Antiques Roadshow is one of the great treasures of the television. Its quaint style and charming stories harken back to a simpler time, when a regular person didn’t have to resort to faking an injury after intentionally getting hit by an affluent person’s car just to get a few extra bucks in their pocket. As we’ve learned over and again for twenty two seasons, all you need to get rich quick is a recently deceased grandmother’s collection of mid-century Eastern European spoons to pop up in her attic while preparing for the estate sale. And just as important to the program’s fascination and success are the overconfident loons who discover that what they believed was their original Castiglioni brothers lamp is actually a worthless forgery.
The intrigue generated by each unique object, along with the eccentric personalities who bring them in for professional appraisal, make the show ripe for a fictional adaptation by one Christopher Guest, 5th Baron Haden-Guest. The British filmmaker is at his finest when he’s creating compelling mockumentaries centred around atypical sub-cultures, like with Best In Show, For Your Consideration and Mascots. The antique valuation world should be his next subject to tackle, and I’ll get him started with a few of the characters in Appraise You¹. Their names have been replaced by the desired actor for each role, and each description is followed by a telling quote.
Rachel Dratch: She’s a hoarder who finds most of her appraisable items in alleys while retrieving recyclables. Most of what she brings in clearly has little to no value. She’s always wearing a belt that is actually quite valuable, but it hasn’t even crossed her mind to show it to an expert.
“Here’s a shoe from maybe the 1700s. “It says Aldo.” Aldo, such a 1700s name, isn’t it? I can’t believe this was sitting next to a dumpster. Well the right one. The left took a bit of digging, but I shined it nice and good and now it’s time for a payday.”
Richard Kind: He’s a well-off, recently-retired, stuck-up widower. He has outlandish stories about all of his items, which may or may not be true. He’s always drinking tea, but he sometimes gets confused and orders a coffee in the morning.
Richard: “As you can tell, this is definitely one of his originals. You see, my great-aunt used to be – how, should I put this – involved with Picasso. That means she had sex with him. Several times.”
Junior appraiser: “Right. But it doesn’t look like a typical Picasso. Which of his periods do you contend it’s from?”
Richard: Imagine, sex with Pablo!
Michael Kelly: He’s a mid-forties clerk at a hobby shop. He’s quite intense, and doesn’t handle it well when his items are valued at lower than he expected. He considers himself a yard sale connoisseur and still lives with his parents. He struggles in social situations, and the only people who enjoy his company are in his regular board game group. Potential for a spin-off involving regular attendees of the local yard sale circuit. Another spin-off potential with the board game group.
“You said no early birds! Well according to my digital clock, which I checked against the Master Clock just this morning, it’s only 8:57am, and I see several perusers. Do you not respect the amount of time it takes for the hyperfine radiation given off by a cesium-133 atom at its ground state as it transitions between energy levels? If so, then leave the “No Early Birds” off your sign!
Rita Moreno: She’s loud and outgoing and always running around making deals with the other people. She used to be a local newsperson until she was found dipping into the petty cash to feed her gambling addiction. She forces her passive husband to accompany her at the events, but she never lets him gets a word in.
“Don’t worry about him! He’ll be fine! Now – I’ll trade you this Roman hammer for three of those coins with the wrong year printed on them. Wait, where did you get that sweater? Is that – hold on, I think I see Richard. Richard! You still owe me from Monday!”
Aidy Bryant: She’s the overly exuberant host who is genuinely rooting for every item to be valuable. She moved to town for this job a few months ago, once her aunt and uncle opened the permanent appraisal area.
“What a great, sunny day we have today! I have a feeling we’re going to make a lot of people very pleased before close. You can smell the value! Smell it, it smells gr-r-reat! Some people ask if Trevor can smell value? He uses all five senses, plus a bonus appraisal sense that only nine people alive can attest to having. This is water, and we’re all swimming in it!”
Trevor Heins²: He’s the fourteen-year-old lead appraiser. Intelligent beyond his years, he is the youngest Master Appraiser ever, and up to this point he’s never been wrong with one of his valuations. He’s direct and doesn’t waste time connecting with the item owners. His wealthy parents own the building which houses the appraisal area, but they’re never around so he essentially runs the place.
“Your grandmother lied to you. It’s worth no more than six dollars. Please don’t cry. Here’s ten dollars. Keep the change. And actually, keep the weird tin too.”
¹ [working title]
² [the version of him in Wonder Showzen]