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PBS Flea Marketeers - Flea Market Wars Reality TV Or Is It

Updated on March 20, 2012

Flea Marketeers - Business Is Slow

photo by ilikespoons - Flickr
photo by ilikespoons - Flickr

Everything Is Reality TV

Reality TV series are a bit like the magic shows of years gone by. Sort of like the magic of David Copperfield whose television magic specials were enough to capture the imagination of many kids during the latter part of the 20th century, but the magic slowly begins to erode as a child begins to understand that that which is perceived on the television is merely an illusion. Making the Orient Express Train and the Statue of Liberty disappear holds a certain sense of wonder, but then the adult mind simply begins to try and figure out how it is done. The magic is gone. It is the same way with today's lineup of reality TV shows. It seems like everybody is picking something or pawning something or making untold fortunes at auctions. The question posed was whether one prefers reality tv shows or fictional narrative alternatives, and the answer might be that one never really has a choice in the matter. Everything is fictional and scripted to some degree or another, and to think otherwise is to hold on to the belief that magic really does exist. If you can keep the magic alive then I hold you in high regard, but for this 30 year old who used to want to be just like Houdini, time has eroded most sense of wonder and left a jaded disbelief in anything transmitted through the airwaves. Even the news broadcasts hold no immunity from this shutoff valve. Was there ever a time when the news could be one hundred percent believed without a doubt, or have the newspapers and the television always been just a natural progression for propaganda? I'd like to believe otherwise, but I know that people cannot really be cut in half and then give a bow and exit stage right.

So it is that the latest ensemble of reality TV series are set to make their 2012 spring debut. The American Pickers, who conveniently leave off the American tag to coax viewers in international television markets, are in their 4th season of foraging for junk and look to be holding their time slot just fine. I admit that the show held some magic for a few episodes, but there are only so many gasoline signs and antique bicycle searching that my ADD mind can handle. Pretty soon you begin to realize that it is a television show after all, and if the two guys are going to continue their romantic honeymooning around the country in a minivan then they will have to find some pretty neat stuff. I can get behind the fact that at least that show seems to be more about the interesting characters and faces at these picking locations whose owners would otherwise be on A&E's Hoarders if they had not made a few bucks from Antique Archeology. Storage Wars is a different animal indeed, and pretty soon will be joined by the latest addition PBS Flea Marketeers. If you actually believe that, by chance, every show there is something exotic and amazing to be found in a storage locker then, well, I have a few storage lockers I'd like to sell you. I haven't been in them and the owners just left and they are still locked. PBS Flea Marketeers will be a series about antique "professionals" who compete in flea market wars to who can find the most valuable antiques and flip them at auction. The show has not aired yet, but I guarantee you that from the premiere they will be finding rare and valuable treasure like they were shopping at the Antique Roadshow. I went to a flea market a few times as a kid and found it pretty fun. There was the time that I bought itching powder and dispensed it down my brother's shirt and it turned out he was allergic to the stuff and broke out for days. I think the same guy still sets up his booth like a true Flea Marketeer except he has upgraded to fake dog doo and Obama signs. If you want to remember the days of VHS and socialize with people who still have vcrs then the flea market is the place for you. I wonder if the PBS Flea Marketeers show will catch any of these exotic characters. I guess there is a few dollars to be made by disposing of junk at the flea market, but after my brother's UFC and South Park vhs tapes were gone my booth lost traffic and I have this itching feeling that the only one who makes any money day in and day out is the guy selling glass crystal meth pipes and crack stems in the corner booth. They say there are flea market professionals though, and maybe the PBS Flea Marketeers show will show people how it is done.

The other new reality TV show for 2012 is American Diggers (probably just The Diggers internationally). There has already been a major controversy over whether their metal detecting methods qualify as looting. This show has apparently greatly upset some serious archaeologist types from a simple preview clip for the new Spike lineup. There is even a concerned citizen Facebook page which aims to stop American Diggers reality TV from "looting" the "collective past" and heritage of this great nation. Of course controversy creates media and the reality tv shows have to keep things interesting. Surely no one would want to watch a guy metal detecting on the beach and finding a few coins and a washed up fork. By the way, someone has invented metal detecting flip flops for anyone too lazy to hold the actual metal detector while beachcombing. Big Brother has even dabbled with rule changing and soft manipulation of the game show. If you can't wait for Big Brother 14 2012 click here. Reality TV shows may be entertaining (even Chumlee from Pawn Stars can be funny), but there is no doubt that the shows are not as reality as producers would have you believe. Sort of like the extreme couponing series where a lady can go to a supermarket, get 5 shopping carts (they are called shopping carts not buggies!), spend an hour scanning coupons, and get paid to leave, later to be featured on Hoarders reality TV with all the stuff she keeps in her basement. Right... set your Tivos!

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