American Picking on Pawn Stars
Apr 11, 2013 | 2533 views | 0 0 comments | 20 20 recommendations | email to a friend | print
I have written columns about two good shows on The History Channel - American Pickers and Pawn Stars. I love these guys! But even allegedly unscripted reality shows have their trite aspects, and certain segments grow tiresome. Jumping the shark happens with them as surely as it does sitcoms such as Happy Days.

If I hear American Pickers Mike Wolfe say "honey badger" or "honey hole" one more time, I'm going to claw his leg like a honey badger in a honey hole. And that goes for Frank Fitz and his "bundling," which he says more than the endless commercials your cable TV company has extolling the virtues of their combined cable, internet and telephone services.

The plot contrivances they employ to add drama to the shows is yet another problem. In American Pickers, they suddenly "hired" Danielle's mother to be the human resources department for their previously three person shop. Who writes this stuff? And how does it ever get past anyone saying "come on, son, that is idiotic"?

American Pickers is an interesting show because it highlights the true American treasures out there wasting away, waiting for someone like Mike Wolfe or Frank Fitz to buy it and get it in the hands of someone who will restore it and make it sizzle again. Stick with that core value and avoid the silly shtick.

Pawn Stars has more success marketing the dynamic between and among its stars. Rick Harrison is the central character who tells us "you never know WHAT is gonna come through that door." His dad, whom they call "the Old Man," is a character with truly interesting comments, behaviors, and actions. But Rick's son, Corey, is the classic case of the man born on third base who thinks he got there by hitting a triple. Corey's friend, the colorful Chumlee, holds his own and occasionally proves there is more to him than the show sometimes makes him out to be.

Pawn Stars has a coterie of qualified experts and they make the show. Their insights into famous signatures, art, guns, and other objects make the show well worthy of the moniker "history." I cannot say enough good things about them. But after they opine that an object is worth $12,000, you can run down to the Vegas strip and bet the Pawn Stars will only offer about half that, if that, and they'll never pay more than about 80% of that number.

Rick has to say "I have overhead to pay, I'll have to get this ready and give it a space in my shop and I may have to sit on this for months or years before selling it" at least once per show. While it is all true, it's also not a good reason to pay half of the value of the object, a value set by his own expert. Often, no sooner does he close the deal than he is bragging to the other Pawn Stars about making a great deal and counting the money he intends to make on the deal.

Rick loves important American historical documents and classic rock memorabilia. The Old Man loves silver, any kind of silver, and hoards precious metals. He also loves all thing Navy, as a former member. Corey's main theme is "I don't get no respect," apparently unaware that the late Rodney Dangerfield owns that the same way Steve Carrel owns "that's what she said."

I suppose familiarity does breed contempt, but I keep watching them - American Pickers and Pawn Stars. I was a History major and it remains a central interest in my life, so both these shows gets a big thumbs up for bringing American History to life.

© 2013, Jim “Pappy” Moore,

All Rights Reserved.

Jim “Pappy” Moore is a native son of East Texas who still makes the piney woods his home.
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