Americans spend $75 billion dollars a year on their hobbies. But these men have gone too far and are in need of professional help. Dave, an action figure junkie from Toms River, New Jersey owns over 3,000 figures, worth upwards of $60,000. He spends 30 hours a week playing with his toys, building his collection and making toy review YouTube videos.
His wife Barbara thinks he’s married to the toys more than her. They have two young daughters and no savings. Dave often tells Barbara to cut back on their food and clothing budget, so he can spend more on toys. Barbara and Dave’s mom Sandy want Dave to stop buying action figures and focus on the family. Barbara enlists the help of Dr. Jeremy Spiegel, a board certified psychiatrist, to confront Dave about his out-of-control hobby. Dave reacts angrily to the intervention and almost karate chops Jeremy when he first approaches him.
Dave eventually calms down and guides Jeremy through his ‘collection cave.’ Jeremy encourages him to sell some toys to help his family out of their financial bind. Dave reveals he’s bought more toys that day and hidden them in the trunk of his car. Barbara is furious with Dave, who storms off to his room like a child. Jeremy has Barbara place Dave’s toys around the house and in his favorite stores, to show how much it rules his family’s life. Feeling cornered, Dave confesses that his collecting stems from growing up in a house without many toys. He yearned for approval from his father, who played favorites with Dave’s brother. Realizing he’s favoring the toys over his family and that his marriage is in trouble, Dave agrees to sell some toys to get their finances back on track.
Alex Condon has 62,000 baseball cards, all of the same player – the little known Andy Van Slyke. At 39, Alex is living in his mother’s home in Bayville, New Jersey. He has covered the walls of his childlike bedroom with the collection. Alex has been working on-and-off at Toys R Us since he was 16 and he is still not a manager. His mother and brother want him to grow up and move out, so they invite therapist Tom Kersting to turn Alex’s world upside down. Tom discovers that Alex has been back living with his mother for 6 years and his ‘temporary stay’ is beginning to look permanent. Alex opens up about his father abandoning his family when he was only 4 yrs old. With no one to look up to, Andy Van Slyke became his hero. Tom invites a surprise guest to the house – the hero himself, Andy Van Slyke.
A dazed Alex plays catch with Andy, as Tom challenges him to confront his feelings with meeting his idol. With Andy’s assistance, Alex agrees to let go of the collection and its hold over his life. Alex and Tom burn a set of Andy Van Slyke cards and take down the rest of the collection. Alex is now determined to move out on his own and reclaim his life.
Tune in to Hardcore Hobbies tonight at midnight.