Saturdays at 10:00 pm on TLC
.5 out of 5 Stars


Saturdays at 10 p.m. on TLC

With the uncalled-for dollar sign in the name, “Auctioneer$” has clearly elevated the tacky factor of TLC’s reality show lineup to an all-time high. With highlights like a fake Tiger Woods golf ball and an ugly dollhouse, the thrill factor is less than stimulating to say the least.

This latest reality drama tries to put a new spin on the “Antiques Roadshow” formula by taking you behind the scenes at Phoenix-based auction and appraisal company Auction Systems, going from initial meeting with the seller to final buy at the auction. But instead of the honest, upfront and slow footage that makes “Roadshow” at least mildly charming, “Auctioneer$” tries to be exhilarating and fast-paced. Its quick cuts, obnoxious graphics, sound effects, silly items and excessive commentary ultimately make the show more annoying than anything else.

To make matters worse, the buyers and sellers on “Auctioneer$” are weird far beyond the point of being entertaining. Jason, the VP at Auction Systems and the show’s host, is so into his job it’s actually quite creepy. To him, everything really is thrilling, dramatic and intense — you’ll probably think you’re watching a man on speed (and maybe you are). Also, the people filling the auction seats seem just plain dumb. One guy was bidding upwards of $500 on a dollhouse he had no purpose for. Another lady tried to express her fashion sense by winning the bidding war for a shoddy Princess Diana wedding dress knock-off — a perfect match with her gold-sequined yoga pants and bright red lipstick. Finally, the man who was trying to sell his Tiger Woods golf ball found out the ball was a fake and completely lost it, flipping off the camera and swearing up a storm — totally uncalled for, yet typical of reality TV drama. These people were dying to get on TV somehow and “Auctioneer$” was their way to do it – even if they did have to purchase some junk along the way.

And the show needed some endearing characters to redeem it from the depravity of its concept. It’s totally infuriating to watch Auction System employees frequently talk about the tactics employed to get as much money as possible for pieces of utter crap, then actually scam people into bidding large sums of money on the junk. In a slow economy where some people don’t have enough money to buy food, no one wants to watch dim-witted people waste their precious money on someone else’s crap.

As TLC’s latest reality show exhibits, the channel must clearly be hurting for the next big winner like “Jon & Kate Plus 8.” “Auctioneer$” attempts this by trying to take a successful PBS show and make it young and fresh, which is an obviously impossible act of desperation. People love — or love to hate — Jon and Kate, but there’s no place for anything but hatred for the useless items and people on “Auctioneer$.”

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