You Call It Reality TV, I Call It “Tuesday”

So I’m watching TV tonight after work. I make it through a few episodes of the Daily Show. Then I’ve got several Bond movies and a couple episodes of The Americans that I’ll need to wait for Mrs. Likko to watch with me. And for some reason the live channel is on ABC which is showing The Bachelor and Celebrity Wife Swap and I can just feel my intelligence eroding in the presence of these shows.

My solution: Spike TV has a marathon of World’s Worst Tenants. It’s quite a lot like work. No, seriously. The TV show has some dramatic moments that may have been played up for the cameras some. But I have at least one case a week that qualitatively compares to the situations depicted on the show. It’s not a freak show.

…Well, okay, it is a freak show, but so are the cases I handle in court. More than a dozen of them a week.

Burt Likko

Pseudonymous Portlander. Homebrewer. Atheist. Recovering litigator. Recovering Republican. Recovering Catholic. Recovering divorcé. Recovering Former Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. House Likko's Words: Scite Verum. Colite Iusticia. Vivere Con Gaudium.


  1. Dude… I caught that same WWT marathon last night while working out. Helped me power through 45 minutes on the bike.

    What is up with that dude’s hair. Is there a name for that style (shaved head save for a patch in the back from which a pony tail emerges)? If not, there ought to be.

    • The case with the horse that grew up inside the bedroom and now was too big to fit through any of the doors? I’ve had stuff like that. Not horses. Swine. Literally swine — they had, no kidding, pigs in there that they were raising to sell at the county fair. (I’d have said “no shit,” but in fact there was quite a bit of that.)

      The one with the dogs chained up in one room wandering through piles of their poop, and random homeless people sleeping on bedrolls in the next room over? I get that case weekly.

      The one with the guy who was clinically depressed and found inside the filth-laden premises curled up in the foetal position, uncommunicative and hiding under a piece of busted-up furniture? That’s about once every other week.

      I’ve evicted an amateur taxidermist, just like the guys on TV. The report from my client was that the stench was indeed overpowering to the point they had to wear surgical masks to clean the place up.

      The one with the unauthorized discharge of firearms from the back yard into the next-door neighbor’s property? That one, only once a month. Most recently, the landlord was the tenant’s mother, against whom the tenant had made death threats including booby-trapping her car.

      The one with the actual tenant who died and one of his shirttail cousins moved in along with twelve or so random hangers-on and set up a moonshine still in the back bedroom? Other than the still, I see that kind of case EVERY DAY. Complete with indignant refusal to vacate the premises, as though the landlord was morally in the wrong for offering the squatters money to move out. However, if you were to swap “rows of hydroponic gro-tanks” or “meth labs containing astonishingly dangerous blowy-uppy equipment” out for “moonshine still,” then that exact case happens about every other month. It’s the sort of thing that gives earns my community a bad reputation.

      The exact details of their cases are different, of course. But each and every episode I saw in that maration, I could relate to a case I had personally handled in court. Recently.

      • So Burt, I see you work the glamorous side of the legal profession.

  2. That cliff diving gig in Acapulco is looking better all the time, eh?

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