Just because those who produce a television show expect the audience to accept it in a certain manner doesn't always mean that the audience will follow. You can't force the way in which a TV show (or film for that matter) is received — hence things being unintentionally funny or something being "so bad it's good." I wouldn't say that A&E's new series Hoarders – which debuted to huge numbers – falls into the category of "so bad it's good," but I'm somewhat convinced that it's not being taken in the way it is intended… or, that the producers are faking their intention.
The show follows people who store massive – no, really, massive – quantities of junk in their house. It's not presented in a How Clean Is Your House kind of funny way, no it's presented much more in an Intervention "these people have a serious medical condition" kind of way. Hoarding is, the show tells us repeatedly, a medical condition and the show treats it quite seriously.
As a serious medical problem, Hoarders is incredibly depressing. At least in the episode that aired last night, "Tara/Betty," neither of the two women seems to really be helped all that much long-term. Certainly, one moves in the right direction, but the other seems to be in complete denial about the fact that she has a problem.
The fact that the show launched to huge numbers and – based on my completely unscientific survey – was liked, to me indicates that it isn't received in a serious fashion. Instead, it was taken in an "oh my lord, look at all the crap those people have in their house" kind of way. Rather than being taken as a medical condition, it is being taken in more of a "circus freak" kind of way.