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Two series prove 'pickers' need their 'hoarders'

Two series prove 'pickers' need their 'hoarders' dvd_americanpickers.jpg
June 7, 2010 By G. Michael Dobbs Managing Editor Two television series that are strangely linked are among this week's DVD offerings. Hoarders: The Complete Second Season Now recently my wife, after trying to find closet space to store clothing, suggested, gently but effectively, that I sort through a group of movie posters that was clogging the area. I dutifully did this and agreed with her I was holding onto some things way too long. I can live without my Lynda Carter "Wonder Woman" poster from the 1970s. After watching episodes of "Hoarders," I'm happy to say that even my crowded home office, much less the rest of my house, wouldn't register at all with the standards that mark hoarding. Perhaps this show is popular because people either can see a bit of themselves in it -- and like me go about throwing things away -- or watch it within the voyeur mode created by much of reality television. The show focuses on someone who is clearly ill and the illness manifests itself at least in part in the obsessive collection of objects, ranging from food items to things most people would view as garbage. I think the producers of this show might have the mission in mind of educating people about the dangers of hoarding -- many of the subjects have health or legal problems because of their habits -- although there is at times a freak show element about the programs. If you're a fan, this DVD set will give you your necessary fix. American Pickers: The Complete First Season After watching "American Pickers," one realizes there is a very thin line between the hoarders who keep every newspaper from the last 10 years and the "collectors" who fill up their homes, barns and yards with stuff that can be fodder for auction houses and eBay. Mike Wolfe is the owner of Antique Archaeology, a business based in Iowa. With his partner Frank Fritz, they go through rural America looking for, for a lack of a better term, junky-looking farm houses and barns that might be crammed with years worth of stuff. Their goal is to knock on doors, introduce themselves and try to gain permission to look at whatever the homeowners have acquired. They then attempt to buy objects for which there is a resale potential at a price that would enable them to make money. Think of this show as a sort of "Antiques Roadshow" that is literally just off the road. Like "Pawn Stars," part of the show's appeal is to see what Wolfe and Fritz uncover. Unlike that show, they must go to the stuff instead of the stuff coming to them. There is a certain kind of thrill of the hunt as they scurry over piles of dead tractors, used bicycles, empty oil cans or discarded neon signs to find their sacred items. I liked the retired carnival worker who actually had complete kiddie rides out on his property. People do have some pretty amazing things. As personalities, Wolfe and Fritz can be borderline obnoxious in their effort to hide their enthusiasm for finding something and then attempt to pay as little as they can for it. I enjoy seeing some bearded old farmer in overalls sticking it to them over some item they know they can sell. I can't help but wonder if other antiques dealers have decided to emulate this pair and have hit the road in order to rummage through barns and garages.