Richard: This is a screencap from the dullest episode of Hoarders, ever. It’s so dull, it never aired in the U.S. and can only be seen in Canadian reruns or as an Easter egg on the first seven boxed DVD sets to roll off the production line. (All of which are, I’m told, housed in the Library of Congress, which is like a Dan Brown-sized holy grail of hoarding.)

I understand how the show’s scouts got confused. The room has all the makings of a trainwreck:

1. Boardgames

2. Collectible plates

3. A TV purchased during the Bush, père administration

Unfortunately, they made an amateur’s mistake by not noticing that all of those things are (a) on shelves or (b) nailed to the wall. Apart from a slightly out-of-place skateboard, there’s nothing on that dull-but-serviceable carpet.

Even more telling, nothing is askew. Some motherfucker took a level to those Monopoly boxes, and don’t think for a minute that I’m kidding.

If Hoarders ever gets revived, and if you happen to land a job working for the series, ask yourself these questions before committing to any locations:

1. Is there a missing cat?

2. Is there a trail to the bathroom forged through canyons of old circulars and People magazines?

3. And most importantly: is there a near-palpable smell of desperation, mold, and urine?

If you don’t have all three of those elements, you don’t have shit.

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Richard: Despite what Lancome and Clinique and an army of plastic surgeons tell us, aging is inevitable. The best we can do is to age gracefully, like George Clooney or Emmylou Harris, not hideously like Joan Van Ark or that douchecanoe who used to run Abercrombie & Fitch until the company finally figured out that his “no fat chicks” policy wasn’t such a great idea in a country that’s seriously overweight.

Rooms can make transitions, too. In fact, here’s one that has morphed from adolescence to adulthood with aplomb. Mostly.

I’m guessing that this was once a high schooler’s bedroom. That guess is based on the fact that (a) the walls are orange, and (b) they are partially covered in spray paint. Most adults would’ve chosen a more neutral color, or at least limited the orange to an accent area. Also, most adults would’ve slapped some Kilz on that spray paint long ago. Clearly, the owner of this room has a sentimental attachment to graffiti and perhaps the Florida Orange Bird.

I’m also guessing that this room now houses the offspring of the aforementioned high schooler. That guess is based on the fact that (a) there is a running cartoonish dog motif, which seems like the sort of thing that kids would enjoy, and (b) there’s a lot of laundry in here, which seems like the kind of thing that wouldn’t drive kids batshit insane.

And you thought you had to go all the way to Broadway and cough up $125 to learn about the goddamn circle of life.

Richard: When I first saw this pic, my reaction was a lot like Marilyn’s in the background. “What am I looking at here? Did a vanilla-only ice cream factory explode? Was anyone hurt? Oh, god, do I know anyone that works at a vanilla-only ice cream factory? Do such things even exist?”

Then I saw Marilyn and my pattern-recognition skills kicked in and I got bored. I felt like I’d solved a Magic Eye picture that was hiding a lump of flan.

I’ll give the decorator some credit: at least he’s consistent. It takes dedication to ensure that the Cat Camelot you’ve ordered from the backside of Cat Fancy matches the hue of your carpet and your sofa.

And say what you will about Marilyn prints, at least this one’s framed and hung. Without that visual cue and the dirty laundry on floor — an odd stylistic choice for a private Grindr pic, but slobs need sex, too — I couldn’t tell the ground from the wall. The effect is like what some Cajun fishermen call “calme au blanc”, when you’re out on a boat and the air is still and the color of the water and sky merge. Only in this case, the color isn’t white or blue but “meh”.

And one last, literal pet peeve: before taking a dick pic, please remove all companion animals from the room. Especially cats. Last I checked, most of the people cruising GuysWithiPhones.com are looking for a different kind of pussy.

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Barrett: Today’s edition of Lurid Digs comes all the way from Loch Ness, which besides the legendary monster, is home to rooms far scarier than some hairless creature poking about for a closeup photo.

It’s hard to decide what’s less appealing, the photo of a man and his devoted wife, the collage frame filled with pics of babies and children, or the fabric on that too-long-for-the-breakfast-bar sofa. At least the furniture design allows for plenty of extra storage underneath for books, magazines and such.

Though the hoarding of copper hasn’t reached reality-show intervention levels, it could be displayed in a far better manner. Like the remote control, which at least generates visual interest balanced carefully at the summit of that Queen Anne peak.

Props are due, however, for keeping the pieces polished and party-ready, which clearly happens a lot in these parts, evidenced in part by the fiesta-friendly baby blue and pea green walls, but more so by the citronella-filled tiki torches for a little mosquito-free 69 by moonlight.

Richard: I loathe nostalgia, and this is why.

At first glance, this might not seem like a very sentimental room, but look closer, my pet. Look closer.

See that gray display cabinet salvaged from a shuttered Pontiac dealership? Yes, the one lit by reflections of surplus mirror tiles left over from the owner’s latest bedroom renovation. That cabinet contains the trophies and statuettes of a former life, a brighter life, a life where anything was possible.

Years later, these things have become symbols of what could have been, sad, dusty mementos that keep the owner mired in the past, when he should be looking toward tomorrow. Box that shit — and all the gewgaws on the shelf at the back of the room, in front of that impressive plate glass door — and put it in the attic where it belongs. Or, here’s another thought: bonfire.

Even the furniture screams, “I can’t let go!” How many marriages spawned this awful amalgamation of early-aughts Rooms-To-Go loveseats (in salmon, no less); a mid-90s Le Corbusier knock-off chaise lounge (upholstered in a blue found in no self-respecting sky); and a high-80s, angle-cut, glass-topped coffee table? For fuck’s sake, even that giant philodendron wants out.

Remember Orpheus, people: never look back.




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