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Posted December 15, 2009 by Tim Wells in TV

Reality TV Hangover, Courtesy of Pawn Stars

I am tired today. Really tired.

I consider myself an early riser. My alarm almost never gets a chance to go off. Today it did, and I didn’t even hear it. It took Dawn prodding me in the back to wake me from my sleep coma.

I wish I could say that my lethargy was the result of some form of extreme productivity on my part, but that just wouldn’t be true. I’m tired today because I stayed up too late watching reality television. That’s right. Reality TV. Never let it be said that I let a healthy dose of shame prevent me from telling a story that would likely result in a chance for others to mock me.

As I was flipping channels and contemplating the idea of turning in for the night, I happened upon the History Channel. I don’t remember the name of the show. Something about deep sea salvage. What initially caught my attention was TiVo’s description of the episode, which promised an opportunity to watch a diver suffer from decompression sickness. I mean, c’mon! I had to at least check it out.

As the salvage show ended (without the diver exploding from the inside-out… disappointing), I reached for the remote to turn off the TV for the night. But just as I was about to hit the power button, the next show started and I had to do a double take. The show was called Pawn Stars. My first thought was, “Morons. They spelled ‘porn’ wrong.” Then I realized what I was seeing. Dawn and I looked at each other, eyebrows raised, and I could tell she was thinking the same thing I was: Seriously? There’s a reality series based on the day-to-day operations of a Las Vegas pawn shop?

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. And he apparently deals in second-hand, semi-precious metals.

Now, before you rain down judgment on me, let me say that this is not your average Las Vegas pawn shop. Sure, they’ve got the intimidating, tattooed biker proprietors, almost certainly inbred employee, and supply of used firearms that would put the Militia of Montana to shame, but they…

OK, so it is your average Las Vegas pawn shop.

The show itself is basically a white trash version of Antiques Roadshow. People, desperate for money, bring in all manner of strange and wonderful items, in the hopes of either pawning or selling them for much more than they’re actually worth. It is then up to Rick, the main proprietor, to determine the items’ authenticity and potential for profit. In the first episode we watched, Rick purchased a functioning Civil War cannon for $30,000 and blew up a large houseplant with it. That’s just good TV, right there.

I say “first episode we watched” because I guess the History Channel was having some sort of Pawn Stars marathon. And I couldn’t look away. I’m reminded of the scene in Grandma’s Boy in which Grandma and friends are first introduced to Antiques Roadshow.

Long story short, I managed to pull myself away some time after midnight, after watching Rick and company wheel and deal on such treasures as artillery, prehistoric shark teeth, a ship’s chronometer, and an authentic Shelby race car.

So yeah… I’m tired and suffering from a self-induced reality television hangover. Was it worth it? Of course it was. You never know when being able to accurately gauge the value of a prehistoric Megalodon tooth might come in handy.

Tim Wells

Dad, husband, gamer, blogger, geek. Not necessarily in that order.