“I’m Rick Harrison, and this is my pawn shop. I work here with my old man and my son, Big Hoss. Everything in here has a story … and a price. One thing I’ve learned after 21 years? You never know what is going to come through that door.”
Remember that PBS show where some old-stuff expert would come to your town and sift through a lot of junk that folks found in their basements or attics? Remember that he would give you a story about the items these people brought in? The idea was that once in a while someone discovered valuable treasure in those dusty rooms. Remember that show? This isn’t that show. It does, however, have some things in common with the old PBS program.
The Harrison family runs a Las Vegas pawn shop. That in itself is like striking gold. We have a lot of pawn shops in Tampa, but I have to figure if there’s a city in this nation that contains a large number of people hoping to turn their stuff into quick cash, it’s the gambling mecca out in the sands of Nevada. I’m sure that was one of the reasons History chose this particular pawn shop for their reality series Pawn Stars. And no, I don’t think it’s an accident that the name sounds a lot like Porn Stars. The other reason they chose this shop has to be the personalities of the Harrisons themselves. If these guys weren’t already real, somebody would have had to have made them up by now.
The main guy appears to be Rick. He’s a fast-talking negotiator who will end up taking your treasure and a finger or two with it if you don’t watch out. There’s no question this guy can deal. A lot of folks go up against him, perhaps because of seeing him on the show. But, you’ve got to be sharper than a lot of the knives and daggers that come into his shop in order to keep up with him. He has an inherent understanding of his opponent, and he knows that most ordinary folks aren’t even in the same league. And that’s what keeps them coming in. Everyone likes to think they can out-negotiate the best. And Rick is one of the best. Hell, I’d love to try my skills on the guy. The billboards won’t tell you, but going up against this guy is the biggest gamble in Vegas. Remember, the house always wins, and that goes for pawn shops as well as casinos.
Next you have “The Old Man”, Rick’s father. I get the idea he must have started the shop and owns the major share of the business. He might have been as sharp as his kid at one time. I don’t know. It seems that his purpose now is to play the store grouch. There’s little doubt he holds on to a nickel like a great white shark holding on to a baby seal.
Finally you have Big Hoss, Rick’s kid and his long-time friend Chumley. Both look like biker gang members. They have arms loaded with tattoos, and Big Hoss, Rick’s kid, drives a hefty bike. He’s obviously learning the trade on the job, which sometimes gets him in deep water with the elder two. Take, for instance, the time he buys a hot air balloon for a ton of money. Chumley, on the other hand is the target of everyone’s jokes. He appears to be a little simple, but I can’t tell if it’s an act or he really is that stupid. You have to ask yourself why such a shrewd businessman like Rick would keep this guy around. Chumley spends one episode making a house run for the old man into an all day screw-off day … on camera. So, he knows they’re going to find out. Maybe he has some pictures on one of the other guys. He’s also the guinea pig when the guys want to test out an old gun or something else that could backfire, literally.
The real stars of the show have to be the people and the stuff they bring in. An example of some of the stuff to come to the shop this season includes: a barber’s chair, keys to launch a Russian spacecraft, ancient handcuffs, trench knives from WWI, a crashed helicopter, a Grammy Award, and plenty of old guns and knives. Some of the stuff turns out to be fake. Often the boys aren’t about to give the guy what he thinks the stuff is worth.
Each half-hour episode is presented in its original broadcast aspect ratio of 1.78:1. Again History continues to release these shows in non-anamorphic presentation. What is with this? Enough, already. You have to readjust the video cropping after each of the 32 episodes. Can you say tedious? The picture looks about average for television. Sometimes there are 9 episodes a disc, so compression can be a problem. But, the truth is, that picture quality isn’t going to be an issue for fans of the show.
The Dolby Digital 2.0 is simply dialog.
I’m not a huge fan of reality television, but I do find this stuff much more entertaining than watching mellow-drama alliances and who’s getting voted off the island or kicked out of the house. Yes, some of this looks scripted. I do find it a little hard to believe all of these folks came in off the street. I wouldn’t be surprised if the show went out and found these folks, at least some of them. I’m sure they also get some compensation to sign their release papers. Does any of that take away from the fun? Not really. There may not be a ton of repeated viewing entertainment here, but Pawn Stars is certainly worth picking up, “if I can get it at the right price“.