Dirty Jobs: Good Clean Fun

How is it that the Discovery Channel and its family of networks are so good at creating oddly compelling shows? I can't tell you how many times I've been sucked into something that I never would have been interested in watching if you just told me about it -- like Alton Brown talking about the chemistry of fudge on The Food Network's Good Eats, or Cash Cab, where unsuspecting passengers answer trivia questions to win money as they are driven to their destination by host Ben Bailey.

Dirty Jobs is just such a series. The premise is simple: host Mike Rowe tries out the grossest, dirtiest, most unappealing jobs around. Since the show's debut, Mike has been a chimney sweep, pig farmer, geoduck farmer (those are big, gross clams to all you non-Puget Sound folks), salt miner, and large animal vet. Some jobs are considerably dirtier than others. Chick sexer? Actually kind of cute, except for the squirting (you have to see it; it defies description). A recently aired episode taking place on a fishing boat in Alaska? Grosser than I possibly could have imagined, and trust me, I imagined it would be pretty gross.

The appeal of Dirty Jobs (aside from the obvious gross-out factor, which gets old after awhile unless you still miss your Garbage Pail Kids), lies in the fact that the jobs, while dirty, never fail to be interesting. Many of them are also pretty dangerous.

What really makes the show work is Rowe. He's always appreciative of his hosts at each job, and is charming and self-deprecating. Even though he is always willing to jump in and do whatever he can to help the people he's working with, he's also respectful of the fact that most them are highly skilled, and it's not possible for him to step in and do the exact same work. A former opera singer and QVC host, Rowe landed the Discovery gig via a series of segments he did for local TV in San Francisco called Someone's Gotta Do It

New episodes of Dirty Jobs air on Discovery on Mondays at 9 p.m. EST. You can also find a ist of upcoming episodes here. Is your job dirty? Dirty Jobs is always accepting ideas for jobs to profile. We wouldn't want them to run out, right? I'd write in, but I don't think my job is dirty enough. Although the paper cuts can get pretty heinous. Hmmm ...

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Amy Kane spends as much quality time with her television as possible, when she's not busy at her day job as a cube dweller.