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Tale of Two Walbergs, Episode 1: Hope for the Weary May 31, 2008

Posted by Ted in : Antiques Roadshow, Moment of Truth, PBS, Reviews , trackback






Life is a war between two opposing forces: people who collect lots of junk, and people who throw junk away. Those of us who save our stuff view those who don’t as cold and unfeeling, lacking in sentimentality. To justify ourselves we claim that our old Star Wars figurines, magazines and broken appliances might be worth something on eBay. Beaten down and weary from our struggle, we were starting to lose hope. But what’s that in the distance? Could it be something riding to our rescue? Yes! It’s Antiques Roadshow, the PBS production that travels to different US cities so that viewers can bring in their old antiques, collectibles, and junk to be appraised by the show’s team of experts. This ingenious program allows the clutter bugs to fight back against the neat freaks, and say things like, “honey, the old rug they almost threw away turned out to be worth half a million dollars!” As a fellow junk hoarder, it’s hard not to share the joy when participants hit the jackpot. Interesting items of the past have included: A collection of puzzles, games, and cutouts from the backs of 1930’s cereal boxes appraised at $3500; a confederate punch bowl; a napkin with an Andy Warhol doodle valued at $25,000; a painting worth big bucks found in somebody’s attic; an early edition of the book The Picture of Dorian Gray worth $10,000; and a creepy ceramic jug with a face on it.

The host of Antiques Roadshow is the cheerful Mark L. Walberg (no, not the guy from Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch), who introduces the show at the beginning, and does informative segments later in the program. Walberg is clean cut and likable, but there’s something strange about him that I can’t put my finger on. He seems like he might be more at home selling cars, or hosting a game show of some kind. I’ll bet he secretly wants to throw away everyone’s junk. No, wait….that was just wrong, I didn’t mean it. We should give Walberg a chance. He’s as earnest as a Jehovah’s Witness, the kind of guy who would help little old ladies across the street. After all, he’s a perfect fit for Antiques Roadshow, the most inoffensive program you can watch with the possible exception of old John Denver Christmas specials.

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