Storage Whoas! The bliksem of the belle
It says a lot about the nature of reality TV that people are caught off guard when something real actually happens.
Last week the cameramen on Storage Wars could barely keep pace with the action as middle-aged people who really should know better traded blows and insults over a locker room bid.
I do harbour some sympathy for the film crew though. This wasn’t an episode of Love & Hip Hop, Mob Wives, Real Housewives – honestly, take your pick – where the protagonists meet at a designated spot where the lighting is just so and the cameramen have had time to set up a ringside perimeter. This was Storage Wars – essentially a version of that British institution Antiques Roadshow, but with sneakers, tattoos and wife-beaters.
For those who don’t know, Storage Wars is about people who bid money on abandoned storage units, hoping to find valuable items inside. It features a cast of heavy-set men and trim, attractive women, all of whom scratch out an existence managing thrift stores and swop-meet stalls. The pacing, despite some slick editing, is positively genteel.
Auctioneers Dan and Laura Dotson break open a lock – one of the featured stars waffles on about how this is going to be his/her day – the bidding starts – more trash talk – someone wins – they empty out the locker – it’s a smorgasbord of cobwebs and impulse buys. But wait, what is this? It’s a box with an expensive stamp collection, or rare video games, etc. And so on.
Clearly, a reality show of this nature needs a villain. Yuuuuuuuuup! That’s the catchphrase of Dave Hester, the self-proclaimed Man in Black. He’s all about his cash, alright, and last week he got to walk the line as well.
Revelling in his rebel with a paunch role, Hester’s reason for living appears to be pissing everyone else off. It can seriously get to you, the viewer, and his co-stars have apparently had it up to here as well.
Finally, with Dave sniping from the sidelines, the Dotsons decided they had had enough.
First, Laura told Dave “I’d shut my mouth if I was you”, then husband Dan tried to bump chests in an aggressive manner. Then Dave clocked him. Dan tried to return the favour, but had trouble connecting – perhaps that recent double-aneurism surgery had messed up his balance. Laura flew in claws unsheathed, and the camera guys didn’t know whether to help or film.
They regained their composure just in time to capture Laura launching a sneak attack, klapping Dave good and solid on the back of his head before he, in turn, grabbed her by her blonde locks and dumped her on the asphalt like granny’s discarded waslappie.
Laura?! I always thought Laura was the embodiment of apple pie, the kind of down-home goodness one associates with housewives and Southern hositality – people who would call you Darlin’. But on this evidence, Laura is that ride-or-die chick, putting herself in harms way to defend her man. The way she chewed on her pen like it was a stogie as she picked herself up from the turf, was straight-up gangsta. “We’re not finished yet” she threatened, as the producers held her back. Respek.
The sight of his wife Natalie du Toit-ing saw Dan going ballistic. Nostrils aflare, he charged at Dave and landed at least two meaty hooks before a squad of assistants broke the brawl up. It was like watching two warthogs tearing it up.
They should have titled this episode Violence of the Hams.