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A Mainer's view of Down East Dickering'

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A new series filmed in Maine has aired its first episode on the History channel. At first glance, 'Down East Dickering' is nothing new. It fits perfectly into the vein of regionally based reality shows like 'Ax Men' and 'Alaska the Last Frontier.' Except it's not in Oregon or Alaska. It's filmed in Maine, and that is reason to view it differently. As a native of the state, my reactions watching the show ranged from 'That's a Mainah,' to 'You've got to be kidding me.' It's not a terrible show over all, but the filmmakers definitely showcased -- and maybe even exaggerated -- the odd and unusual of Vacationland. 

In case you are unfamiliar with the show, 'Down East Dickering' follows colorful characters of Maine as they buy, swap, and sell enough goods to make a profit. The show's unlikely star is the Uncle Henry's, a publication some view as a companion guide. The main characters of the show read it cover to cover, then head out on expeditions to find goods they think will be valuable enough to resell. Think of it as 'American Pickers' with a redneck twist. 

 

There are a fair amount of things that they got surprisingly right about Maine. Some people do read the Uncle Henry's religiously. People from our state do use the term dooryard. The show's title as well rings true to Maine jargon. 

There were a few times during the show that gave me reason to roll my eyes, however. I understand that the makers of the show have artistic license to make the show interesting, but I also think that they should strive to make it believable. For example, two of the main characters go by the names Codfish and Yummy. Am I buying that they go my these monikers in real life? Not for a minute. 

Another unbelievable moment in the show was when a sign warned them 'Beware of the crazy Indian!' I'm not saying that the filmmakers were calling names here. The sign was old, and it was unclear on where it came from. I am questioning them running the footage immediately before we see the individual. It defines the man shown in a light that is not flattering. The person shown in the show seemed to be Native American and sane to me, but that's just what I saw. It also looked as if he was made to hold a ferret the entire time, I'm guessing to add exotic emphasis. 

The main characters themselves, although strange, are at least made to look business savvy. They strategize, run numbers, trade creatively and generally do a great job at dickering. After all, that's what the show is about. 

It's hard to say where the show will end up at this point. I don't think it will be the next 'Duck Dynasty,' but it could catch on. 

'Down East Dickering' airs new episodes Wednesdays at 10 p.m. on the History channel. Content can also be found online at history.com/shows/down-east-dickering.

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