Tag Archives: TruTV

The Unreality of Reality Television

19 Dec

December 19, 2012

There is nothing real about reality television. That is why shows like Keeping Up with The Kardashians are not called documentaries.

There is nothing real about reality television.

Dave Hester of Storage Wars is suing the show for seeding valuable items in the “locked and unopened” storage lockers they bid on. (http://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/2012/12/11/torage-wars-star-dave-hester-says-show-is-fake-suing-report-says/)

TLC’s new show, Amish Mafia, is actually a “recreation” using actors, although the network claims the stories are real. (http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/abc-blogs/amish-mafia-taking-care-business-amish-country-135820402–abc-news-tv.html)

TruTV, ironically, airs all kinds of “reality television,” but they are so far from reality that they had to make up yet another term. Now Operation Repo is known as “Actuality.” And yes, Operation Repo is scripted. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Repo)

Breaking Amish featured one cast member who was not Amish, and another who was not what she claimed at all. (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/22/breaking-amish-rebecca-divorced-video_n_1999071.html)

I was watching an episode of Storage Wars Texas, which is a Storage Wars spinoff, when I saw the following scene. A cast member bid on and won a locker. He went inside to see what he bought but there was a large screen in the middle blocking the rest of the locker. He went up to it and peered through one of the slats and a huge grin crossed his face and he yelped for joy. There was something good in there, of course. So what was the problem? It was filmed from the reverse angle. In other words, we saw him open the slats and grin from the other side of the screen, from a camera angle from the back of the locker. There was already a camera in the back of the locker set up to get that shot! And “set up” is the right term. Obviously the producers and directors and camera men and the bidder too knew what was in the locker and worked to create the best shot they could. So where is the reality?

I’ve written a lot about so-called reality television, predominately American Chopper, but I also recapped a full season (the only season) of Scrappers. I live in the exact area where that show was filmed and took a lot of nonsense from people writing in to defend the “reality” of the show. (https://bmj2k.com/2010/09/23/scrappers-mail-letters-from-people-who-love-scrappers-and-hate-me/) Trust me, I know what was fake on that show.

Then there is Hardcore Pawn, a show I wrote about once and only once yet is one of my most popular blogs. (https://bmj2k.com/2011/07/18/my-review-of-hardcore-pawn/) One of the most popular searches that lead people to it is “why do they always wear the same clothes?” The answer is because the show is heavily edited. What looks like happens in one day really often takes place over weeks and weeks. They need to wear the same clothes during filming so you don’t notice the editing. Do they get a lot of weird people? Yes they do. But their producers search out many more to come in.

Long Island Medium is a classic fake, with a scam whose history goes back centuries yet people still fall for it. Do just a little research, you can do what she does with a fair bit of success yourself. I’ve done it, you can be a medium too.  (https://bmj2k.com/2011/10/24/my-review-of-long-island-medium-3/)

Watch any Real Housewives– they are all acting for the camera. Situations are clearly and obviously set up. Most reality shows look fake because they are fake. Period.

Somehow even The Apprentice, a show I wrote about many, many times and I am sure I will write about many more, is called reality television. How? (https://bmj2k.com/2012/10/17/the-celebrity-apprentice-all-stars/)

Deadliest Catch is the show I consider closest to reality. The job is so dangerous anyone would be insane to let the producers direct the action, and the captains have too much money on the line to allow it. But a show like that is also heavily edited, and much of the personal drama amped up and exaggerated.

So I for one am glad that American Chopper is over. Am I biting the hand that feeds me? No, I never hid my disdain for that show. But if anyone writes to this blog again defending anyone on reality television again, I want you to include your latest medical reports because you must be nuts.

My Review of Hardcore Pawn

18 Jul

July 18, 2011

You ever see Hardcore Pawn? If you haven’t, and consider yourself lucky, then imagine the shop from Pawn Stars dropped in the middle of the worst part of Detroit and specializing in buying Xboxes from crackheads and you’ve got the idea.

The usual customer is unemployed and is pawning her kid’s DVD player for $10. And I when I say “unemployed” I do not mean “without a job,” I mean “unemployable.” Lots of missing teeth, fat but with belly shirts, drunk, stoned, cannot put two intelligent words together, you get the idea. It is Detroit.

It is a very classy show.

One man calling himself Grizzly Bear stood around and growled at the staff. He had a tatoo of a bear taking a dump and wiping his ass with a rabbit across his chest.

The shop is run by the Gold family. Seriously, a family named Gold running a pawn shop. That should be enough to tell you what’s coming up. There are three members of the family working in the shop.

Les Gold

If guys running pawn shops didn’t already have a bad name he would give it to them. He wears a v-neck sweater and a jeweler’s loupe around his neck on a thick gold chain. His whole gimmick is that “we are here to help people.” Bullshit.

I understand that this is a business and he is here to make money. Gotcha. But he isn’t fair. For example, a guy came in with a pedal car he paid $25 bucks for and was asking for a few thousand. That was ridiculous. But so was Les’ offer: $50. They went back and forth and countered and counter-countered and the guy went down to $100 and Les hardlined him at $85. That was the eventual selling price. So what was so unfair? Les took the thing to the back and told the camera that “with a little cleaning” he could get $4,000 for it. FOUR THOUSAND. And he nickel-and-dimed the guy down from $100 to $85. Good business? I guess, but don’t tell me you are there to help people. This guy is a sleaze. He will buy someone’s ring so the customer can make his rent and in the same breath try to sell him something else. Time after time he argues someone down to the cheapest possible price, only to brag about how much he could make on the item, typically a profit of well over 500%.

His father used to run a smaller shop in an even worse part of Detroit. BTW- most shots they show of the city are empty of people. That is a total FAIL city. If you are reading this in Detroit I can only assume you are on your way out. Best of luck.

So in one show he took his family to see the old shop where he worked with his father. Les talked about all the good times he had, all the warm memories the place held. But all the warm memories were about the time a gunman broke into the store and killed someone. He took them to the abandoned building and pointed out, with great care, “this is where I hid from the gunman,” “This is where the body lay,” “that is where the bullet hit the cop.” And those were his warm and fuzzy memories.


Seth Gold 

Can you see the arrogance?

Seth is a prick with a stick up his ass. He is an uptight jerk.

His biggest problem is that he thinks he knows everything and he thinks he is always right. He thinks he is better than his father and much better than his sister. Years back, his sister Ashley managed the pawn shop but she left to have kids. When she came back, Seth had moved up and he resents her. He is always fighting with her, yelling at her, and running to his daddy to complain about her. As far as dealing with customers he is as cheap as his father but quicker to antagonize them. He gets easily annoyed, tries to be snarky to the customers, they get angry, and he smirks as security takes them outside.

A guy came into the shop to sell his paint guns. They really didn’t want them but told the guy they had to try them out so the gang went out into the parking lot with the guy’s guns and had a paintball fight, using all the guy’s paint pellets and wasting about an hour of his time. When it was over, Seth offered the guy $5. That isn’t a typo, five dollars. Not only did the guy turn it down, he complained, and very rightly so, that all the ammo they used was worth a lot more than that. He left with a net loss.


Ashley Gold Broad
“Broad” is her married name, not commentary.

Her brother hates her. Her employees are afraid of her. For some reason I like her. I even went out of my way to use an attractive picture of her. She speaks her mind and she is outspoken but upfront and you always know where you stand with her. That said, she is as cheap as the rest of the family and toes the whole “we are here to help you” line. She is in a pretty bad position. It is hard enough dealing with the low-class entities that go to her shop, but she also has to put up with her family’s nonsense. She knows what she is doing, those guys should shut up.

Their customers don’t always have their heads screwed on right. They are always yelling for no reason, cutting lines and starting fights. Have I mentioned that this is in the worst part of Detroit? But the family does themselves no favors by constantly losing things. It seems like in every other episode someone’s items are misplaced or lost, and the Gold’s try to turn their error around on the customers. Somehow it their fault that their property is missing from the stockroom.

The show really just leaves a bad taste in your mouth. They rip off people who have nowhere else to turn. I am trying not to compare this to Pawn Stars but at least the offers are fair on that show. And on Pawn Stars you rarely see transactions for $5 dentures.

I guess the best way to sum it up is to say that on TruTV, a network that shows Operation Repo and Parking Wars, this one has sunk to the bottom of the barrel.

If you’d like more pawn show badness, click here for my review of Pawn Queens.

For even worse shenanigans, check out my review of American Pickers.

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