On Wednesday night, I nearly skipped the 10pm showing of American Horror Story: Asylum on FX in favor of watching the premiere of Deals From The Darkside on Syfy. American Horror Story: Asylum has entertained me, but the lure of ooky antiques was strong. Thank God I didn’t skip American Horror Story.
I have my own small collection of ooky antiques. Pictured above are some of my post mortum photographs, my Frank Lentini (The Three-Legged Man) sideshow pitch card, my Wedding Of Tom Thumb photo locket, and my Mug With Picture Of Amputee (I have no idea why that one exists, I have no idea how old it is, but I bet nobody else has one). My ooky antiques aren’t worth a fortune. They have no great historical significance. They are really in the minor leagues of ooky. I do love them, however, and I’m always interested in people who specialize in the old and disturbing.
I caught a few episodes of Oddities on the Discovery Channel. Oddities took place in Obscura, a Manhattan shop that specializes in the old and the weird. There were sideshow acts wandering in and out of the store, and a lady with fingernails nearly as long as her arms. All of that was okay with me, but I would have rather seen more of their odd stuff and less of their odd people. There were a few cool things on the show (mainly skulls), but there were also far too many patent medical devices that people once put into various orifices. The show encouraged us to believe that some of the customers were going to take their dirty old purchases home and use them. Eeeee! Honestly, I would watch Oddities and find myself smelling weird imaginary smells, after a while.
Deals From The Darkside seemed more promising. Steve Santini specializes in dark antiques that have historical significance. He finds them, he authenticates them, he buys them, he sells them, he keeps them for himself, and he lends them to museums. I thought the show would have to be bitchin’.
Instead, eh. My main disappointment was Santini’s authentication process. A guy shows Santini what he claims is a hangman’s noose and Santini goes, “REALLY? YAY!,” and buys it. Maybe there was some part they didn’t show us, a part where the guy proved that it was a hangman’s noose and not an old sheep rope. We didn’t see it, if it happened.
The Titanic deck chair was another failure of authentication. Could it have been a deck chair from the Titanic? Yes. It’s possible. Could it have been a deck chair that was made by the same company at the same point in time, but was never on the Titanic? Yes. Yes, that’s possible too, and actually MORE LIKELY. And the psychic who pointed at a name on the Titanic passenger manifest and said THAT was the passenger who’d had sat in the deck chair…well that was just total bullshit.
The torture instruments were cool. I wish we’d seen more of them and learned more about them. Like where Santini got them and their history. Instead, we got to see them draped loosely on a squeamish museum curator with brief explanations of what they were.
There was a whole little comedic running joke that the hearse Santini and his sidekick, Biker Rob, ride around in didn’t have air conditioning. So they were hot and sweating and I started smelling weird imaginary smells again.
I didn’t stay awake for the second thirty minute episode. I’ll certainly give the show another shot, at some point. I want to enjoy it. But they’d better get that air conditioning fixed. And they’d better give us better reason to believe that the things they are showing us are what they say they are.