David: We think there’s a form of Lurid Digs-inspired devolution at work here. After years of highlighting the kind of sofas most inclined to suffocate (or devour) their unwitting owners, we’re now discovering another disturbing trend: chairs that are serving a similar death wish-compelled function: Big, brown, puffy Barcaloungers.

Only in America could this phenomenon occur with such callow abandon: The land of Hummers, 55-ounce Big Gulps, Costco food orgies and Texas.

What was once a room, a reflection of the owner’s style and aesthetic sense, is now nothing more than just a storage area for The Chair. And while we’re tracking trends, we reluctantly draw your attention to the bungie-secured cage strapped to gramma’s old dresser. Though what it harbors is not visible, we’re imagining either a mongoose or — during these hardscrabble times — maybe even a small child.

Tears have been shed.

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Richard: Look, if you want to decorate your living room like a Norman Rockwell-themed Jim Walter home, that’s your prerogative.

If you want to spruce up your den with fake foliage from Michael’s post-Easter blowout sale because your career as a volunteer lumberjack keeps you so busy that you can’t take care of simple houseplants, fine. I can forgive that.

What I absolutely cannot forgive is showcasing a copy of Forgiven: The Painting by Thomas Blackshear II beside your hearth. For starters, it’s a fire hazard — though maybe not as much of one as that ottoman/throw blanket combo. More importantly, it’s a thoroughly unnecessary, 64-page “devotional gift book” dedicated to a pedestrian analysis of one of the most unnecessary, pedestrian paintings ever painted in the history of painting.

If you’re trying to show your religious side, just put Blackshear II’s damn painting on the wall*. If you want potential hookups to believe that you’re some kind of layman art scholar, you’d do a more convincing job with a coffee table tome detailing the many hidden meanings of Kim Kardashian’s asscrack. (Spoiler alert: there aren’t any because we’ve seen them all.)

* Outside of royal families, who calls their kids “the second” instead of “junior”? Douchebags, that’s who.

David: There are fifteen more rocker/recliners crammed into this room. Each one occupied by a full-bodied, naked and erect German guy. They are each swaying back and forth, in time to the “In Fernem Land” aria from Wagner‘s Lohengrin.

As an unlikely ringleader, Ann Coulter is there, too, perched atop a giant waterbed, wearing nothing but a Victoria’s Secret, bright blue garter belt and clutching a black Kate Spade handbag — which contains the key to the vault of Kierkegaard‘s tomb. In her other hand a metronome ticks like a time bomb.

What no one realizes is that the rocking motions of all sixteen chairs keep the globe tilted and spinning on its axis. Should the incessant back and forth motion stop, the world, as we know it, would cease to exist. So forgive them the vertiginous paint job. And pay homage by shopping at Furniture World (and not Ethan Allen).

Richard: I would probably take issue with the bland blue recliner, the broken miniblinds, and the horrific wall treatment. Unfortunately, I can’t say any of those things because I promised dad I’d be supportive of his new career as an Internet pornstar.

Eric: The great grey beast is behind us, and Pastel Hell has not yet begun. We’re in the end-season doldrums, and it’s showing in our décor.

What to do, what advice to give our young supplicant?

Don’t fight the sandy tones. Splay your mind in front of the possibilities. Jack up that bed and use the cavernous space for storage. Bet ya could fit that suitcase in there. Put something down to keep spills and stains off the carpet. Minimize that gaping black window. Shoot something onto the walls, some color or pattern or what have you. Anything to deal with the soul-sucking bone white and damp mud surrounding you.

The options are endless. Explore them 3, 4 or 10 at a time. Keep your device unobtrusively at hand to record the results for later sharing.

Are you really showing your guests who you are, what interests you, what you’re searching for? I think you’re not. You’re ready to take on the world in this room, hungry for experience, eager to be filled to the brim with life itself. So open up and let it in.

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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