Words failed to completely describe the gigantic mess the producers of A&E’s "Hoarders" found when they arrived at the home of the Kaneohe family they planned to help.
There were so many belongings on either side of the front door, it was impassable. Entry into the home owned by Kerry Luke and his wife, Teri Carvalho Luke, was gained through a sliding door on the side of the house that opened to a path winding through a maze of possessions heaped 5 feet tall. (See photos of the Lukes’ home at www.staradvertiser.com.)
Things stretched in every direction of the three-bedroom home. In the kitchen, stuff was stacked nearly 3 feet high on every counter. The worst of it was in the children’s rooms.
"My daughter’s room, my son’s room, you couldn’t see the floor," said Kerry Luke.
"In my son’s room, it was 2 to 3 feet high. It was like walking into a swamp of clutter."
But it was the stuff of perfect TV for "Hoarders," which will open its third season at 6 p.m. tomorrow on A&E with an episode featuring the Hawaii family. The psychologist assigned to counsel the family was so appalled, she reported them to the state’s Child Welfare Services.
"She said it was an unsafe condition for our children and they should not be allowed to stay here," said Luke, a 55-year-old civilian contract specialist with the Army. "I literally had a breakdown. Tears. It was a shock."
Frequently disturbing, the series sheds light on the serious disorder of compulsive hoarding. Each one-hour episode follows a team of experts, from mental health counselors to cleaning crews, as it works to instill order in lives that are out of control.
The show’s psychologist, Robin Zasio, told the couple their home was the worst the show had encountered. When she called state social workers about the situation, she was able to keep them from removing the couple’s children by promising to have the home cleared, Zasio said.
"Unfortunately, in situations like that where the kids do not have access to their beds or food, it is considered to be neglect," Zasio said. "It was really hard because they were not neglectful people."
Workers filled a pair of 40-foot containers with items, most of which were donated to charity.
Carvalho Luke, a 48-year-old registered nurse at Kaiser Permanente Medical Center, takes much of the blame for the hoarding.
She said she was a shopper who bought more than she had room to store, so things piled up. But she did not neglect her children, she said.
"People who know me will know that is not me," she said. "They are going to see how things were at the house but not be judging me for that. Those people truly know who I am."
HAWAII’S MAGGIE Q, the butt-kicking bad girl from "Live Free or Die Hard," stars in the new CW series "Nikita," which premieres at 8 p.m. Thursday. Inspired by the 1990 French film "La Femme Nikita," it’s a Warner Bros. TV remake of the popular story about a U.S. assassin who goes rogue.
The actress has been featured prominently in the show’s advertising. Her fashion statement: High-caliber automatic weapons go well with bikinis and tight leather pants.
"IN THE WAKE OF GIANTS," a film that examines efforts by the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary to rescue whales tangled in fishing nets, recently won a film award at the BLUE Ocean Film Festival in Monterey, Calif. Much of the footage was shot within arm’s reach of the whales, which can weigh up to 40 tons. …
And that’s a wrap. …
Mike Gordon is the Star-Advertiser’s film and television writer. His "Outtakes" column appears Sundays. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.