Pop Culture Guilty Pleasures: 1000 Ways to Die

There are a lot of reasons why I shouldn’t like Spike’s 1000 Ways to Die: I don’t do well with gore, I’m a prude, and I have no sense of humor (and I really don’t like puns).  And yet, for some reason, I love this show.

1000 Ways to Die

1000 Ways to Die is an irreverent show on Spike (formally Spike TV now) that chronicles curious ways people have died.

Debuting in 2008, 1000 Ways to Die is a half-hour show that features several segments portraying strange, true deaths as short reenactments.  There’s usually a bit of background information and a nice set-up for the grisly or untimely death.  I’m not sure where they find these stories, but they are allegedly all true (the Wikipedia article even notes the source material for some of the stories), which makes it all the more interesting.

One aspect of the show that I love are the onscreen experts — mostly doctors and other medical professionals — who explain the technicalities behind the death itself.  So not only is it entertaining, but it’s educational, as well!  I can’t tell you anything I’ve learned from the show specifically, but trust me, you can learn a lot.

The older episodes were chock full of interesting tidbits about the human body, but as the show has gone on, the “experts” have become a bit more dubious – a toothless, dirty, “former con artist”, for example – and unfortunately, a little less interesting.  (You can at least walk away from the earlier episodes feeling like you learned something, instead of feeling bad about your life because said toothless, dirty, likely-still-a-con-artist “expert” got paid to appear in the show while you, with actual useful skills, are just stuck at home watching.)

The narration is full of sarcasm and snide comments, mostly designed to portray the person about to die in a fairly unflattering light, which makes you feel less bad when the inevitable death occurs.  (At least that’s how it works for me.)  Each segment ends with a horrible yet catchy pun — a nice riff on the mode of death — and I’d be lying if I didn’t say that was one of my favorite parts of the show.

Later shows have upped the bimbo factor, with lots of big-busted blondes in skimpy outfits, which isn’t exactly my thing, but hey — if it’s yours, all the more reason to watch the show.

As much as I love this show, I never remember when it’s on (Tuesdays, 10/9C), but whenever I’m flipping channels and see it’s on, you can be sure that I’ll stop and watch.

After all, what other show definitively answers the age-old question posed in South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut: can you light a fart on fire?

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