Identifier: Season 2, Episode 5
Air Date: Sun., Sep. 5, 2010 (9 PM ET)
This one hit a little close to home. I have a tendency to want to hang onto clippings of things that interest me, and books and other paper-related items, but my home is nowhere near what Jeff had made of his. And, like Jeff, I would never have classified myself as a hoarder, though in retrospect I think there are times my house could have looked like the beginnings of that mess.
This week, ‘Hoarding: Buried Alive’ spotlighted a woman who compulses beyond the simple act of hoarding, and Jeff, who may be the most bull-headed and stubborn person the show has ever had. When his kids returned to his house to check his progress late in the episode, I fully expected it to be revealed that he hadn’t done a damned thing toward cleaning up. At that moment when he freaked out on the professional organizer for daring to almost fold one of his precious newspaper clippings, I just figured he was too far gone.
It made it all the more impressive that he was able to clean out his entire house in two months by himself — he apparently refused any further help from anyone. Actually, I wouldn’t be surprised to discover that he had some storage bin rented out across town stuffed to the rafters with newspapers, but I think we’re supposed to be more positive than that.
I think if I were one of his kids, I would have slapped the nervous laughter right off his face. He was such a smug bastard. I’ve noticed that men seem to be much more difficult to reach through the methods used on these shows, and I think it has to do with that bullish male pride we all have. Plus, whereas many of the women default to sadness or frustration, men tend to default toward anger more directly, as Jeff did with the organizer.
Debbie’s case was a little more straightforward, and she was receptive to the help. I still appreciate the more realistic approach TLC’s variation here takes over A&E’s ‘Hoarders,’ which attempts to clean these houses out in two to three days, leaving the OCD-riddled owner crippled by anxiety. I guess it’s the choice between slowly removing the bandage and ripping that sucker off.
Sometimes my wife and I wonder why why watch these shows, other than to start getting all hypochondriac and wondering if we have any of these symptoms. I stand by that it is a great incentive to get up off your ass and clean up your own mess. I always find myself wanting to knock out the dishes and get the coffee table cleaned up after I watch people buried in their own debris.