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Pawn Stars: Season 1
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Pawn Stars: Season 1
Pawn Stars, a kind of blue-collar Antiques Roadshow, is a keeper. This top-rated History Channel series is reality TV done right; a fascinating subject, lightning-in-a-bottle casting, and you don't feel like you have to give yourself a Karen Silkwood-like scrubbing after you've watched it. The setting is the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop in Las Vegas, where "everything has a story and a price." The bustling establishment is run by Rick Harrison along with Old Man, his crusty 68-year-old father with "30 blankety-blank years in the business," and Rick's son, Corey, a.k.a. Big Hoss. They look like they could be extras from Sons of Anarchy, but Rick, especially, is a personable proprietor with a seemingly inexhaustible knowledge of everything from military memorabilia to vintage portable typewriters (although a potent drinking game could be devised for whenever he says, "I'm calling in an expert" to authenticate an item). In these inaugural episodes, the focus is more on items brought in for sale rather than to be pawned. "You never know what's going to come through that door," Rick states. "If I can make money off of it, I'll buy anything." Among the most intriguing treasures for consideration are an 1890 Hotchkiss cannon, a West Point cadet jacket, a World War II uniform, an original Kiss pinball machine, a Civil War cavalry sword, and even a box of Playboy magazines. Onscreen graphics relate history and trivia pertaining to each item, and the drama unfolds in the negotiations. "It's rare and that's cool," Rick says of the cannon, "and it's rare and that's expensive." Some deals are done easier than others. "I've got $1,000 in my pocket instead of an old sword in the closet," says one satisfied customer. As for the pinball machine owner who vowed he would not take less than $3,000, he tilts at $2,000. Where Pawn Stars seems less than authentic are the behind-the-counter subplots. In one episode, Corey bets Old Man that he can sell a Rolex for more than $4,800. If he loses, he must wear a suit and tie to work for three weeks. In the opener, Old Man must go to an eye doctor after underpricing a valuable coin. Most of the laughs are at the expense of another employee, Chumlee, Big Hoss's childhood friend who seems more a mascot. "He's a village idiot," Big Hoss states, "but he's my village idiot." Adding to this set's value are entertaining and instructive bonus features, including "Real or Fake," which offers pointers on how to determine if silver, gold, and a Rolex watch are authentic. There's no question about Pawn Stars, though. As a look at American counter culture, it's the real deal. --Donald Liebenson
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Top Customer Reviews
Every one should be a pawn star!
Would like to get further seasons.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Rick Harrison is the main character of the show. He is a competent and likable guy who laughs at his own jokes. He has the most screen time each show. Often people have items that he does not know the value of, and they have to call an expert in to appraise it. Rick has a bunch of experts who probably wish they never met him because he constantly calls them, but that is what makes the show interesting. The funniest thing is that the expert then appraises the item right in front of the seller. Rick's negotiation style is to listen to what the customer wants and then counter with 40% of whatever they want. So if they want $100 he offers $40 and then talks about how the item is deficient, how he has to make a profit, blah blah blah. Then whether he buys the item or not they have a cut away interview with him and he'll say, "This time the price wasn't right so we couldn't make a deal."
Old Man is the patriarch of the family and by far the best negotiator. It does not matter what price the seller wants for an item, Old Man acts like he is offended, surprised, and automatically says "no way." He is such a tough bargainer that I don't think I have ever seen him actually buy anything. If it wasn't for Corey and Rick they would have an empty store. Also, he keeps a big calendar by his desk so we know exactly the month of the show, so the Christmas show was going on and his calendar said "October".
Corey is the youngest and likable enough because he has so much disdain for the people who come in his pawn shop. He is perpetually buying things that need massive restoration. A guy will come in with a big block of aluminum with fiber glass sticking out of it and say it was an expensive plane that caught on fire and that if restored will be worth major money and he wants $4000.00 for it. Then Corey will buy it for $5,000 and then we get the drama with his dad, Rick. Then Rick will be in a cut away interview and act upset and be like "Corey needs to learn that he can't buy crap like this." And then Corey will say, "But it will be worth a million dollars once we get it restored." Lulz. I like the restorers though especially if it's a boat because then we see Bill the boat restorer who talks funny. He will say: "Dish boat ish a clashick, back in da day dish was cutting edgish."
Chumlee is reality TV comic relief driftwood. People will bring in an item that is old like a record player or something and he will make the same Old Man is Old joke. "Hey Old Man, this guy has..um... your ... um.. childhood ipod here...huh huh." Anyway, best show on TV, check it out.
I love Rick even more now. :)
The show is such an interesting sociological study for so many different reasons. There's an awesome and interesting family dynamic between hardworking Rick and "The Old Man" and the always-had-everything-handed-to-him third generation son "Corey." I've read that many successful family businesses die off at the third generation. Seems the first generation (Hard-working Dad) and the second generation (Hard-working son Rick) remember those lean years and tough times and appreciate the value of a dollar and the joy and satisfaction of success. And then when the third generation comes along, all they've ever known is abundance and having everything they ever wanted dropped in their avoirdupois lap.
Enter stage left Corey.
It's fun to watch the show, but I cringe when he comes on screen. It pains me to hear how he talks to "The Old Man." Maybe he's a swell, upstanding, hardworking kid and the bratty kid spiel is part of the "show." I hope so. Gosh, I hope so.
Aside from that, it's a fascinating insight into the hidden treasures stashed inside American attics and garages. It also proves that you should be careful about tossing out "old junk." Several times, visitors to the shop explain that they found their treasure in a trash pile somewhere.
Excellent show, and presents a piece of American history in a most intriguing way! And personally, the first season is the best. There's a naturalness in that first season that I especially love.
Pawn Shop is funny to watch because the family who run the shop are so amusing. Best though is (for us as parents) one learns a lot while watching. All kinds of things come into the pawn shop everyday. These guys know a lot about history and so we, the viewers, learn about antique coins, WW1 uniforms, ancient weapons....just to name a fraction of all the stuff that comes into the pawn shop. If no one knows about an item a prospective seller brings in, the pawn shop guys will call in experts and we all learn something together in a really fun way. LOVE THIS SHOW.