Awright, I sat through the premiere episode on 8/14. It is kind of what I thought it would be, the geek/nerd version of “Hoarders” or “Hoarding: Buried Alive” only without the sail rats, cockroaches, feral cats, and threats of condemnation if the place isn’t cleaned up in 24 hours.
As I’ve said before, hoarding is an extreme version of OCD. It is a mental illness. Nobody on the premiere episode of the show was nowhere near as bad as anyone I’ve seen on the hoarding shows. Fair enough. But there were a lot of things about the show that still rubbed me the wrong way.
The first episode featured Parker Publicity maven Consetta Parker and her husband with a house filled with Star Wars collectibles, then a guy in SoCal with a garage full of Catwoman stuff. In real life, Parker is the publicist for Rancho Obi-Wan, James Arnold Taylor, and Catherine Taber. Apparently she doesn’t mind taking her work home with her because her jaw-dropping, impressive collection literally fills every room of her house. There’s some talk about how there’s no more room and Consetta has to let some things go. I’m sure millions of Star Wars collectors were shouting at the t.v., “What about storage?! Why not get a bigger house???!!” Okay, so they live in NorCal and a bigger house often means you’d better have George Lucas’s bank account. But I didn’t hear if they have anything in storage or not, which might be a solution to clear some stuff out.
The other collector has a bitchy, angry wife who didn’t know he collected until it was too late and claims they don’t have money for their mortgage, so he has to sell his crap now.
It is true that some collectors get in over their heads financially. It is true that some collectors’ passion for stuff quickly overtakes the reality of how much space they have in their home. It is true that some collectors do a far better job of acquiring goodies than taking care of them and organizing them. The guy with the Catwoman and ‘70s toy collection seems to fall into that category. Heck, I have problems with that.
But the show seems to generalize unfairly and treats the collector as someone with a Problem. For instance, the Catwoman guy admitted to the show’s hostess that he didn’t tell his wife he collected prior to their marriage. The narrator then says that hiding a collection meant that it was an obsession. No, the guy actually gave his reason for not telling his wife…he was afraid she’d think he was uncool. A lot of people worry their hobbies might be a little left of center for others to understand, especially when it comes to things like comics, sf/f, etc.. Now this guy made a mistake by dating someone who obviously doesn’t share that interest and doesn’t seem at all receptive to it. Maybe he just felt like this was his only chance to land an attractive young woman. Or maybe the Mrs. was right and this guy is spending them into the poorhouse (she says they were four grand in the hole). Do they work? Are there other financial issues? I don’t think we got that info.
Consetta’s collection, as large as it was, was at least neat and orderly. She had a lot of really good stuff. Over her shoulder in several shots I saw a signed ROTS poster with several cast signatures…I could see Ewan McGregor’s signature, Hayden Christensen’s, etc.. The hostess twisted poor teary-eyed Consetta’s arm to ditch some loose vintage Ewok action figures, a lifesized General Rex statue, and other stuff. I didn’t catch everything that got sold since I went to bed before the show ended. But the hostess told Parker that Rex wasn’t “iconic” enough so she should part with him. Hey lady, she works with the Clone Wars peeps! Hellooo! And in 20 years, those 7-8 year olds watching Clone Wars now will look at Rex as iconic. Ugh. Where they had the auction to lighten Consetta’s load…Rancho Obi-Wan! And who now has possession of Captain Rex? Steve Sansweet! This was like going to a 12-step program run by Keith Richards, Charlie Sheen, and Courtney Love! LOL! Oh well, in case Consetta happens to be reading this, if you ever want to clear out that signed ROTS poster, call me…
Seriously though what disturbed me was that the collectors didn't seem to be happy. At least the people on "Hoarders" are happy once their homes are clean and they're able to live normally again. I think it's one thing if a collector realizes he's got to edit down his collection and is happy once things are manageable for him again. But I got the feeling people weren't entirely convinced.
Another issue I had was the hostess breaking down the value of the collection not in terms of what it means to the collector but in terms of potential monetary value. When you collect you have no idea if your stuff is going to be worth big bucks in the future or not and money should never be the reason to get into it. You should do it because you love it. And then these folks are forced to hand it over to dealers paying pennies on the dollar, so they'll resell it to a future "Collection Intervention" collector for a huge profit.
Geez, if my parents thought my Star Wars haul was worth $150,000, I'd have to hire a food taster...