Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Storage Wars: I Don’t Get It

Storage Wars on A&E was the 12th most highly rated program on cable last week.  It regularly scores in the top 20.  I embarked on a mission this weekend to figure out why.  I’m still shrugging my shoulders. 

The show seems formulaic, dull, full of characters lacking couth and, worst of all, there doesn’t seem to be a pay-off.

Each installment starts with an auction of the unclaimed contents of someone’s completely filled storage locker.  The bidders can’t examine the material within; they can only scope it out from the door and decide in an instant if they’re going for it. They will bid blindly on hunches based on what they can see and whether those few visible items are a tip-off to what lies beneath.  I guess this is where the suspense comes in.

A completely incomprehensible auctioneer then takes bids from the few regulars gathered and a winner is declared.  Fortunately, there are graphics to let viewers in on what’s happening, because it really is difficult to follow.

Eventually, the program gets around to showing the winners as they explore what’s inside the locker to see if they got what they paid for, if they were completely taken, or if there was treasure within.  Did the winning bidder strike gold and find the Holy Grail amidst someone’s long forgotten junk?

The concept is promising, along the lines of Pawn Stars and Antiques Road Show, but it’s too seldom that there’s anything more than stuff.

And the people.  In one episode a couple, presumably husband and wife, bicker when he repeatedly allows her to be hit by falling debris, the piles of containers that tumble when the guy is sifting through the locker.  Later, he throws something that hits her accidentally.  When she complains, he tells her to tough it out and concentrate on finding something valuable.  Hence, the uncouth part.

It should come as no surprise that a reality show is littered with low-lifes, but I don’t get the mass appeal of this one.  There doesn’t seem to be one redeeming quality, at least not one that would make this program more popular than White Collar or Covert Affairs, for example.  I would understand if these lockers contained valuable objects and if the aforementioned hillbillies were making thousands upon thousands of dollars for their investment of hundreds, but that’s not the case. 

Storage Wars is just another train wreck waiting for a crowd to gather.  So far, the crowd is getting what it wants.

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