Sunday, July 24, 2011

Reruns: The ultimate test of a sitcom

Every season, networks trot out a whole new lineup of fall television shows in a desperate bid for viewer attention and, by extension, advertising dollars. Television is a massive money making business and syndication may just be the biggest part of that capitalistic pie. Syndication makes or breaks many television shows. It may even give them new life. Initial airings may decide the baseline popularity of a show, but it's reruns that make a show an institution.

Exhibit A: Seinfeld reruns being on eight different channels.

For the most part, syndication is both genius and lazy. Not only does it make people millions of dollars, but it also makes the program scheduler's job a little easier. Ask people my age what time they watch television and I guarantee that the answer is not 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. For people I know, the answer is normally 4 p.m. when they are suppose to be doing homework or 2 a.m. when they should be going to sleep. The prime time lineup, the cornerstone of programing, is lost on 18-22 year olds. We have been raised to turn to television in times of desperation and boredom, but it's not at the same time as everyone else. Even before digital cable and online streaming, reruns were one of the first steps in making television convenient.

Waiting for my laundry has more influence on when I watch television than anything else.

There is nothing to watch at two in the morning. Adult Swim's lineup is a godsend but at that time of night, even AS doesn't help anything. Around this time I like to check out the random channels and watch the Miracle Blade commercials, but there are only so many gem stones you can see on the Home Shopping Network before you go insane (sidebar: there is a channel devoted to traffic cameras. It's highly enthralling). But sometimes you get lucky, and a rerun of That '70s Show is on at an ungodly hour. There is probably no show that my generation identifies with more than That '70s Show. Think of it as our version of Happy Days (another show for adolescents about their parent's adolescence). Watching '70s Show has become a ritual but never when it was on FOX.

The immortal male question: Donna or Jackie?

Obviously '70s Show was popular enough to last eight seasons but it didn't truly become an institution until it started airing on cable. Whether FX knew it or not, they scheduled episodes around most the time my friends and I got out of class. So, resting our laurels, we would instinctively turn on the television and with nothing to watch we turned to what appealed to us: '70s Show. Or Scrubs. Or Law & Order SVU.

It all depends on the mood and how far the remote is.

Another program is on the rise in syndication. The show has finally given men a reason to watch Lifetime Channel (after they cancelled Supermarket Sweep, which I still mourn). In 2005 How I Met Your Mother premiered on CBS. While not an outright success like Two and a Half Men or Big Bang Theory, How I Met Your Mother built a devoted but semi-modest fanbase. I only knew a handful of people from my high school that actually watched it. This is all pre-syndication. Now, the majority of my friends have been obsessing over the show (mostly because of Neil Patrick Harris' Barney, who is an awesome character). A year ago my sister couldn't force my brother to watch the show. After recently watching it in reruns, he has since rapidly inhaled the six past seasons.

I'm a Ted surrounded by would-be Barneys.

Every season, networks trot out a whole new lineup of fall television shows in a desperate bid for viewer attention and yet most of these shows fail. Few shows become popular enough for syndication (or they just get picked up for syndication because nobody hates it, a la King of Queens). But syndication can also breath new life into a show. Freaks and Geeks only lasted a season but now its few episodes live on immortally on cable. My personal favorite show, Arrested Development, can now be discovered by anyone that missed the genius the first time. And in the greatest success story in all of television, Family Guy was even saved from cancellation by reruns on Adult Swim. Whether you love the show or hate it (or let South Park tell you to hate it), it's undeniable how miraculous Family Guy's saving was.

It may be derivative but I enjoy the show.

Because of reruns, Family Guy went from Fox's sacrificial lamb (Fox bumped it around the schedule in its early history against Who Wants To Be A Millionaire during the game show's heyday). As a more personal success story, consider this. My one friend never watched a single episode of Friends until our sophomore year of college. After watching a rerun, we devoted spring semester to watching all 10 seasons of the show. That's 236 episodes of Rachel, Monica, Phoebe, Joey, Chandler and Ross mainlined into our collective brains. And this was all because one of our friends caught a repeat.Link

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Guest Blog: Glenn Beck's final episode

I asked for bloggers and now I have to own up to it. At least once a week I'll try and post a guest blog on top of my two. This week's blog comes from Frank, the first of my guest bloggers to return for another go. Any comments I make are in italics.
-Don Woods

I am an odd person. I will be the first person to admit this. One odd thing that I love to do is watch shows that I completely disagree with. It is one of my biggest guilty pleasures. I do not do this so that I can yell at the television (I leave that job to watching sports). Instead I like to just listen to different viewpoints and think to myself. One of my favorite shows to do this with just ended. On June 30 the Glenn Beck show aired its final episode on FOX News. I did not watch this show all the time, just every once in a blue moon. It was entertainment to me. Every time Beck said something crazy or acted out in ways only he could I was entertained. Beck was able to come up with ideas that would make me think. Not think that he was right in anyway, just make me think. Now, Beck isn’t falling off the face of the earth. Beck has left his show but will be still explaining his view points and trying too, “save the soul of the country” (his words not mine). He will be continuing his crusade on his new Beck TV online show. This will air every week day for two hours and can be watched by anyone … who pays a monthly or yearly fee. Since I will not be paying for this, because I do not care that much, I think I will list my favorite things about Beck, and wait patiently for him to say something controversial on his online show so that all other news organizations will talk about it. In honor of his 9/12 project I will list nine of them.

He's got the whole world, in his hands.

1. The Crying: Beck has shown over the years that he is a very emotional man. His crying has been one of the favorite trademarks of Beck. It seems to have gone on to be the popular thing to do if you are a conservative. Beck has cried many times on his show. He did not cry during his last episode (If you bet me that he wouldn’t you would have definitely walked away with some of my money) but throughout his show he has been known to shed a tear over his love of country.

Go to 2 min 22 sec to just see crying

2. The Chalk Board: This has been another trademark of Beck. In his last episode Beck brought to light a startling revelation. Beck was actually thinking of getting rid of the chalk board. Luckily for all of us casual viewers one of his camera men, Oscar, told him to keep it. Thank you Oscar. Oscar saved the best teaching tool that Beck had. With his chalk board Beck was able to warn his audience about the dangers of liberals, progressives and the dark arts. Actually defense against the dark arts is only taught in Hogwarts (they are also the only other place that still uses chalkboards). Now that Beck is moving to the internet maybe he will advance to a smart board.

I hate whiteboards. And having a whiteboard on your

dorm room door is only an excuse for people to creatively draw dicks.

3. Sarah Palin: Glenn Beck has never been shy about his love for Sarah Palin. As a casual viewer I can tell you this is because they have so much in common. Each has conservative values and a common home life. Both Beck and Palin have a child with Down Syndrome. This has brought Beck to celebrate and defend the often attacked Palin. Now this is not why I like the connection between Palin and Beck. The entire reason that this is the third favorite thing about Beck’s show is one interview that Beck did with Palin. It is possibly the greatest example of, “Hey that Palin person isn’t too smart is she”. It took Palin 22 second to answer George Washington to Beck’s question, “Whose your favorite founding father”. The 22 seconds was filled with Palin rambling and Beck saying, “Bull crap”. (fast forward to 4:33 to get the question)

Mama Grizzly herself.

4. His Shoes: The man wore sneakers with a suite. This is just humorous to me and was such a part of his oddness. That’s all I really have to say about that.

Sneakers help give him street-cred. It worked for Fred Rodgers.

5. Beck Being Beck. Glenn Beck is an interesting human being. Beck has created a persona that captivates people who love him and people who cannot stand him. He has the style of Andy Bernard (My brother came up with this and we both mean no disrespect to the Nard Dog) and the crazy host rants of Howard Beale. Beck is just an enigma. He believes there are evil progressives destroying the country and decides he will tell the world this through acting like a crazy radio host.

As a lover of the film Network, I despise all parallels to Beck and Peter Finch's character.

6. Obama is a Racist: One of my personal favorite moments happened when Beck was not on his own show. When Beck was on the Fox morning show, “FOX and Friends”, Beck came out and said that he thought President Obama was a racist. Beck said this while talking about the controversial idea Obama came up with to deal with the Henry Louis Gates arrest. He later backed tracked on the statement but it is still one of the best moments in Beck’s history at the station.

7. Magnets: Beck brought up how many magnets he has in his last episode. He stated that he actually had employees who just made magnets for him. The magnets were usually pictures of people or organizations. The people were Obama, Stalin, Mao, Hitler and anyone that had to be connected to evil or socialism. The signs were usually a swastika, a communist sickle, ACORN or unions. Having these magnets just seemed awkward to me. Did they have to go to a magnet store (or wherever one would go to buy large magnets of peoples faces) to get this done or did they just have a magnet maker in the studio? How awkward do you think it was for the individuals on magnet duty if they had to go to a magnet store? They had to get some odd looks. “You framed an Asia poster? How hard did the people at the frame store laugh when you brought this in?” The line from the “40 Year Old Virgin” was all I could think about when I saw his magnets.

Magnets, how do they work?

8. Glen Beck Satire: Poking fun at Glenn Beck has been one of my favorite parts of Beck being relevant. Everyone has done it. The Daily Show, The Colbert Report and Saturday Night Live have all taken turns making fun of Beck. The Daily Show has done an entire show in the Glenn Beck style. The Colbert Report decided to poke fun at one segment that Beck did called the War Room. This was where Beck created scenarios in the future that would be devastating to America. Colbert decided to do his own version called the Doom Bunker (Here is Beck’s and Colbert’s. I do not know which one is funnier). Saturday Night Live has had veteran funny man Jason Sudeikis impersonate Beck during their skits about Fox News. All of these have made me laugh. I thank Beck and these comedians for brightening my nights (or mornings when I watch them online).

His literature will live on.

9. Why New York is influenced by communism: This is by far my favorite conspiracy theory that Beck has ever had. An episode was spent on Beck explaining the communist influence on New York Cities’ architecture. He showed paintings and sculptures in many of the buildings at Rockefeller Center and showed how they are direct correlations to communist and progressive and their ideas. He was trying to show how right under the American people noses progressives were and are influencing our lives. He showed statues that represented communist ideals, mainly the hammer and sickle imagery, and paintings that have the faces of famous progressives and communist painted in them. When I saw this episode I thought, “Come one man”. I think this example best sum up the crazy conspiracy side of Beck. Conspiracy Beck is the best kind of Beck and is why he is one of my guilty pleasures.

-Frank Mahoney

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

First Signs one year anniversary

There is nothing more precious than your child's first birthday. You spend the whole first year worrying if they will even make it to the ripe old age of one. Now, while my blog is not even comparable to a child, the rule applies. There is a certain sense of validation after being around for a year (yes, validation). It has been a trying year, but I'm happy to see I actually made it this far and stuck with it.

Unlike my promise to jump rope regularly.

One year ago today I first sat down and went to work on this blog. The main motivation, admittingly, was boredom. Pop culture was the only thing I could really talk about with any conviction, so the topic decision was easy. To be honest though, I wasn't sure if I had it in me to keep going for a year. I started this blog wanting to say something new, but I was happy with saying something at least worthwhile. What I settled on, for the most part, was saying anything at all. Reading my past postings, I can't say I liked all of them. I do like a good amount of them though. I'm even proud to of written a few of them.

What I don't regret are my two panda posts.

A strange thing happened as the first months rolled by. People actually started reading my stuff. Not just glancing either but people were actually interested in what I had to say. It felt pretty good. In a years time I've accumulated, at the time of my writing, 19,587. I feel like that's a number to be proud of for someone that is just doing this for giggles. It makes me happy that I took two days out of my week to write a quick post (even if it meant writing two posts on Sunday). My friends even became familiar with my complaints about it being blog day (then again, I complain a lot anyway). Either way, all the Facebook clicks and Google hits have meant a lot. Even if it's someone that's just looking for a picture of Chicago Hope.

You would be surprised how many people Googled Chicago Hope pictures.

A year is slowly becoming less and less of a milestone. Getting older means time goes by faster. And time going by faster is a pain in the ass. A year ago I was different. In the time since I started writing this blog, I became of age to drink legally (and I admit to making home in a few bars), I'm now going into my senior year of college and I've even become an uncle.

This was also the year I watched the Wire.

I'd like to thank you, dear reader, for sticking with me and reading what I have to say. I hope my writing has gotten better since I began. If it hasn't, then I hope it gets better by next year. I want to thank my friends who regularly read this, my family who put up with me and anybody else that may stumble upon my meager blog. I enjoyed writing on here for a year, and I will continue to write. So once again, thank you dear reader.


Sunday, July 17, 2011

The demise of NJN

I was too hard on public broadcasting in my Pawn Stars post. In that post I mentioned that nothing cool could ever come from public broadcasting. It is only now that I admit that was a lie. Just an excuse for a cheap gag. In actuality, I'm a fan of public broadcasting. I'll be the first to admit that a state network is important. This, however, is one opinion that New Jersey and I differ on. On June 30, the New Jersey Network, which has been in operation since 1971, ceased operation.

Gone, and probably will be forgotten in a few years.

In the state's herculean task to cut spending, NJN was offered up as a sacrifice. But really, public broadcasting can't cost that much. Yes, the state is footing the bill a bit, but the bill is worth it. Is the state really scrounging for every nickle and dime it can like a teenager rummaging through couch cushions? Being an affiliate with PBS, the public helped pay for NJN. And if the public is helping pay for it, that should be cause enough to try and keep it.

We're only constantly reminded that before and after every program.

With the doors of NJN closing, that meant 130 people lost their jobs. Gov. Chris Christie may see this as a sacrifice to the greater good of the state, but at the end of the day it's just 130 people unemployed. This isn't like Christie's attempt at cutting the budgetary fat in education (which I also had problems with), this is the termination of an institution that was there long before Christie came around.

Christie's governorship is the fuel for many a family's dinner table debate.

Public broadcasting should fall under the public trust doctrine. Each state's network is for the benefit of that public and is tailor made for each state's demographic. The programming helps retain the state's identity. Of all states, Jersey needs to keep this alive. We're a state brimming with character and charm. And while we're being caricatured on MTV and every other Jersey-bandwagon jumping show, there needs to be a place on television reserved for a more respectful view of the Garden State. But to base New Jersey-centric television in New York, like the plan is now, is completely disrespectful.

NJN lets you look at Jersey past each Exit ramp.

NJN will live on somehow. It was an institution that has been around for 40 years. There's a legacy in there. Every movie-day in science class taken from a teacher's worn out VHS tape, NJN'll be there. Every recorded episode of Nova, NJN'll be there. Ever time a New Jersey child hugs their Elmo doll, NJN'll be there. And every pledge-drive tote bag being used by an old lady when she's grocery shopping, NJN'll be there too.

Now if you'll excuse me, Breaking Bad premieres tonight and I need to get properly pumped up.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Nancy Grace and Casey Anthony

My grandmother (whom I affectionately refer to as Nana) loves Nancy Grace. She watches HLN every night and devours everything Grace has to say. And as much as I love my Nana, I can't help but disapprove of her HLN addiction. To me, Grace has always been a horrible excuse for a human being. She's a bully, a narcissist and a war hawk for the justice system. While many of her supporters may love her for these very same reasons, I can't help but hold contempt for her.

Unholy beast.

For the most part, Grace was nothing more than a sideshow. On the fringe of cable news television, HLN (formerly Headline News) always grasped straws at what news was. Numerous times, when discussing the channel, I've referred to it as the "Lost White-Girl Network". Every human interest story and new "it" suburban tragedy finds itself done to death on the network and, specifically, on Grace's program. If CNN is the Time Magazine of cable news, than HLN is the People Magazine.

On the off chance I ever need to depend on People for future job prospects,
I apologize now for harsh words.

Grace spewed her hatred on a cable news channel watched mostly by bored housewives. And that's where she belonged, in her own corner away from any real journalism (I'll reserve the debate on the necessity for 24-hour cable news for another day). Now and then Grace takes up a special cause to rally around and, in her own passion for the topic, kills it into the ground. She falsely called for the heads of Duke lacrosse players and even got told off by Elizabeth Smart, one of her previous pet projects. But my worst fears have been realized as of late. In the circus that was the Casey Anthony trial, Grace found a perfect podium for her rhetoric. And the ratings have never been better.

R.I.P. Caylee

Grace actually has people listening to her now. Not just her usual devoted followers (my Nana included), but now a whole nation was watching her. If O.J. Simpson was the trial of the century than this was the trial of the new millennium. And unlike during O.J.'s reign, information is now instant and over-saturated. I remember when Caylee first went missing. I was actually in Orlando around the time it happened, on a family vacation. I remembered seeing the billboards and feeling sorry for the family. Three years later, the case has finally erupted into the storm it was destined to be.

One family's tragedy, another family's dinner table conversation.

Now, I'm not here to judge Casey Anthony's guilt. Everyone else in the world has done that enough. I'm just taken aback by the reaction. The case definitely deserves media attention, with its unusualness, heartbreak and the fact that the Anthony family has put themselves in the spotlight (aforementioned billboards). While she was found acquitted (remember, it's not like she was found innocent), a nation calls for her blood. And at the front of that charge is Grace, in all her blonde-bobbed glory.

I mentioned my use of memes in gauging news before.

Nancy Grace is not a mad prophet of the airwaves. She's not a leader in the cause of justice. She's just a crazy women with a hard on for missing white women. She's overzealously thrown herself into any case with a whiff of media attention, and now one of those piles of crap have finally paid off for her. It remains to be seen how she keeps up the momentum of her new-found credibility, (I imagine six-months worth of Casey Anthony trial reactions) but she will milk this for as much as it's worth. Not because of justice but because now she has people watching her rants and belittling interview style. Casey Anthony was definitely not innocent but her guilt is still unclear enough to be debatable. Grace is neither judge, jury or executioner. She's just a lady with a big mouth.

Grace talking about the Duke Lacrosse case, for which they were falsely accused.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Linkin Park: The official band of Transformers

I previously stated how my friends and I all grew up loving Taking Back Sunday. Well, before TBS there was another band we all enjoyed. While many may deny their love of the band, everyone I know liked Linkin Park at some point. Anyone that says they didn't like them is lying. It was impossible not to when they came out in 2000. While their relevancy may have diminished in the years since Hybrid Theory, their debut album, the band has reinvented themselves. They have since become the official/unofficial band of the Transformers film series. I'll let you decide whether that's selling out or not.

You can't sell out with holes in your ears, it's a proven fact.

Linkin Park erupted onto the scene with Hybrid Theory. While critics met the album lukewarmly, pre-teens bought it up. Linkin Park took the nu metal sound that saturated the modern rock stations and made it whiny enough to be identifiable. Instead of Fred Durst rapping about nookie or Korn, well, just being Korn, Linkin Park packaged the sound into an easily digestible morsel. Korn was for people that wore JNCO jeans and you didn't talk to in the hallway. Linkin Park was for everyone.

And everyone bought it.

Anyone that claims to like some form of rock listened to and probably owned Hybrid Theory. It was too ubiquitous to escape from. They owned the radio. And their music videos were interesting and numerous enough to guarantee MTV airplay. They even partied with Jay-Z. In the two albums they were relevant with, Hybrid Theory and Meteora, they had 10 singles between them. That's a whole album's worth of songs for 13-year-old me to rock out too. And rock out I did.

Sometimes the CD player would skip, I rocked out so much.

Linkin Park was there for my middle school angst. I had my first girlfriend in 7th grade. The only time we ever spoke was when I asked her to date me. A week and a few instant message conversations later and we were through. She dumped me. In my first experience with heartbreak, I turned to Linkin Park. They understood my pain and frustration. They sang the feelings that I was too young to properly express. In the End was especially comforting. They really felt my Mickey-Mouse pain.

One of my favorite descriptions for childish things is referring to it as Mickey Mouse.

I don't mean to show Linkin Park any disrespect, because I really did like them a lot when I was in middle school. I even did a class project on them once. I'm still sore about never getting my copy of Meteora back from my friend from down the street. But, after Hybrid Theory and Meteora, Linkin Park faded out. The rap/rock combination was no longer cool. While defining them as rap/rock didn't quite do them justice, they were still pigeon-holed in that genre. And when the genre lost relevancy, so did Linkin Park. I almost forgot about them until Transformers came out in 2007. All three movies have been major blockbusters, and Linkin Park supplied the big single for each iteration.

Must be a pretty sweet gig.

Linkin Park's future is now linked with Transformers, which isn't too bad for them. The first two Transformers, while not loved critically, made more than a billion worldwide. Transformers: Dark of the Moon, released June 29, is poised to be another megahit. And though it is horrible to say, I don't believe Linkin Park have sold out by being linked with Michael Bay's extravaganza. Because, before 2007, Linkin Park were completely forgotten. Bay's trilogy resurrected the band and allowed them to be heard by a new generation of whiny preteens. And that isn't so bad.

Arguably their best song and, in my opinion, the one that has had the most staying power.

The first Transformers was a remake of Small Soldiers

A boy, lost in suburbia, gets mixed up in a rivalry between two groups of inanimate objects. The boy helps the good-guys win and in the end wins the affection of the girl of his dreams. While yes, this plot could describe most movies directed towards the male 13-18 demographic, there are two movies in particular I want to talk about. To me, 2007's Transformers and 1998's Small Soldiers are the same basic movie.

Bear with me, dear reader.

Comparing basic plot points, both movies are basically identical. Both involve two lines of toys battling it out. While yes, a car is a much bigger toy than an action figure, a car is basically and adult's toy. Grown men and children are both passionate and protective over their toys. And the fact that Transformers is based off of a toy line helps my argument further. While Transformers has Autobots and Decepticons, Small Soldiers has Commando Elite and Gorgonites. Basically, Transformers is just Small Soldiers on a much larger scale.

The Autobot logo has a five-head.

It is true that the Transformers franchise has been around since the 80s, but remember that I'm not talking about the franchise itself but just the first movie. Both movies involve awkward teenagers thrust into action by inanimate objects. And getting the girl in the end helps a lot too. And while I've always had a crush on Kirsten Dunst since her Spider-Man days, it's hard not to leer at Megan Fox's, now iconic, engine checking.

[Insert dip-stick joke here]

Probably the most interesting reason for the comparison, to me, is Kevin Dunn. Dunn plays the bumbling father in both movies. And the roles are pretty much interchangeable. Now yes, there are only so many ways to play a frazzled father, but to me this is the main link to both movies. Transformers may very well be a hidden remake to the modest 1998 hit. Or maybe even a quasi-sequel. Maybe Dunn's character secretly had two families.

It's always the people you least expect.

Really, in the end, I just want more people to know about Small Soldiers. Because I remember enjoying it as a kid. It's like Transformers enough to be noteworthy. Small Soldiers is even, arguably, better than Transformers. Both are dumb popcorn movies but Small Soldiers has more heart. Transformers is just a big car commercial. And Small Soldiers was Phil Hartman's last film. That's reason enough to check it out.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

The popularity of junk shows

Contrary to popular belief, one man's trash is, in fact, another man's trash. There is no treasure to be found at estate sales, flea markets, swap meets or any other gathering that involves the sale of musty smelly trinkets that old people collect. Somehow, there is a whole niche audience that loves watching people find diamonds in piles of trash. This is the only explanation for the recent rash of shows revolving around junk. Pawn Stars is one of the most popular shows on cable, and now it has lots of competition.

Who says television stars have to be glamorous?

Really, the whole concept can be traced back to Antiques Roadshow. Roadshow has been popular since it first started airing in the United States. People would flock to find if their antique ottoman was a secret to vast riches. The thing of it is, while popular, Antiques Roadshow aired on PBS and nothing cool ever emerged out of public broadcasting (sorry Fred Rodgers). When Pawn Stars premiered in 2009, it took the Roadshow format and put a nice white-trash spin on it.

There's gold in them thar homes.

But even with unlikable stars and Rick's wheezy laugh, Pawn Stars blew up. History Channel, being the whore that it has become, replicated the success with American Pickers. Now, many have condemned the Pickers for swindling lonely folks out of their possessions, and their points may but valid, but those people are whiners. This is capitalism here. Yes the men may be pushy and shady about their deals (especially the fat one), but these guys are living off trash. You can't have scruples when you make a living off of junk. And they might dress up their show, saying it's about finding artifacts, but that's just pretension. Finding a tin gas station sign does not make it historical. The show is really about two things: man-love between two grown men and capitalism. If you don't like that, you're a commie.

"Buy for a nickle, sell for a dime." -Prop Joe (The Wire)

With two big hits centered around junk, all the other channels began copying off of History Channel. Discovery Channel has Oddities and Auction Kings, truTV has Hardcore Pawn, Spike has Auction Hunters, A&E has Storage Wars, Syfy has Hollywood Treasure (a movie-memorabilia spin on American Pickers) and National Geographic has Flea Man. And each show is as derivative and uninspired as it sounds.

I was very disappointed to find out Flea Man was about flea markets.

Now everyone thinks their junk is worth a fortune. Masses are visiting yard sales, hoping to find the Ark of the Covenant next to the old PEZ dispensers and VHS tapes. And this market of junk is probably ruining the speculator's market. All of these shows base their earnings on auction prices, but with a surge in tin signs found in old garages, the earnings are just going to drop. In the meantime, people are just hoarding their collectors pieces waiting for the dust gathering objects to turn a profit before it gets too much rat poop on it to be unsellable.

Thrift stores, now for prospectors along with lower-middle class people and hipsters.

These shows are only validating the people who look to sell their grandparents belongings for a quick buck. Heirlooms are no longer prized family possessions but are instead a quick way to make a few hundred bucks. There is now another outlet for people's greed, only this time it's junk being abused. And though some people make it big with a limited edition toy car, most of the artifacts are really just junk. The only value is an intrinsic and personal value. Junk should be about emotional attachment, not Laurel and Hardy giving you a price on an old bicycle.

I hate the fat one.