One of the sharpest insights of the brilliant Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind was its recognition that the most painfully embarrassing memories are almost impossible to forget. And most of those excruciating memories occur in childhood and adolescence. The Mortified Sessions is a television series on the Sundance Channel, now in its second season, that invites celebrities to explore their most humiliating memories. They bring the artifacts of those years to talk about what mortified them then and how those experiences affect them now. David Nadelberg, author of Mortified: Love Is a Battlefield and Mortified: Real Words. Real People. Real Pathetic, is the sympathetic host. Guests have included Oscar-winner Mo’nique, “Dirty Dancing’s” Jennifer Grey, “Breaking Bad” and “Argo” star Bryan Cranston, “Cougartown” and “Freaks and Geeks” star Busy Philips, and “Modern Family” Emmy-winner Eric Stonestreet.
Because we know these people ultimately achieved great success, it is reassuring to see that they struggled with the same doubts and failures and middle school ugliness that we all experience. Nadelberg is supportive, never exploitive, and the show exemplifies the AA maxim that “you are only as sick as your secrets.”