Instead of going out on Black Eye Friday, you could have watched The Hoarder Next Door Christmas special which offers a unique insight into the lives of people who obsessively keep all of their belongings.
Now, there are loads of Christmas specials on TV at this time of year and usually, its sitcoms and sketch shows that find it easy to create a Christmas feel. Given that The Hoarder Next Door is a documentary, this makes painting it in a festive light slightly more challenging.
Personally, I expected it to focus on someone who couldn’t part with items from previous Christmas days. Such as the wrapping paper from gifts, old trees and potentially rotting items that might once have been inserted into a turkey’s anus. Disappointingly, that couldn’t be further from the truth.
Instead, this festive special focussed on Greg and Pauline, who essentially had the same problem: their long suffering partners had had enough with the excessive hoarding and wanted change.
Pauline was the stranger of the two and cited a childhood trauma as the reason she held on to all sorts of crap including multiple whisks, old clothes with the tags still attached and strangest of all, food that expired as far back as 1997. Fret not though, she didn’t just accumulate them, Pauline also ate some of her collection including (urgh) ten year old meat.
In contrast, Greg’s problem was his inability to part with an ever building collection of antiques filling the house of his girlfriend. Whilst Pauline was opting for change herself, Greg was seemingly forced into this from his deep fried looking Barbie lookalike of a partner., probably because he’d filled up her house with excess crap and not his own.
Helping them both along the way was Stelios Kiosses who failed to make a single Christmas related joke. Seriously, with both houses crammed to the rafters with pressure cookers and dead insects, he could have easily dropped in the line “if Mary and Joseph were looking for refuge at your home this Christmas, there’ would be literally no room at the inn. LOLZ.” But no.
However, Stelios does make a valid point about the majority of people having a compulsion to collect at some point. From records to trainers, it might be a singular item but there are those who go the extra mile and can’t bear the thought of parting with anything and switch from collector to hoarder…even if the items in question are infested with rot and crawling with the plague.
Both Pauline and Greg are aiming to declutter and live a better life. The only tedious link towards Christmas is that Pauline wants her house free of tins of soup and peas (honest) so her grandchildren can visit and not call her a nutcase. Apart from that, it really is lacking in any festive effort and seems like Channel 4 have had to search high and low to fulfil their Christmas quota of new programming.
Whilst it’s still interesting to watch, this ‘festive’ show looking at the psychology behind hoarders, it certainly won’t make you reach for the sherry and open the Christmas presents early.