Pawn Stars

Firstly, the title of this show gets you in trouble in the Boston area, because when you say it you sound like you’re talking about some other kind of star. Still, this is another TV show that I like to file under the “oddly compelling” department. I mean, that’s the best kind of compelling!

The show is centered around a pawn shop owner (Rick Harrison) and his family-run pawn shop outside Las Vegas. It stars Rick, his father Richard (colorfully referred to as The Old Man), his son Corey (nicknamed Big Hoss), and occasionally Corey’s dimwitted friend Chumlee. As the boss of the pawn shop, Rick’s usually the one starting and closing the deals, though the Old Man and Corey have their fair share as well.

Aside from a colorful cast of characters, the primary reason I watch this show is the sheer variety of stuff that comes through the doors. It’s a bit of a genius show for History Channel – there’s a ton of historical stuff that’s both priceless and worthless that walks through the doors. Rick always seems to have an expert he can get when necessary. This is obviously due to two factors – he’s got to have some on tap from years of working in the biz, and I’m sure History Channel gets him whoever is necessary if his normal list of contacts can’t suss something out.

I’d say it’s like Antiques Roadshow, but with an attitude. It’s quite funny, for example, when Chumlee gets a verbal beatdown for his mental foibles. He’s Corey’s friend and they clearly have a tight bond, but they’re not above putting him in his place when he says something dumb.

I have to say that I love it when people bring in things like antique cannons or medieval handcuffs. A show just about people offing their electronics or jewelry would be pretty boring. Seeing all of the strange and unique stuff is the draw, and I can’t see them running out of things for a long time to come. One thing I wish they would do is show more of the buyer’s perspective. Rick is a great negotiator and quite knowledgeable, which makes the bargaining scenes quite interesting. Seeing it from the opposite side happens rarely, and it’d be interesting to see some of the more esoteric things in the shop (like the Death Clock) get picked up and talked about and possibly sold.

I’d say if you like shows about old, cool stuff, Pawn Stars is a good watch. At first I thought “Why is this on History Channel” until I actually watched some episodes and realized the sheer amount of history that can go through in people’s quest for money to blow on the Las Vegas strip.

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