Hoarders ends its season with hope (mostly)

Hoarders ended its fourth season last night with its second episode this season that revisited hoarders featured on the show last season. For a show that is often criticized for being depressing, it offered a lot of hope of progress that can be made thanks to the series’ intervention and aftercare—although not all the outcomes were positive.

By the way, if you’d like a behind-the-scenes look at Hoarders, my Playboy feature story is now online. After or before you read, watch the Randyland episode, which I was on location for, hence my brief cameo.

Of the five follow-ups featured in Monday’s episode, most had positive results. Al, who refused aftercare, was the most notable exception; he said he felt violated, and said the show “should have been called Looters instead of Hoarders, definitely.” He’s still chosen his hoard over his young son, but seemed recommitted at the end of Cory’s visit.

Arline, who thought she’d just kick down a wall in case her house caught fire and whose sick husband slept in the car, was pissed, saying, “I lost a hell of a lot” and insisting the cleanup was a “massive betrayal.” Dr. Chabaud said, “She needed this for her very sense of safety and survival,” but was impressed that Arline’s husband was insisting that he wouldn’t let the hoard get to the degree it was before or he’d move out, which was definite progress.

The others were a lot more positive: Jim, who went dumpster diving with his granddaughter and had a yard of crap, finished cleaning his house and his family moved back in, and kept his house clean. He said that “30-plus years that changed in four days.” His entire family was in therapy. Glen, the man who had all the rats, had none in his house, which was still torn to pieces, but many of his rats have been adopted—including by Dr. Zasio—although 500 more need to be adopted; he was meeting with a therapist.

And Vula, whose house had piles of feces and dead cats, was entirely clean thanks to her son’s efforts. Unbelievably, she still doesn’t think she’s a hoarder.

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