DVD Review: Pawn Stars (Volume Three)

DVD Reviews, Reviews

What sets Pawn Stars at the top of the reality show mountain? Is it the thrill of haggling over the price? Nope. Is it the unique items brought into the Las Vegas store? Maybe. Is it the three generations of Harrison men behind the counter? That fact keeps grandma happy. The true secret of the show’s success is Chumlee. Corey Harrison’s best friend is almost hard to pin down when he shows up for work. Sometimes he’s lazy and looking for a secret nap spot in the store. Other times he’s the expert on the items brought in by a desperate customer. You never know what he’ll do on any given episode. Pawn Stars: Volume Three keeps up Chumlee’s unpredictable ways.

He shares a title role in “Chumlee’s Dummies.” The Old Man buys a pair of wild west display mannequins. Can the employee really stand the competition for his job of sitting around and doing nothing? Chumlee goes nuts when faced with a massive Transformers collection on “Phoning It In.” He sees more than meets his eyes. He proves he knows his Transformers. However even with a hot movie series, the toys have lost their value. A sad element of Pawn Stars is constantly being reminded that we’re stuck in a recession. Once hot items like baseball cards and fine art are selling at a fraction of their prices from the late ‘90s. There’s an entertaining element to the expression of a hopeful seller’s face when told they should have unloaded their Picasso a decade sooner. The only happy people are folks arriving with gold and silver items that they don’t mind having melted down. Those people rarely end up on camera.

What’s really weird is how people show up at the pawn store expecting to sell items that nobody would consider buying at such a location. A photographer shows up in “Deals From Hell.” He doesn’t merely sell his photos he took of Michael Jackson, but the rights to the negatives. He wants a huge fortune for them. Why would a pawn store handle such a deal? The guy talks of an amazing offer he once received from a collector. Why didn’t he take it? Why don’t some of these people put items up on the internet especially when they expect Rick Harrison to pay them retail value?

Seeing how the Pawn Stars airs on the History Channel, Rick is always eager to bring an expert by the store to check out the authenticity of items. This gives the show a chance to give more historical background than most of the History Channel’s other programs. The experts seem good at ferreting out forgeries, fakes and recreations. There are times when the Harrisons get taken. The most obvious moment is when Corey buys the contract for The Who to play Woodstock in “Message in a Bottle.” Not to spoil the episode, but anyone who collects The Who’s albums on vinyl will be screaming at the TV.

Most reality shows have a character like Chumlee. A rather dopey guy who hasn’t a clue about the place and barely wants to work. They provide a comic relief for their sloth-like antics. The difference is that Chumlee can work when he feels like it. He’s been learning more and more about the business. There’s more to Chumlee than being an overweight jester. He’s turning into the Mayor of the Las Vegas Strip on Pawn Stars: Volume Three.

The Episodes
“Trail Breaker,” “Top Secret,” “Whale of a Time,” “ Gold Diggers,” “Aw Shucks!,” “Deals From Hell,” “Chumlee’s Dummies,” “Strike, Spare, Boom,” “Message in a Bottle,” “Rough Riders,” “Phoning It In,” “Moon Walking,” “Peeping Pawn,” “Ace in the Hole,” “Double Trouble” and “Getting A Head.”

The video is 1.78:1 anamorphic. The transfers looks good since it’s shot HD. The audio is Dolby Digital Stereo. The sound levels are fine. They do a fine job with the microphones inside the store. The episodes have Closed Captions.

No bonus features are included.

Pawn Stars: Volume Three. is the first part of the third season. The show has been a cable smash because of the joy of watching Chumlee. He’s so deceptive in his ways. Is he the laziest man on TV or plotting a takeover of the pawn store? It’s hard to tell. This makes the show so addictive.

History Channel presents Pawn Stars: Volume 3 Starring: Rick Harrison, Richard Harrison, Corey Harrison and Chumlee . Boxset Contents: 16 episodes on 2 DVDs. Released on DVD: October 18, 2011. Available at Amazon.com.

Joe Corey is the writer and director of "Danger! Health Films" currently streaming on Night Flight and Amazon Prime. He's the author of "The Seven Secrets of Great Walmart People Greeters." This is the last how to get a job book you'll ever need. He was Associate Producer of the documentary "Moving Midway." He's worked as local crew on several reality shows including Candid Camera, American's Most Wanted, Extreme Makeover Home Edition and ESPN's Gaters. He's been featured on The Today Show and CBS's 48 Hours. Dom DeLuise once said, "Joe, you look like an axe murderer." He was in charge of research and programming at the Moving Image Archive.