Before 2009, a television show about a pawn shop wouldn’t sound that interesting. Who would want to watch people sell their stuff for money? Now a show about a Las Vegas family-owner pawn shop called Pawn Stars is actually one of the best things to watch on TV. It’s rare opportunity to be entertained and educated by a reality program these days, but season one of Pawn Stars did just that. But could season two of the series move away from all the typical scripted reality television and focus more on the fascinating pawn business?
The Gold & Silver Pawn Shop in Vegas is run by three generations of the Harrison family, including Rick Harrison, Rick’s father “The Old Man,” and Rick’s son “Big Hoss” Corey. Corey’s friend “Chumlee” also helps out, but he mainly causes trouble. In each episode, there three or four people who come into the pawn shop wanting to sell or loan something to this pawn shop for cash. They see everything from guns and military memorabilia to antique cars, planes, hot-air balloons, and even more random and weirder stuff.
Season two is pretty much more of the same as season one. That is both a good and bad thing. What still makes this show interesting is learning about all the items that come into the shop. Whether the Harrisons know immediately what something is worth or they have to call in experts to tell them more about an item, the educational part of this series is the best part. Now that the shop is more well-known to America, we get to see more odd, unique, and sometimes weird things that people think might be worth something. It still is fun to listen to the bargaining tactics between the Harrisons and the person looking to sell them their stuff. It might sound cruel, but it’s especially entertaining to watch the reactions of people who find out that their items are either fake or not worth as much as they hoped it was.
Once again, though, the unique unique personalities of the guys running the shop are the real reason why this series ultimately works. But in season two some of the things they say to each other sound more like it’s coming off a script and starts to feel repetitive. This includes the “old man” jokes towards the elder Richard Harrison, the “bald” jokes towards the younger Rick, and the “you need learn some more about the business” jokes toward the even younger Corey. You also have to seriously wonder if Chumlee is really as dumb in real life as he is portrayed on television. All of the staged fighting and scripted reality antics that the producers hope will make these guys more likable could easily be replaced by segments on the crazy people who come into the shop to sell their stuff to begin with. That being said, you also get the feeling that the viewers of this series are really missing out on seeing the craziest of crazies that live in Las Vegas and surely want to sell anything to make a fast dollar.
Season two of Pawn Stars is still entertaining to watch, but there is still room for improvement. The reality show hijinks still hold this show back from really rising above all the rest. If they could give more time to some of the crazier characters that end up in the shop selling whatever, and maybe throw in a few more recap episodes from time to time to tell viewers what the items that bought actually sold for, then Pawn Stars could be THE greatest reality television show ever.
Episode 1 – Fired Up
The pawn shop staff tries to verify that an airplane propeller is linked to Charles Lindbergh; Rick has his doubts about the authenticity of a 1750s flintlock musketoon; a man brings in a key chain that he believes belonged to musician Willie Nelson.
Episode 2 – Sharks and Cobras
Rick takes a gamble on a World War II-era chronometer, while another customer could make out big with what he believes is an authentic, rare 1965 Shelby Cobra body frame.
Episode 3 – Old Man’s Booty
As one customer piques the Old Man’s interest by bringing in a locked treasure chest, Rick and Big Hoss secretly take his prized 1966 Chrysler Imperial to have it restored as a 50th wedding anniversary gift, though they tell him that they sold it to a customer.
Episode 4 – A Shot and a Shave
Rick is offered a patchwork quilt made from celebrity autographs; an 1845 Harpers Ferry musket; a scientist is selling ATM receipts from the South Pole; barber chair from Sweeney Todd.
Episode 5 – Hot Air Buffoon
Corey buys a huge 12-passenger hot air balloon; classic 1960 Gibson Les Paul guitar; Prohibition period medicinal whiskey.
Episode 6 – Steaks at Stake
Old Man puts up a steak dinner to the person who sells the most in the shop.
Episode 7 – A Christmas Special
In this clip episode, as Rick, Corey and Chumlee prepare to be taken out by a grumpy Richard to a surprise location to celebrate Christmas, they reminisce about the purchases they’ve made over the course of the past year.
Episode 8 – Secret Santa
Santa Claus makes an appearance at Christmastime; Revolutionary War period currency possibly printed by Benjamin Franklin; battle-ax believed to be from the 15th century.
Episode 9 – Pawn Shop Pinot
Chumlee wants to try creating Pawn Shop Pinot using a 19th-century wine maker purchased by Rick and the Old Man; cannon used to signal ships; a semi-truck ranks as the priciest item ever at the shop.
Episode 10 – Bikes and Blades
Rick has a chance to buy a quartermaster’s spyglass that might be from a World War II ship; Corey contemplates buying a 1996 Harley Road King motorcycle customized with a pink flame paint job; a man hopes to sell smuggled WWII knives.
Episode 11 – Rick’s Bad Day
The guys try to establish the authenticity of a theater playbill from the night President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated; pair of halberds; Rick takes a gamble on an elegant perpetual motion clock.
Episode 12 – Wheels
Items brought to the shop include a a Dutch East India ship’s bell supposedly from a 1602 shipwreck, an early 1900s roulette wheel, a 1970s Indian racing mini motorcycle, and a pair of Scottish daggers whose owner claims are 200 years old.
Episode 13 – Chum Goes AWOL
Items brought to the shop include a 1901 Edison phonograph, an AYT XP 2200 speedboat in need of restoration, a collection of gold demonic figurines painted black, a 1922 antique savings book, and a Binion’s playing card vending machine. Chumlee gets sent to Richard’s house for a simple errand, but takes his time doing it.
Episode 14 – Shocking Chum
Items brought to the shop include a 1948 portable electric shock therapy machine, a bag filled with antique stamps, a Yamaha Rhino, and a bag of silver 1702 rupees discovered as a sunken treasure in 1961 by Arthur C. Clarke that is known as the Taj Mahal Treasure.
Episode 15 – Pezzed Off
Items brought to the shop include an 18th Century French double-barrel musket coach gun, a collection of Pez dispensers from the 1960s and 70s, a 1932-S Washington Quarter and a U.S. Navy uniform whose time period of origin becomes the point of a bet between Rick and the Old Man.
Episode 16 – Tattoos and Tantrums
Items brought to the shop include an 1888 McClellan saddle purported to have been used by Kevin Costner in the film Dances with Wolves, an 1886 Winchester rifle, and a large, early 1900s cast iron sheet metal shear. In addition, Corey buys a tattoo kit that he then takes to a tattoo shop to trade for a tattoo, much to the irritation of his father and grandfather.
Episode 17 – Guns and Rangers
Items brought to the shop include a 1987 NASCAR trophy that was presented to Jeff Gordon, antique portraits of Napoleon Bonaparte and Joséphine de Beauharnais, an antique matchlock key gun dating from circa the 17th century, an ivory tusk that Rick immediately rejects, and a life-size, fiberglass Power Ranger whose owner refurbished and outfitted with a cell phone charger after finding it in a dumpster.
Episode 18 – Pinball Wizards
Items brought to the shop include a 1973 Bally’s “Odds & Events” pinball machine whose owner presents it, disassembled, to Corey and a surprisingly knowledgeable Chumlee, a 1924 St. Gaudens Double Eagle gold coin, a Segway i2 whose owner wishes to upgrade to an offroad model, an early 20th Century portable grammophone and a couch shaped like the rear end of a Shelby Cobra.
Episode 19 – Chopper Gamble
Items brought to the shop include a 1768 colonial lottery ticket signed by George Washington, a pair of antique Plug 8 handcuffs and a set of five 1967 Pete Rose baseball cards. Rick also buys a 1992 crashed Schweizer helicopter in need of restoration, whose space needs are a concern for the Old Man.
Episode 20 – Spooning Paul Revere
Items brought to the shop include a handmade, Anton Schneider cuckoo clock from the 1800s, an antique thermometer from the 1800s that features the Celsius, Fahrenheit and Réaumur scales, a silver table spoon said to have been made by Paul Revere, and a vintage Kam-Act MK-2 archery bow.
Episode 21 – Off the Wagon
Items brought to the shop include an 1890 Auto Wheel coaster wagon, a Civil War saber believed to have belonged to a Confederate officer, a cast iron, Kelsey Excelsior printing press from the 1800s and a rare 1942 Saroléa motorcycle that Corey tries to convince Ricks can turn a profit if restored.
Episode 22 – Fortune in Flames
Items brought to the shop include a World War I U.S. military flamethrower, a 1963 Volkswagen Baja Bug, and a Manhattan Firearms pepper-box revolver from the mid-1800s. Corey and Chumlee also investigate a gypsy fortune teller machine whose owner is auctioning it off, and refuses to sell it prior to auction.
Episode 23 – Backroom Brawl
Items brought to the shop include a pocket-sized, antique ivory sundial believed to be from the 16th Century, and an album of original 1963 Jimmy Hoffa photographs. Corey and Chumlee also appraise a 1964 Midway “Rifle Champ” sharpshooting arcade game. Rick and the Old Man’s complaints to Corey about the disorganized back room, where thousands of pawned items items are kept, leads to the discovery of a bronze, 1986 art deco statue by Erté called La Danseuse (The Dancer), which appears to be valuable.
Episode 24 – Big Guns
Items brought to the shop include a pair of scaled up, World War II model training rifles, a 1965 Gilbert Erector Set, two Soviet launch keys whose owner claims were used to launch ICBMs, a rare, 1920s Gibson banjo ukulele and a 1940 steel Supermen of America membership ring.
Episode 25 – Flight of the Chum
Items brought to the shop include a Perseus statue by Émile Louis Picault, whose owner says is an 1888 original, a watchmaker’s staking kit, a rare, 1950s Las Vegas Club $5 casino chip and a jersey autographed by Lou Gehrig. Rick and Chumlee also investigate a vintage Schweizer SGS 2-33 glider that needs restoration.
Episode 26 – Bumpy Ride
Items brought to the shop include Ronald Dunbar and General Johnson’s 1970 Grammy Award for Best Rhythm and Blues Song, a 1930s Coca-Cola salesman’s sampler cooler, a 1676 Spanish silver coin, a rickshaw once used by Siegfried and Roy’s tiger show and a 1777 French musket.
Episode 27 – Helmet Head
Items brought to the shop include a 2006 NBA Championship Ring, a highly collectible 1964 Austin Healey, and an extremely old and rare diving helmet from the 1800’s.
Episode 28 – Bow Legged
Items brought to the shop include a pirate’s peg leg, a brand new archery bow, and a full size, hand carved, wooden motorcycle.
Episode 29 – Hell Week
Items brought to the shop include a Fairbanks Morse & Co. coffee grinder from the 1800s, a 1967 The Rat Patrol lunchbox, a hard-carved, antique Native American tobacco store statue, and an 8mm home movie of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, dated between 1939 and 1945. When the subject of Corey and Chumlee’s weight comes up, Rick challenges them to an obstacle course, with the loser required to buy lunch for a week.
Episode 30 – Zzzzzz
Items brought to the shop include a colt revolver, a coffee machine, presidential pins and a spinning wheel.
Episode 31 – The British Are Coming
Items brought to the shop include a 1946 Seeburg jukebox, a 1775 Massachusetts war bond and a 1965 Chevy Impala.
Episode 32 – License to Pawn
Items brought to the shop include a script to the James Bond movie Goldfinger, an 1862 George Washington postage stamp, and a 10th anniversary edition 1980 Datsun ZX.
The video is given in widescreen color with an aspect ratio of 1.78:1. The transfer is great with colors generally looking bright and vivid details everywhere. It’s pretty much the same quality you saw on TV. But there are no major problems here.
The audio included is available in English Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo sound. The dialogue and music come out loud and clear. There are subtitles available in English as well. There are no major problems either, and the quality is about the same as you heard on television.
Additional Footage –
This is 32 minutes worth of scenes that didn’t make the final cut of the season. Well actually it’s a combination of deleted scenes and “behind-the-scenes” interviews with the Harrisons. There is a lot of interesting stuff to watch here. Definitely must-watch. It should be noted, though, that you can see the same stuff on History.com.
If you have to pick one reality show to watch, Pawn Stars might be it. It’s still interesting to learn about all the unique and historic items that come through this pawn shop. So give it a rental or a watch on The History Channel at the very least. Fans of the show probably won’t the lack of extras, but still this set is worth owning.
A&E Home Entertainment presents Pawn Stars: Season Two. Created by Brent Montgomery, Colby Gaines, David McKillop, Mary Donahue, and Christopher Bray. Starring Rick Harrison, Richard “The Old Man” Harrison. Corey “Big Hoss” Harrison, and Austin “Chumlee” Russell. Running time: 704 minutes. Rated: NOT RATED. Released on DVD: August 24, 2010.
I'm not embarrassed to say that my favorite television show of all-time is The O.C. I live by the motto "you can't fight fate!" More importantly, I watch WAY too much television, but I do so for the benefit of everyone reading this now. So to my mom and my wife, I say thanks for reading! To everyone else that might stumble across this, remember TiVo should be your best friend!
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