Art & Life.
August 23, 2011

I happened to notice that last night brought the first new episode in a while of something called — this is real — Lizard Lick Towing on TruTV.

Lizard Lick Towing is about a towing and repo company whose owners “repossess vehicles and machinery on behalf of lien holders.” This is different from the following TruTV shows: Operation Repo, which “follows outrageous encounters in the high-pressure world of car repossession”; South Beach Tow, about a towing company in Miami; and Bear Swamp Recovery, about guys who repossess boats on the Jersey Shore. Do not confuse any of these with Wreck Chasers, which aired on Discovery last fall and concerned tow trucks competing to grab wrecks, or with Parking Wars, the A&E show that follows parking enforcement officers. They are also totally different from Repo Games, the Spike TV game show where you try to win back your car from the repo guy.

Why are there shows about towing and repossessing cars? Isn’t this like getting glamorous shots of people getting moles removed? Who’s in charge of deciding, “Hey, you know what would make great television? Towing a car.” Whose side am I supposed to be on? The guy towing the car? Are we going to sit with him in his vehicle while he stalks people coming out of McDonald’s to see whether they run next door for a Starbucks without moving their cars, so he can swoop in and tow them?

And why do I want to watch people get their cars repossessed? If they’re not deadbeats, I’ll just feel bad for them, and if they are deadbeats, I could get better comeuppance theater by watching Judge Judy.

Of all the weird little mini-genres that have emerged since basic cable channels started to proliferate, I have to say none is weirder to me than the advent of tow truck shows. Not even the cake shows, and that’s really saying something. [Copyright 2011 National Public Radio]

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