'Freakshow' Premiere: Is It Exploitation Or A Celebration Of People Who Are Unique? (VIDEO)

02/15/2013 07:40 am ET

AMC's latest foray into reality is "Freakshow," which sums up what it is pretty well. There was a time when freak shows were as common as the traveling circuses -- and often part of it. But those times are long past. Todd Ray, a former music executive, would like to see those times return. He sees it as a celebration of diversity and being proud of who you are, while others might simply see it as exploitation.

Nevertheless, his Venice Beach Freakshow manages to lure not only paying customers, but people willing to be a part of his assembled oddities as well. And while some of them are bearded ladies or overly-tattooed and pierced men, there are also those who look normal but have a shocking act. An example of the latter is Morgue, who likes to drill into his face.

The question, though, is whether viewers will want to watch this unusual group of people. The LA Times wasn't impressed, saying it came across as both exploitative and sleazy. But freak shows have always been controversial, and they're certainly not everyone's cup of tea. The LA Times reviewer went on to say that it may be that with this show, it's the so-called non-freaks -- like Todd Ray -- who are more difficult to watch.

The "Freakshow" continues on AMC Thursdays at 9:30 p.m. EST.

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