American Pickers revolves around two “gifted” pickers: Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz. The thesis of the show is that these two men comb the back roads of the Midwest searching for hidden treasures and collectible items. The people they encounter along the way are far from garden variety with the majority of them having stacks upon stacks of junk cascading out of their property. These two men barter and haggle over pricing on many different things with each item earning them a considerable profit. The question arises through these exchanges, does morality come into play?
The two leads are relatively uncharismatic; Mike is slightly more comfortable on camera than Frank. However, the majority of their conversations in their van are cringe-worthy. The typical episode involves Frank and Mike going “freestyling” or going to leads that their secretary sets up for them. “Freestyling” is when Frank and Mike drive around areas until they see a house that catches their eye. After they proposition the owner of the property, they begin the picking and deal making. Once they obtain the pieces that they are seeking, audiences are given a breakdown of the cost of the piece and what they value it at.
The problem is in the approach Frank and Mike take towards the junk owners. Audiences can’t help but feel like the original owners of the pieces are being taken advantage of sometimes. However, Frank and Mike do usually offer a fair price and explain why and how they offered the prices. Both of them are well educated in antiques and are exposing a niche market in collectible items. Overall, the show has an Antiques Roadshow feel and it also has an addictive quality to it.
American Pickers is presented in 1.33:1 fullscreen. The transfer is clean with no grain or pixilation. The colors look dark and rich. The quality of the picture is top notch and the presentation is at par with most television shows of late.
The 2.0 Dolby Digital track is serviceable. All of the dialogue is clear. All of the exchanges between property owners and Frank and Mike are audible. Whenever the owner is inaudible subtitles are provided. The mix is decent and should be all you can expect.
The show capitalizes on the popularity of Antiques Roadshow and provides an entertaining forty minutes of television. Worth a watch if you’re a closet deal maker or potential picker.