Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Storage Addict

My name is Doc Sleaze and I'm an addict.  That's right, I'm addicted - to those bloody storage auction shows on TV.  It's hard to explain how it happened, I'm not really sure myself.  All I know is that last Autumn I found myself watching four repeated episodes of Storage Wars on ITV4 when they were shown back-to-back early on a Saturday evening.  I'd been through all the channels, looking for something undemanding to watch while I first did my ironing, then ate - I alighted on Storage Wars. I'd been aware of the series and its various rivals and clones, but hadn't ever really paid much attention to any of them.  Yet here I was, watching four episodes in succession.  Worst of all, I came back the following Saturday for another dose.  Indeed, I found myself looking forward to my next multi-episode viewing of Storage Wars, as I found myself drawn increasingly into the world of California storage locker auctions, trying to second guess the bidders as to what was in the lockers, wondering what weird (and surprisingly valuable) shit Barry would fortuitously find this week at the back of the locker he'd clearly overpaid for. 

But I quickly found that there just weren't enough episodes of Storage Wars to satisfy me - so I found myself watching the inferior rip-off Storage Hunters on Dave.  Damn it - I even watched Storage Hunters UK which exchanged sunny California for the exotic cloudy skies and drizzle of places like Reading and Leicester.  But even that wasn't enough - I discovered Baggage Battles repeats on Quest, then new episodes on the Travel Channel.  It isn't as good, but it fills a gap in my craving for more auction-based reality action.  Lately though, even the combination of all these shows hasn't been enough to sate my desires and I've found myself branching out and sampling non-auction based reality shows.  In particular, I've found myself watching episodes of Lizard Lick Towing.  Jesus!  I'm telling you, that series really is the hard stuff when it comes to these kind of shows - all rednecks, repos and aggression.  OK, I know that they're all, to one degree or another, faked, but that's not the point - they are entertainment shows and should be enjoyed as such.  Indeed, that's reason I favour Storage Wars over the others - there's less faked violent confrontations between rival bidders (as there are in Storage Hunters) and more focus on the actual contents of the lockers and their value and provenance.  Ultimately, despite the various rivalries, it's all pretty amiable and less obviously contrived than either Storage Hunters or Baggage Battles.  But neither of those shoes is as blatantly rigged than Lizard Lick Towing, with its fantastical situations (hillbillies in their red one piece long underwear and armed with shotguns and crossbows chasing the protagonists, for instance) and multiple camera angles apparently provided by a single camera crew. 

Perhaps its the challenge of spotting the artifice in these supposed reality shows which attracts me to them.  Or maybe its because, at a time when I seem to be increasingly stressed out and trying to deal with a seemingly never ending series of problems both at work and home, they represent a degree of formulaic certainty absent in my own life.  After all, we all know that none of the bidders on the auction shows are actually going to go bankrupt and lose their homes if they over pay for a storage bin which turns out to be full of worthless junk, (it's in their contacts), just as we know that nothing bad will really happen to the redneck repos guys at Lizard Lick.  It provides me with a form of reassurance that, somehow, everything will turn out OK.  Which is probably why I need ever bigger fixes of them as some aspects of my life (mainly work) get ever shittier and stressful.



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