Thursday, 2 May 2013

An idea for a television series.

Have you like me, been watching those fly-on-the-wall television series, based on people with an obsessive compulsive desire to hoard items in their homes. Its a well worn format, that started way back with Mr Trebus who was also a compulsive hoarder. He came to fame when he was featured on the British television documentary series, A Life of Grime. He soon also became a much loved member of the british public. In the main because he was so cantankerous and fiercely independant. I thought he was wonderful.

But I digress...

There is a list of "regular characters" portrayed in each program. The action usualy takes place in a small house or flat with creaking floors under the weight of trash or hoarder collectables. Where a table that has not been seen for five years will soon be rediscovered. A bit like an updated version acorn antiques, where all of the antiques have been collected from local dustbins and skips.

There are a number of people who usually turn up in each episode to offer help. The first is a close friend usually called Glenda who has not visited Martha at home for some time. The Genda's are usually filmed saying "My god Martha its a bit full in here!" Just as a landslide of bunny hoppers comes tumbling down the stairs. Glenda is then seen leaving and wiping her feet on the way out.

This first attempt on the mountain of hoard is led by a small army of do-gooder sherpas.  Who turn out to be some sort of charitable busybodies. Armed with a couple of cardboard boxes they make a start, but don't leave until they have filled a couple of skips. Martha who has been pre-conditioned to dumpster diving, is then up most of the following night recovering her valuables from the skips.

Then there is the "recovered" ex hoarder parachuted in to offer useless advice alongside the amazing Ms Clean-o-freak who is an obsessive compulsive house cleaner. Clean-o-freak has industrial strength Marigolds and knickers made of army canvas. Clean-o-freak comes armed with a huge bottle of napalm based cleansing fluid and a twin handed, reinforced steel wire,  toilet brush. Each item is selected one at a time, usually with a litter picker. Screwing her face into a grimace, Clean-o-freak pops the item into a cardboard box. This is completed just prior to going outside and stifling the gagging reflex. Then Ms Tidy arrives on scene. She is an obsessive compulsive room tidier. Armed with a ruler and set square she attempts to tidy the mound of hoard. 

The end result is Martha goes through a miraculous transformation. She is soon back to what is portrayed as being normal behaviour. She is presented now as a reformed character, complete with a new hair do and transfixed by a permanent smile. Martha is transformed into a Mrs Bucket clone, who now happily spends her day rearranging the dust under the bed. Arranging the flowers in the garden with a theodolite and preparing to join the ranks of the first battalion of the reformed hoarders. Just in time for series II.

But its not only junk, there is another branch of obsessive compulsives who do animal hoarding. This behaviour involves keeping a larger than usual number of animals as pets. Usually without having the ability to properly house or care for them. While at the same time being knee deep in dog shit and denying this inability to care for them all. Compulsive animal hoarding  should be seen as a symptom of an obsessive disorder rather than deliberate cruelty towards animals

This type of hoarder is deeply attached to their pets. They find it extremely difficult to let them go. They typically cannot comprehend that they are harming their pets by failing to provide them with proper care. Animal hoarders tend to believe that they provide more than the right amount of care for their pets.

We had a hoarding neighbour when I was a kid. They did a similar sort of thing to hoarding animals. However, their hoard of choice was children. There were seventeen of them altogether. Which was not a bad head count for a three up two down property.

Well, I have an idea for a new television series, it's based around people wanting to make a personal life choice of minimalistic living. Sort of anti-hoarding. It starts with a Government Minister advocating the canals and boats as a way of life. A life that is described as being idyllic for bringing up children. The main characters are a family of six, with two cats and a dog. All live on board a 40 foot narrowboat. Its a story based around the scenario where the the first one up in a morning, being the best dressed for the rest of the day.

The dark side (there is always a dark side) is represented by the IWA busybodies spies and the CaRT enforcers who go around dressed in mufti.  The spies are made up of IWA men and women, with little else to do than to endure a dreary "roses and castlesexistence retirement on a shiny chintz curtained boat. Logs on the roof of the boat and a curling wisp of wood smoke from the chimney are as a red rag to a bull. The minimalistic live aboard boating lifestyle however is also not supported by the boaters watery landlord. The family is harried constantly by the Canal and River Trust peoples charity warden from one 48 hour mooring to another. 

Whilst the parents do their best to keep their children within an hour walking distance of their school. Both parents are also trying to hold down a job at the same time. Their values mean that they do not want to be a burden on the public purse. They are trying not to be seen as benefit scroungers, a phrase so beloved of the Con-a-Lib government. Used by the government as a cover to deflect our interest away from their major shortcomings. 

Over time the family become worn down by the relentless pursuit of the charitable people's charity. They are forced to abandon their minimalistic lifestyle and their wonderful boat home environment. They then apply to the local council for emergency shelter. This is provided at a cost of a couple of grand a month paid for by the local council tax payer. The families spend some time living alongside other people who are newly arrived from europe. People who are however a bit more au fait with the rules of the benefits system. The family are shipped off north in a Dame Shirley Porter gerrymandering sort of way. Thereby creating a vacancy for the next family of waterway outcast. Now the parents have to start searching for work all over again. The family are now on a whole series of benefits and are living once again the frugal simplistic lifestyle that they have craved for so long.

Well I think you get the idea.... or maybe the story line is too far fetched.


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