Friday, December 10, 2010


The Doll-Hoarding Episode of Hoarders

Recapping something four days after it airs is ridiculous, I realize, but last night I "live-blogged" Monday's episode of Hoarders (it was live at the time to myself?), in which a woman named Susan is forced to part with some of her 5,000 dolls (you can watch the whole thing online here, if you want).

"How awful would it be to die under a thousand dolls?" asks a mystery voice in the opening credits. Ohh, this show.

OK, there are two hoarders covered tonight, and one of them is Jim, who does not hoard dolls. He hoards regular stuff, so I won't write about him.

Oh, but he plays "the lucky trash game" with his granddaughter. : (

"The worst thing in my life is that there's lots of trash everywhere." —Jim's grandson. Aah, I can't handle this.


"I'm Susan, I'm 67 years old, and I'm retired. I've always loved dolls. I found 500 dolls on eBay for $50, and it was like 'oh my heavens.'"

Oh my god there are dolls everywhere.

Ohhh it's very Grey Gardens. OMG there are so many dolls, all those porcelain-head kinds with the big glass eyes and the CURLS. Piles of dolls!! It is VERY HOARDY!

The plot is that the daughter is coming home after 19 years, and she is "very anxious" and she has "threatened to report her parents to Adult Protective Services if her mother doesn't clean up the house," reports the text on the screen.

Oh my god the husband had testicular cancer, and then now has rectal cancer, but the house is too dirty and filled with dolls for him to recover in??!?!?!

Oh my god. The husband worries there are so many dolls that they couldn't get him out of the house on a stretcher if they had to.

The psychologist, a "hoarding specialist," ushers the daughter, Rebecca, into the house for the first time in 19 years.

Daughter: "I knew it was bad, but I didn't know there was just one place to sit in the house."

Hoarding psychologist, to Susan: "Why is there a hole in the ceiling?"

Susan: "The ceiling got so wet it caved in."

HP: "You didn't get it repaired because...?"

S: "You cant have anyone in this house."

HP: "Why?"

S: "Because I'm afraid someone would turn us in." Oh god.

The daughter goes up to see her old bedroom. Haha, the music is like HORROR MOVIE music.

Oh my F-ing G, they go upstairs, and the daughter's old bedroom you literally can't even see because the door's blocked by a mountain of boxes, but it is apparently filled with "bride dolls. Because when I was planning their wedding I got crazy with bride dolls," Susan says. Which sort of makes sense at first, but then does not make sense.

The psychologist is REALLY weird, and soap opera-ish too. She's very Tonya Harding. "Does this scare you," she whispers. The daughter starts crying. She reminds me of Judd Nelson, also, I think.

Hoarders are weird, but are all the Hoarding Specialists so weird, too? Are they former hoarders? What draws them to hoarding?


Oh my god one of the dolls looks like the little girl in The Exorcist.

Susan: "What happened in the past took many, many dolls, bears, purses, shoes, and clothing. Because I was devastated that I lost my daughter." (She, the daughter, had moved to California.) Oh my goddd.

There is an "extreme cleaning specialist" who describes the home as a "monstrosity of a dollhouse" that the husband allows only because he loves the wife so much. Which is sweet, except her dolls make the house dirty so he can't live there to get better from his cancer surgery. (?!)

Omg the cleaner fell into a pile of dolls.

Also, text on the screen: "In an effort to speed up the decision-making process, Matt organizes a doll parade." (Matt is the extreme cleaning specialist.) WHAT DOES IT MEAN?!

Aah, they present the dolls to her in a LINE and she does the thumbs up thumbs down thing, Gladiator-style, for keeping/selling.

Wait, what? Now Rebecca — the daughter — calls the Hoarders people because she thinks her mom HAS DIED?!?!?

Rebecca was afraid her mom was going to kill herself?!?!?! OMG THE DOLLS. Omg she thought her mom was going to kill herself NOT because she felt ashamed of the house but because the mom was so sad that some of the rooms had been cleaned out of dolls!?!/1!?1/1/akrjfhaksdlfhads;fjadls

But what happened is that she had fallen asleep. :::::(((((((

Susan: "I had no idea what was in my home. I told someone I had about a hundred dolls"

Cleaning specialist: "It's over a thousand, I think."

Other cleaning specialist, later, to the camera: "It is an insane amount of money that she's spent on nothing." (Crushing.)

Susan: "I was going to find SOMETHING to become addicted to to find a reason to live."

THIS IS SAD. Susan says she wants to kill herself, and now she's crying, and everyone is so incredibly miserable. This show is like an evil flashlight shone for 20 minutes onto someone's life, which is just long enough to make it look horrible, and not nearly long enough to let anyone understand anything other than that.

Oh shit, the daughter backs out of the cleaning process at the last minute! Mom is like (but does not actually say) "No big deal! I totally understand, see youuu!!!"


As the daughter leaves: "The dolls are more important to her than a lot of things." Ugh, DOLLS what have you DONE!?

Oh but WAIT, the Tonya Harding psychologist tries to keep the daughter there, tries to get her to tell the mom to keep "twenty dolls."

Daughter: "No."

OMG this dot-face doll has a sign around its neck that says "My name is Carol I am meeting Mom at the Lexington Station." (?!?!)

But wait! The daughter stays. And, "recharged by Rebecca's plea, Susan attacks the hoard blocking her daughter's room."

OK, great, she's cool with them cleaning away the garbage in front of the daughter's room... and THEN ... for the first time in 19 years ... the daughter opens the door to her old room! And it's actually pretty nice! I mean, for the rest of the house, it's actually ... kind of clean and fine! There ARE lots of bride dolls! Soooo many!

But Rebecca is not pleased: "When I walked into my bedroom, it was super creepy, and I just couldn't believe we were going to have to have another doll parade." : (

Cleaning specialist: "We have over 5,000 dolls to sell."

But then all of a sudden the house is a little bit cleaner and everything is all better, I guess. The granddaughters — Rebecca's daughters, who are totally cute — are allowed into the house for the first time, briefly. And the husband's cancer-surgery-recovery can go more smoothly now because the house is cleaner and there are not so many doll-towers preventing him from leaving the house in case of an emergency.

Epilogue: "Some of her dolls were sold at auction and Susan netted $1,260."

And that's the end.


20 Comments / Post A Comment


Ibsen would be whoreified.


I wonder if she tried to give the Doll Who Killed Kojak away?

Katie Walsh

"Omg the cleaner fell into a pile of dolls."

Edith, your doll Google Alert is the gift that keeps on giving.

Liz Colville



Hoarding specialists are hoarders of patients.


Some for selling some for keeping!


She's never had eyebrows, even as a kid. Now she's Baby Jane having a doll parade and pushing Joan Crawford in a wheelchair down the stairs.


@scroll_lock Holy Smokes!! THAT is too funny!! LOL!!

Caitlin Podiak

Ahhh!!!! Thank you so much for this, I do not think I could have handled watching the episode.

Bonnie Downing

And then they were upon her.


My grandma collects dolls and while she's just a nice, daffy old lady with nowhere near this level of pathology, her guest room is creepy as fuck w/one entire wall of shelves of dolls. When I slept over as a child, she would come in and have me say that creepy kid's prayer ("Now I lay me down to sleep...IF I SHOULD DIE BEFORE I WAKE...") and then turn out the light and leave me shuddering under the covers, trying to ignore the dozens of glassy eyes staring at me.

Man when I write this out it sounds like some next level child torment. Very nice lady, but dem dolls are a nasty habit.


@toodles I hear ya! I never know why people like those creepy porcelain dolls. There was a movie out in the 70s "Beyond the Door" where the porcelain dolls come to life and go walking through the house chanting. Glad you didn't see that movie...you'd be in a psych ward after a trip to Grammy's house. ;)


I have a couple friends who are doll collectors (not to the degree in Hoarders though). Specifically, obsessive collectors of Dollfie: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dollfie and I do not at all understand it. They weren't doll collectors when I knew them a while ago. This has happened in the last 10 years or so. WTF???


That sign around Carol's neck...it's so layered


Is The Hairpin a doll blog now? PLEASE SAY YES!

Edith Zimmerman


Ella Quint

LOVE the Coles-notes version of TV too trashy to watch but so juicy that I's got to know what happened next!!


Natalie Atkins Larkowski@facebook

I have probably about 600 dolls, but I don't display them all at once, nor do I jam them into every possible corner, when I do display them. I have an area of my house that my 21 y/o daughter calls "The creepy doll room" (but with plenty of room to move around) 7 dolls on top of dressers in the bedroom, and 3 dolls on display in the living room. Hope I never get *this* bad. LOL


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Jesorae Unica Ija@facebook

There is nothing wrong with dolls, creepy is only in the mind of the people. The real danger is in the people not in the dolls. I never heard any doll scaring or killing a person but i heard a lot of news of people killing people... Those who think dolls are creepy are creating their own horror... HOARDING? that's another story. It's a manisfestation of a pdychological/emotional problem and mocking them is not helping at all. The way you presented it in your blog is heartless!

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