Tanner Stransky
November 25, 2011 AT 05:00 AM EST

TV shows that chronicle celebrities’ pre-fame lives are nothing new, but the Sundance Channel’s The Mortified Sessions (premiering Dec. 5) takes a delightfully more twisted tack by telling famous people’s stories through their embarrassing keepsakes. Host and executive producer David Nadelberg has enlisted the likes of Mo’Nique, Ed Helms, and Cheryl Hines to dig into old photos, poems, and diary entries — no matter how cringe-inducing or revealing. ”It’s not so much a show about celebrities as it is about achievement and where it comes from,” says Nadelberg, who adds that he’d love to land Tina Fey and Mark Zuckerberg for future episodes. Says Oscar winner Mo’Nique, who appears on the debut episode, ”When someone has a shoebox of your memories, it’s an exciting road trip.” Even if said trip includes a not-so-flattering early-’90s photo like the one above (taken in Baltimore with Sidney Hicks, whom she married in 2006). ”That outfit was wrong when I had it on!” she says. And…dare we even ask about that hair? Says Mo’Nique with a laugh, ”That was the Marge Simpson, honey.”

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