Now in its sixth season, Clean House follows the same basic format each and every show. First the four-person style crew is taken on a tour of different a poor, clueless, clutter-challenged family's home. There is much mugging and wailing on the part of the Clean House Crew about the state of the living space which is usually littered and dirty enough to make a normal normal life impossible. Let me rephrase: QUITE impossible.
Once through the tour, Clean House host Niecy Nash holds an intimate one-on-one interview with the clutter culprits (just Niecy, the homeowners, and the rest of America) to try and get to the bottom of their inability to clean the house. Amazingly, "I'm a lazy slob" is never among the reasons stated although, near as I can figure, all the clutter victims seem perfectly capable of cleaning and organizing should they choose to do so. No, what usually comes out for a reason is some personal loss, or traumatic relationship incident, or some other non-excuse. And while, "My boyfriend done me wrong," is definitely a bummer and certainly cause for grief, it doesn't qualify as a good reason for a three-foot pile of dirty underwear in your living room.
'Cause that's just nasty. (I'm reminded here of the Wanda Sykes rant about the infamous Lewinsky dress.)
Anyhow, not the least of the show's attraction, for me at least, is the aforementioned colorful host, Niecy Nash. Unapologetically buxom, most always appearing with her trademark flower in her hair, and chock full of perk and sass, Nash has honed the talent of leading clueless clutter culprits toward the light of clean and neat to an art form.
Nash's irresistible catch-phrases when dealing with the CCC's du jour include (but are not limited to), "Lead me to your foolishness!" ("foolishness" in this case translates to "heinous, embarrassing mess"), and "We're going to walk in the truth", and "It's time to take a Big Girl pill", and her penchant for clenching her hands into fists, closing her eyes, and emitting a frustrated, ear-piercing wail over the horror--as she's fond of intoning--"of it all", never fails to keep me coming back for more.
Nash is certainly sympathetic to the CCC's, but she brooks no flimsy excuses and doesn't hesitate to point out, when faced (as she frequently is) with a mother claiming to be too overwhelmed with the rigors of child rearing to scour the tub, the she, herself, is the mother of three. And, according to the Gospel of Niecy, motherhood, in and of itself, does not excuse one from tending to the messy details of life.
While the above explanation is sort of entertaining, as I read it over, it still doesn't fully illuminate the lure of Niecy Nash. Fortunately, the NPR interview I'm posting below does a much better job. Turns out, like most charismatic characters, there's more to Nash than meets the eye. A single mother who has been known to take her children along when auditioning, a woman who lost a much-loved brother to violent crime, and, as a girl, witnessed the shooting of her mother (who, fortunately, survived), Nash is another among us who has been purified by the fires of life and chooses to morph into a phoenix as apposed to contenting herself just remaining a regular old pile of ashes.
I love how Niecy keeps the bemused interviewer here in a near-constant state of just being plain flummoxed. You can tell he doesn't know whether to be afraid or ask her out. But that he's leaning toward the latter.
As for myself, I can't shake the notion that my life would somehow be vastly improved if Niecy Nash were to come over, hold my hand, gaze into my eyes intensely, and intone, "It's time to take a Big Girl pill."
Trouble is? My house isn't nearly messy enough.