Jamie Oliver Box Set

Jamie-Oliver-Box-setShocks’s Jamie Oliver Box Set consists of eight DVDs of two different Jamie Oliver series. The run-time of the set is 1052 minutes. Each season consists of four discs. There’s Save With Jamie Series One and Two, which I reviewed a few months back in-depth here, and  Jamie & Jimmy’s Food Fight Club Series One and Two.

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Hoarders [Complete Season One]

Hoarders.DVD

Understanding a mental disorder is probably one of the hardest things for people to get their head around. Trying to understand why a person can’t walk on the left hand side of the street or would send letters to the police confessing to crimes they didn’t commit is beyond any rational logic for those who‘ve never experienced anything like it. Yet to the people who suffer from anxiety and the many disorders that come with it – social phobia, obsessive compulsiveness, agoraphobia and panic attacks – the threats are real and the consequences even more so.

Coming from the other end of the spectrum of anxiety related disorders, I live in a perfectly clean house and am very obsessive-compulsive about germs to the point where I wash my hands at least 15 times a day. Even though I know a lot about anxiety and OCD, I still can not get my head around hoarding. I was horrified and gagged many a time throughout this show and kept thinking to myself “if only they organised and categorised their stuff it wouldn’t be a problem”. Even though I am a fairly sympathetic and unprejudiced person about disorders, I found myself thinking what most people do “just get over it, clean it!”. I was a bit stunned that I thought that as I’m often told to “get over it” and know how hurtful that can be. I guess it elicited such a response in me as hoarding is a visual symptom, I’ve only known of physical and psychological symptoms, so it was a very overwhelming show for me to watch as I tried to get into that head-space to understand where these people were coming from.

The hoarders on the show are mostly female, but range from young females to elderly men, there’s even a little boy who has picked up hoarding tendencies from his mother. You would also think that the scope of the clutter that is hoarded would be pretty similar but there’s a whole bunch of stuff collected and stored this season.

Probably the worst one for me was the story of Jill, a 60 year old lady who hoarded food. She had pumpkins rotting on the floor, year old yoghurt in the freezer, green meat, flies around her apartment, it was just my worst nightmare. It turns out that Jill hoards food as sometime during her life she was very poor and had no food and she feels the need to always have food around so she never has to go without again.

One that really tugged on my heart was that of an elderly couple who hoarded pets. Abandoned cats started turning up at their house and they just couldn’t say no so ended up with about 30 cats. The couple were facing criminal prosecution for animal cruelty and were told to clean up their house and their cats. You could not imagine the state of the house, seen Grey Gardens? Multiply that by ten (except the cats didn’t look as inbred), they had burrowed into mattresses, were living amongst boxes… it was just really bad. Something like 35 cats were taken away and over 40 skeletons of adult sized cats and kittens were found. The couple avoided being charged as they were looking after the cats to their best ability and were not neglecting them. To see Shirley’s emotion over loosing her favourite cats and then to only be allowed to keep 3 was pretty sad.

From yards full of scrap metal and garbage to houses overflowing with thrift store and discount sale items that never get used, I was pleased that the episodes were not all that repetitive. Even if they all hoarded the same items, the scope and variations in how they go about it would still be interesting. Another interesting aspect of hoarding is that a lot of the people were at risk of loosing their children (one couple did) and also faced potential fines and jail time. Ultimately, watching someone bare a painful and usually embarrassing secret on television always makes for good viewing and for as icky as the show is at times it’s very addictive.

There are a couple of cases where it does look like the people were purely lazy and they probably developed into hoarders due to staying around home and being socially withdrawn, but then you have your characters who are very emotionally attached to items such as a 21 year old guy who would not clean up his dog’s hair as he thought it would kill her. Another trend seemed to be compulsive shopping and a lack of space to store the clutter so it just gets thrown in a room. A few of the hoarders have actually filled up two homes with their clutter!

My only criticism about the show is that it tends to ignore the psychological side of things. There’s a brief mention from the subjects about why they think they hoard, but it’s never really that in-depth. The show also ends very quickly and gives you a bit of an update, but often leaves you feeling kind of let down that they didn’t explore things more. It’s basically Intervention but for hoarders and the interventionists range from clinical psychologists to professional organizers.

For those interested in this type of issue I’d highly recommend it along with A&E’s Intervention.

Steven Seagal Lawman: The Complete Season One

StevenSegalORDER DVD

I’m one of the few and proudly unashamed Steven Seagal fans out there. The man cops a lot of shit but he’s a legendary figure of action cinema. He always stood out amongst the other action heroes for me because of the sheer brutality of his moves. Seagal’s protagonists would always break bones and generally annihilate armies of bad guys.

All the Seagal naysayers should watch Out For Justice before they write him off. The last 10 years or so have seen Seagal (like his contemporary Van Damme) fall from superstars to the direct to video graveyard.  I’ve checked out most of these hoping to stumble upon something as killer as his old flicks but its mostly a bunch of shit. Kill Switch however, was a return to form for Seagal and showed he still had it in him to make a great action flick. If anyone can give me a heads up to where I can buy Seagal’s energy drink Lightning Bolt locally I’d be grateful. Definitely keen to try that shit. It could be one drink guaranteed to give you superpowers and I bet it’s easier to digest than his music career right?

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Here Comes Honey Boo Boo [Season One]

Here-Comes-Honey-Boo-Boo

I wouldn’t have bothered checking out Here Comes Honey Boo Boo if it wasn’t for watching a clip of Christopher Walken, Colin Farrell, and Sam Rockwell do a dramatic reading of scenes from Honey Boo Boo while promoting Seven Psychopaths (which is awesome and totally worth checking out along with In Bruges). As soon as I heard Walken say “vajiggle jaggle” and “beautimous” and Colin Farrell read the lines of someone called “Chubbs” I just had to check out what sounded like – and is – a total redneck monstrosity.

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Choccywoccydoodah [Season One]

Choccywoccydoodah-DVDORDER DVD

I haven’t had my TV set tuned in for about seven years now and it wasn’t until I saw an online article about fan outrage at Coronation Street’s time-slot being taken over by a reality cooking show that I even knew that they had expanded from segments on shows such as Good Morning to Survivor-style shows that people love to watch. I can’t think of anything more boring than watching people cook or battling/having cooking wars, but one area of these types of shows does intrigue me: shows about patisseries and chocolatiers.

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The Peacemaker L.A Gang Wars

Peacemaker-DVD

Thanks to the rise in popularity of rap music in the 1980s, along with films like Boyz ‘N The Hood, Colors and Menace II Society, the life of the South Central L.A. gangster has become romanticised and glamorised in the minds of many, mostly by people who have little understanding of the types of empty and depressive lives these people actually lead (though by the same token, media have created the mostly false illusion that outsiders take their lives into their own hands whenever they set foot inside the region).

Produced by Ice-T (no doubt to give the production a little street cred),The Peacemaker is a five-part reality series which follows ex-gangster Melik Spellman as he attempts to diffuse potential flare-ups of violence and mediate truces between rival LA gangs, many of whom are separated by little more than a single city block of real estate. It’s a violent war, often ignited by the most trivial of incidents and fought over the smallest pieces of turf by (mostly) teenagers and young men, many of whom seem all too eager to sacrifice themselves in defence of their colours and their small patch of the ‘hood.

The five episodes featured in The Peacemaker are:

Bullets, Guns & Violence: Enemies for over four decades, the tension between the 4 Trey Crips and 40 Avalon Crips threatens to boil over when a member of the 4 Treys is shot and killed, and all fingers point to the 40 Avalons. Malik needs to find a way to bring the two gangs together before the inevitable retaliation strikes and the death toll rises.

Gunned Down: In Malik’s own L.A. neighbourhood, a pregnant young lady – whose partner was a member of the Play Boy Gangster CRIPS – is gunned down and killed by a member of the rival Mansfield CRIPS. When a member of the Mansfield CRIPS is shot in retaliation, Malik desperately tries to convince both sides to come to the truce table before a full-blown gang war erupts.

Blood Brothers: In Inglewood, Malik tries to reunite a broken family in which two brothers are members of waring gangs, the Inglewood Family and the Queens Street Bloods.

Disrespect: The gangster generation gap rears its head in this episode, as a young upstart set known as the Mad Ass Gangster CRIPS riles up the members of the Payback CRIPS, one of the first Crip gangs ever established. Features an appearance from Barefoot Pookie, the last living founder of the CRIPS.

Gunplay: Malik steps in to try and stop an ongoing war sparked by an argument that broke out over a game of dice between members of the Project Watts CRIPS and members of the Fudge Town Mafia CRIPS.

Throughout each episode, Spellman comes off like a streetwise Dr Phil, earnest in his plight (he has been negotiating peace on the streets for the last 20 years and was one of the key people responsible for the short-lived Crips/Bloods truce of 1992) but you come away with the feeling that he is fighting an ultimately lost cause. And as with most reality shows of this type, you have to wonder about the set-ups and all the convenient twists and turns which each episode takes.

The Peacemaker is interesting enough for it to find a small niche audience somewhere, and it does provide some degree of social insight, but it lacks any real dramatic punch or sense of genuine confrontation to have any true emotional or visceral impact.

No extras.

Intervention [Season One]

Intervention_DVDIntervention (now in its eighth season) is an Emmy Award winning documentary series that documents the stories of various breeds of addicts. Each episode sees its subject face an intervention. From drug abuse, shopping addictions, eating disorders and even rageaholism, Intervention shows many unique stories that are interesting and often heartbreaking.

Alyson: Once a Whitehouse intern and star pupil, Alyson met a bad boy at college and was introduced to the world of drugs. She does multiple sorts of drugs and even steals painkillers from her father who suffers from life-threatening aneurysms.

Gabe & Vanessa: Gabe, another whiz kid who graduated from college at a very young age, goes on to develop a gambling problem so big that he is $200,000 in debt.

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