The Discovery Channel’s Dirty Money may seem like just another formulaic collecting reality TV show, complete with a cast of family members — but if you believe that, you’re wrong.
Sure, the show features brothers John and Jimmy DiResta, along with John’s son Matthew aka “Rat-Boy”, in pursuit of getting their junk on, dumpster diving & making deals in order to turn trash into treasure selling their fab finds and resurrected relics at Hell’s Kitchen Flea Market. And that may seem familiar — maybe even too familiar. But have you forgotten why you like to watch these shows?
Plus, Dirty Money has some aces up its sleeves…
First of all, the show starts with a bang. There’s a parental advisory which suggests that in order to avoid the not-for-kids language and humor on the show, adults should put their kids out in the car. It’s not that the show is wildly inappropriate or even overly risque, but the boys talk like, well, boys. And I happen to find them to be pretty funny. The show should be funny, for in researching to write this post I discovered that John is comic John DiResta, “the funniest human being that ever lived.” I like humor with my collecting, in case you hadn’t noticed. *wink*
Perhaps most importantly, Dirty Money succeeds where shows with promise, like American Restoration, Cash & Cari, and even Picker Sisters has failed: It realistically brings to life the joy of transforming vintage and found objects into something collectible and coveted.
It’s not a true step-by-step “how to” show, but with an authentic creative builder in Jimmy DiResta, Dirty Money does focus more on the process and pitfalls of restoration, recycling and other projects. And in an affordable way, for both collector and creator. Examples: An antique Gramophone turns out not to be worth the money & effort to restore, but is revitalized as a beautiful decorative, functional, and affordable player any record lover would want. And a vintage kid’s bike, also not worthy of an authentic restoration, is turned into a chain-saw powered, Evel Knievel-esque bike.
Plus, Dirty Money shows the realities of what happens at flea markets, i.e., you don’t always get the money you’d like — but you will meet some great characters!
However, the best characters are the cast. It’s clear that the humor and antiquing skills are hereditary; they’ve got “the sickness,” the love of other people’s junk, from their father, who is known as the “Lord of the Fleas.” It’s not just a name. When John & Jimmy’s dad shows up at their flea market booth with a suitcase full of “chum” (smalls items for the boys to sell), the Lord of the Fleas then takes his now emptied suitcase out into the flea market to fill it back up again. I love it!
I wish Dirty Money had a regular set schedule. Not only does it make it hard to find an episode to watch, but such things lead to rumors that the show’s been cancelled. I hope the show lands a steady, stable spot on Discovery.