Pickin’ My Brain About American Pickers

(Now, if Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz found something like this, I’d totally go for it…) Hamptons Art Fair, Bridgehampton, New York

Why do we pick to watch what we watch? (All in good humor)

As we all know, when you turn on a TV, practically every channel boasts some reality TV. It’s not just MTV and the Real World, with college kids chugging beers (I don’t know actually, never watched it).  Now, there is a show for everyone- Real Deal for the Wall Street wonders, Iron Chef for those of us who don’t actually set the kitchen on fire, Catfish for those of us who can emote with relatable online dating horror stories, and American Pickers for those who like old stuff. Two friends who travel far and wide, taking that old bowl you were using as an ashtray and declaring it belonged to Napoleon (you know, Bonaparte). The show gets quite the views, but why? Why do we set out (with our ultra American array of snacks) to watch two dudes sift through old tires and trash? Hey, didn’t I just do that the other day at my grandmas? People get paid to do this- and we watch? Here’s why.

It Appeal to our American Columbus-like motives of exploring,but from the comfort of your LaZ-Boy. Go on any dating site, and everyone says “they love to travel/ want to travel/live in a suitcase” etc. The reality is, most people don’t travel further then the McDonalds 15 minutes away (which, in suburbia, is supposedly a bit far to travel for one?) Like (some) of our ancestors, who may have braved the scary dark bowls of a boat across the Atlantic to settle in unknown wilderness, the show appeals to the inner explorer in all of us. Discovering new things, setting out into the unknown…it’s like being a kid with a treasure map.

Speaking of being a kid with a treasure map, it’s not just the act of exploration and setting off on an adventure, but about finding something magnificent. Like Indiana Jones, the idea of pulling some ancient rare artifact from the fiery pit of doom definitely appeals to the greed in us. Even if you aren’t a fan of antiques and old stuff, there is a thrill of finding some beautiful (and expensive) item amidst all of that garbage. And Mike and Fritz are childhood friends, adding to the sweet little scenario of you and your best friend/ next door neighbor digging for gold in his mother’s prize winning petunias until she screamed like Carmela Soprano.

Sense of nostalgia. There are many explanations why we enjoy seeing them unearth tin cafeteria trays that look like our old high schools, even if those trays carried the most questionable lunch meat ever. We like to think of the “good ol’ days”, even if the good ol’ days involved having to run away from Buster Harrison every time you saw him in the hallway.  The American Pickers reality tv show provides 30 minutes of a visual trip down memory lane, just without the hours spent waiting by the phone (landline) and 24 hour Duane Reades.

Instant gratification, without having to do the work, just view it on a screen. Perhaps due to technology, (or where you are raised; I know for a fact that people from Michigan are a lot less impatient waiting those two long minutes for their bacon egg and cheese then I am) we have become increasingly impatient, wanting everything as fast as a Tinder swipe (left, duh). The American Pickers provide this.

The reality is, for every platinum ballerina they find, they find a million pieces of brass and spend days trekking across the country, living off gas station donuts and sifting through some practically blind woman’s claim that she had George Washington’s wig, whereas in reality it was just her husband’s toupee (he pulled it off pretty well, sorry for the pun). But we don’t have to witness that headache, just see them move a few items, and presto! Antique hairdryer.

We all love a bargain. For as much as we want to post “popping bottles” on Instagram, we cringe the next day when we wake up and log onto our bank accounts. As much as people like to pretend money is not option, the inner pushcart haggler in al of us love a good bargain. A penny saved is a penny served you know. So when we see the guys score a vintage scuba outfit for 5$, our inner mother in us (remember when she wouldn’t spend the extra $10 for the light up sneakers? We’re still mad) cheers.

So inspiring is the show, that we feel the urge to actually get up and go see if any old folk nearby need some help cleaning….oh wait, cleaning? Maybe….Shop www.etsy.com/shops/japonicanyc for porcelain tableware and trinkets just like the pickers might find!

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