This episode of collection Intervention begins with Howie, who is a huge pop culture collector who collects underground Americana, horror memorabilia, movie posters, and records. Unfortunately, Howie spends more money than he really has, and is constantly juggling priorities to pay for his collection.
Elyse arrives and is actually impressed with Howie’s collection–he really does have some amazing items — but there’s nowhere to sit! She says he has a pop culture museum but she’s worried that his collection is taking over his life.
The next collector in need of an intervention is Sean, who collects mostly modern toys. Sean reviews his toys online and makes his living through his online videos. His girlfriend, Raquel, wants to move in, but there’s no room — everywhere you look, toys are piled high. Raquel says that “he pays more attention to his toys than me,” and at one point, she even says that sometimes she “wishes she was the toy” so Sean would pay more attention to her. It’s pretty obvious that these two have some issues to deal with.
Most of Sean’s toys are not mint in box since he had to remove the toys to review them. He does have an impressive collection of Hot Toys figures in a glass display cabinet, which Elyse tells him are worth $250-800 each. Sean’s pride and joy is a vintage collection of Thundercats figures and his collection of Masters of the Universe Classics figures, but Elyse can’t believe there’s a cup of coffee, gum, and other food items on the same table. A true collector would treat his collection better than this, she says.
Elyse calls in a therapist. Sean tells him that toys have always been his “happy place” and they are always there for him, while people have left him and hurt him in the past. I’m sure the therapist is very good at his job, but he lost me when he called all of Sean’s figures “dolls.” How can you effectively treat someone when you basically insult the things that they love?
Back at Howie’s house, Elyse finds some rare Ed Wood books and some Spookshow posters. I can’t imagine the treasures that Howie must have buried in all those piles. Everywhere you look, there is an amazing item sitting on a shelf or hanging on the wall.
Back at Sean’s apartment, Elyse calls in Jeremy, an appraiser, to look over Sean’s toy collection. Sean seems surprised at how much his Hot Toys figures are worth. Really? I’m sorry but if you spend hundreds of dollars on a toy, you know what it’s worth. I’ll blame the editing for this.
Jeremy tells Sean that his vintage Thundercats Cat’s lair with the box is worth $400-550. In total, Jeremy estimates that Sean’s entire collection is worth over six figures. That’s a lot of toys! He offers to buy the Thundercats lair, but Sean refuses to sell.
Elyse is still finding treasures at Howie’s place, including some prints by Robert Crumb, which are worth $200-350 each. Howie is still resistant to Elyse’s suggestions, so she calls upon a therapist and Howie is not thrilled. Howie reveals that he’s not even comfortable in all his clutter, and doesn’t enjoy being in his apartment, because it makes him anxious.
The therapist suggests getting four boxes and going through some items — keep, sell, storage, discard. Howie gives it a fairly lackluster effort and when the therapist leaves, Howie is really annoyed.
Sean has selected a large pile of toys to sell and he and Raquel go to Toyfusion, a local toy store to see what they can sell. I honestly don’t know where they find these stores,but it seems like every episode has another amazing shop that is filled with vintage toys? Is there a shop like this on the East coast, because I really want to go!
After a slow start, the toys start selling and Sean ends up unloading a lot of toys and makes $410 in the process. Sean goes on to clear out his apartment and Raquel is ready to move in. Success!
Elyse has set up an exhibition to show off some of Howie’s collection. At exhibitions, sometimes people offer to buy the items that are on display, so she wants to make sure Howie is prepared for that possibility, but he’s more afraid that his things will get damaged. This exhibit is a big step for Howie since he doesn’t really like people to paw through his collection.
A good crowd of people arrives and a lot of them want to buy some of the posters and books, but Howie keeps declining their offers. he finally agrees to sell a small Demolition Derby poster for $300. He also sells over $4,000 worth of items to a single buyer. In total, Howie sold over $5,500 worth of items but doesn’t seem too happy about it. I wouldn’t be surprised if he went out and spent all that money on more items for his collection, and I’m not sure that Elyse can call this one a success.
I was struck by how different the tone in this episode was. These two seemed way more overwhelmed by their collections than collectors featured on previous episodes, more Hoarders-like.
Also, I must say that I think Howie’s collection was mind-blowingly amazing. I would love to spend a few hours in there. He should open his own shop/museum and rent a smaller apartment. That would be my advice to him.
I could spend week’s looking through his collection! He really could open a museum and charge admission, I know I’d pay to see it.
I think that Sean’s “problem” seemed a little too staged, almost like he piled everything in the middle of the floor when he heard the cameras were on the way. There’s no way all those action figures on the shelves could be so neatly arranged and not toppled over with the huge disorganized mess surrounding it.
Howie definitely needed an intervention though, and hopefully he can get his home and lifestyle de-cluttered.
I didn’t have time to watch the episode this week, but my friend passed along this video to me:
Sean and Raquel talk about the experience and say that a lot of it was staged. In fact, Raquel is a collector, too, and they asked her to throw in some of her stuff to make it look like Sean had more stuff.
It’s not as though these shows aren’t staged to a VERY high degree, but it’s pretty amazing that someone would publicly say, “This was staged and here is exactly how it was staged.”
As far as toy shops on the East Coast, I can tell you that I’m very blessed to live in New Jersey. The House of Fun in Oaklyn, Play with This at the Grand Marketplace in Willingboro, and It’s a Toy Store in Richland are all packed to the gills with vintage toy goodness.
Thanks for that link Ben. I’ve heard similar stories about this show and Toy Hunter in regards to their being staged, and I’m not really surprised, but what does surprise me is what you mentioned–why are the shows allowing the “guests’ to go on and talk about what really happened? I always thought reality TV shows had rock-solid contracts that forbid this kind of disclosure. Interviews like this one really will harm these shows in the long run if every time someone appears on the show, they immediately go and film an interview that says the whole thing was a sham.
I choose to suspend disbelief when watching reality TV, but it’s much more difficult to enjoy these shows when you have these post-interviews telling you that you were duped the whole time.
I talked to my site partner BCDirect, who works for Reality Television and has for the last 5 years about what sort of contracts they had to sign to do this show. They are required to sign an appearance release that has a confidentiality clause written into it, but normally the duration of that is in between filming and airing of the show. But the public announcement of the staged aspect of it is a little startling. That may end up getting him in trouble. Not sure really.
I’ll be honest, and this isn’t about any of you guys and gals commenting here, but I am still amazingly startled to hear just how many people really believe these shows are still 100% real! It’s almost as bad as all the people thinking Wrestling isn’t scripted…sigh…ah well. 🙂
Yeah, there has never been much reality in the reality TV genre, heck, even HGTV House Hunters is rigged, but in this day and age where everyone has a blog, or podcast, the TV execs really need to shut up their “contestants” if they expect their shows to survive.
I’ll certainly continue to watch these shows because I like to see all the items in the collections, but it seems like after every single episode, the people featured on the show have come out and declared how fake and staged everything was. That certainly makes the viewing experience less enjoyable.
And what do you mean wrestling isn’t real??? 😉
WRESTLING IS SCRIPTED?!?!?!?!
Will West says
You need to check out All Time Toys in Ellicot City. We’ve discussed it along with the Taylor’s Antique Mall so you should definitely make the trek.
As for Devall, I don’t think it’s unrealistic to expect a bit of reality in these shows. I don’t think we’re naive for expecting it. Direct The Bachelor and Survivor thrive on drama, but toy shows don’t *need* it. The reality genre has become so sensationalized that all shows are scripted, but I feel like we’d watch Toy Hunter if it were almost documentary in style and simply showcased collections. The aspects that make it staged are the fault of the networks, and aren’t necessary. We all know the tricks of TV, but I don’t think it’s unfair to want something about “reality” to be “real” sometimes…After all, the staging is to the detriment of the shows. Most of the reasons people say they hate Toy Hunter and Collection Intervention are the direct result of production meddling.
Howie Decker says
It’s Real to me Dammit