‘Reality TV’.. Is it real and if so, How real?

Hello everyone. A couple days ago, Empress stated that she would like to have some guest bloggers to talk about some shows on TV. I assume non HW related. Honestly I come here to get a break from reading about housewives so I volunteered and she accepted my offer by giving me Author status. This is as much a test as it is my first blog here. For the remainder of the seasons, I will be recapping Celebrity Apprentice and American Idol. Look for the recaps on Monday and Friday of any given week. I hope you enjoy them. I have no intention of stepping on Empress’ toes here and the second it appears I am, I’m done. I respect Empress, and this is first and foremost, Her blog.

The question in my title pertains to a show on TrueTV that is based around a Detroit business. Truthfully, the only reason I watch it is because of the local connection. The show is Hardcore Pawn. It is about a pawn shop owner who has been in business here for more than 40 years. He has brought both of his kids into the business and I think his wife as well at times. As featured on the show, this is his main store of the last 7 or so years is an old bowling ally on the Detroit side of 8 mile road (on some maps, it may be referred to as Baseline Road). The name of the place is American Jewelery and Loan.

Siidebar- When I see the word, ‘American’ in a business title, I typically think Arab owned. That’s not meant to be a derogatory statement but one of fact. Greater than 90% of the businesses in the Detroit area with the word American in the name, ARE Arab owned. Southeast Michigan has one of the largest Arab populations in the United States. Not that it really matters but this business happens to be Jewish owned. -End Sidebar

The main proprietor is Les Gold. He runs the place with his son and daughter, Seth and Ashley. I’m not recapping this show because I doubt anyone cares that much about a pawn shop show recap.

On the show, we see people bringing in some of the craziest stuff to try and either pawn, or sell. Sometimes the transactions go smoothly but the ones they mainly show on the program, do not. These particular transactions usually end with the security team bum rushing the ‘customer’ out of the door. The clips are usually followed by Les or one of the kids stating, if you want to do business there, do so respectfully and it’ll be smooth. Sounds reasonable to me. Ashley isn’t always on the show because she does have a family and isn’t always working at the store. Seth, is the main secondary character most times. When we Do see Ashley it’s almost guaranteed that she will be called a bitch by some customer, followed by the customer getting tossed out of the store. With Les and Seth, it’s Eff You, MF this, MF that, and people basically demanding what price they are going to get and that the staff at HC Pawn IS going to pay it. Those people get the boot as well. Les, Seth, and Ashley all give back as good as they get… With their 6’8 300 pound bouncer standing behind the customer.

Now, I’ve been to this place twice. Once in winter 2011 and again this past winter. The first time I was there, TrueTV was there filming. The second time, they were not (and I saw no drama either time). I couldn’t tell you when what I saw being filmed was aired and don’t even know if it was. It was all pretty mundane. The second time, I Did see people ask to meet Les, Seth, and Ashley but she wasn’t there. Les and Seth came out, met the people, took photos with them, you know, touristy stuff. I think these people said they were from West Virginia. Doesn’t matter, just that was probably the most exciting part of the second visit to see.

AJ&P is touted as a 50,000 square foot business but probably 40,000 of that is used for storage and will never be seen by the public. They also do internet sales (Seth’s main part of the business) but I’ve never seen anything on the their site to get excited about. The showroom is typical pawnshop. Counters full of mostly cheap gaudy jewelery (the good stuff is kept locked up), piles of used electronics that have probably been there since the stone age, used tools, and the like. My main interest in going in there last time was to find a guitar. Don’t bother folks, the selection is slim at best as, again, the better stuff is kept in the back. The first time I went in there, I was looking for a watch but couldn’t get anyone to help me. I think they were all standing around waiting for someone who Looked like they could afford anything in the store before they moved. I do not, just for the record, appear to have two nickels to rub together. Silly them. I do that on purpose. Even at the music counter, which is a complete hot mess of stuff I would be embarrassed to even put out in the trash, it took 20 minutes to get someone to try and help me.

Anyway, When the film crew was there, I noticed several transactions being filmed. I think there were two camera crews working the floor. What I saw shouldn’t surprise anyone. You have the camera guy recording the footage, the sound guy holding the microphone, and a ‘producer’ nearby. Once the transaction is finished, the producer chases the customer down with a release form. You see, they cannot use Any of it without that release or blurring faces. Bystanders are not asked to sign a release, it is understood by signage at the door, you are giving permission to be shown just by walking into the store. To be Featured however, they need the release. So, as I noted above, some of these transactions get crazy and even nearly violent. These transactions supposedly take place BEFORE a release is signed. There is no money offered for the release, only the chance to be shown on the boob tube. In some cases that are typically aired, shown acting a fool and being made to look like a complete sucker for their behavior. That brings me to the question in my title, IS it Real? I often state, that these program editors can only use what they are given. Particularly in the Housewives shows. Same with a show such as Hardcore Pawn. However, this show, does Not paint some people in a good light and by signing that release, they Allow it to be shown. Are these ‘altercations’ Real, or are they staged for the benefit of television?

About MelTheHound

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29 Responses to ‘Reality TV’.. Is it real and if so, How real?

  1. thedesigndiva2 says:

    Well… I guess I need to come clean… I am a Hard Core Pawn viewer along with Op Repro…. LOL
    Real or Fake I dont care..I find them amusing and if I can laugh at it then it’s a HUGE SCORE for me… I love when les screams.. ” My kid couldve been killed “…. South Beach Tow is another one I started watching last year…
    I am also an ID TV ADDICT…. Bravo MAYBE ?? I’ll catch early a,.m. hrs if I am so inclined…
    Okay..so I feel better now that I have admitted to my sins…… Sorry MTH..I dont do CA or Idol… got over them years ago..UGH….
    Do watch American Chopper and Deadliest Catch..,
    HWS…Dont give two hoots about them any longer….
    Diva

    • melthehound says:

      πŸ˜€ I watch Operation Repo and Southbeach Tow as well. Even Lizard Lick Towing. All three come under the same question I ask about Hardcore Pawn. To me, they are just entertainment but I’m sure some believe it’s all Real. Another they’ve been showing recently is The Wiener’s Circle. 3 or 4 large and in charge black women working a Chicago hot dog stand making people do crazy things to get some free food.

      If you’ve read my recaps at Lynn’s (The Amazing Race and Survivor) you’ll see that they are often as much opinion as recaps. Hope you can enjoy what I have to offer here even if you don’t watch the shows.

      • thedesigndiva2 says:

        CANT STAND THE WEINER CIRCLE !!! GROSS….
        Lizard Lick.. I watch for his one liners…!!! Some are so funny…
        I also try and catch BAIT CAR… now thats FUNNY…. Dumbasses…. hahahahaha

        • melthehound says:

          Bait Car, Yes. The idea that anyone would be DUMB enough to leave an Escalade (or anything else for that matter) Open, Unattended, And Running in THESE neighborhoods….. Natural Selection 101. “I was just moving it for a friend, officer, I Swear…. “. They all deserve to get caught, cuffed, and stuffed just because they are so dumb.

    • Lisa Renee says:

      Hi Diva, hope all is well with both you & Mr. Ford! Just wanted to say hello πŸ™‚ Lisa

  2. Lisa Renee says:

    Hi MTH, thrilled you took Empress up on her offer. I am a fan. Your recaps are chock full of your opinions & that is why I enjoy them. Full disclosure, I love alot of the shows on TruTv. I keep InSession on my TV almost everyday so I got sucked into all their shows from the commercials. I realized very quickly that Hardcore Pawn & other new programs are produced with a heavy hand from behind the scenes. Reality or faux-ality I find it entertaining. Very cool you got to see it first hand. Enjoyed how you described the spaces we don’t get to see. Look forward to more Lisa

    • melthehound says:

      Lisa,
      faux-ality.. I like that. It’s my new word for these types of shows, If you don’t mind. Glad you enjoy the recaps.

  3. klmh says:

    Thanks Mel for the take on the Hardcore Pawn owners. Im not sure who is scarier, the owners or some of their clients. I have tried to watch it a few times, and its cringeworthy.
    I am amazed that some of the potential clients or the owners for that fact, allow themselves to be portrayed like that. Yikes.

    • melthehound says:

      That’s Why I question the ‘reality’ of it all. It can get entertaining if you give it a chance. There are some pretty outrageous characters who walk into that place. A couple weeks ago they had one of these ‘doomsday’ers’ come in convinced she was going to be taken away by Aliens. I believe this was Real. The woman, though harmless enough I guess, seemed like a complete loon.

  4. Donna says:

    Mel I also down play my clothing when I shop. When I went shopping at one store wearing my work clothes (retired church secretary) they were very helpful and smiling when I wanted to be left alone. LOL when I changed to jeans and sneakers, I was avoided.

    • melthehound says:

      My mother was a building contractor who worked primarily in Detroit. Those old black couples loved my mother. Some still call to see how I’M doing, One thing she taught me about the business of selling, the ones who look the ‘least’ rich, always had the most to spend. πŸ˜‰ Never assume you know what’s in their pocket by the way they’re dressed is what it boiled down to. Typically in That community, the better dressed they were, the less they had to spend. I’m not talking bum street rags and smelling like one hadn’t bathed in 3 months here. Just down-dressed.

  5. I hope all of you who follow my blog are as happy to see melthehound in the role of writer as I am. I know that I have always enjoyed reading his recaps and his comments, both here and at Lynn’s. I haven’t watched “Survivor” since Johnny Fairplay decided to kill off his own grandmother for the sake of some form of depraved sympathy, but the Hound’s versions of the show still allows me to follow it. None of us who have read anything written by the hound and his human partner would ever turn them away if they were to show up on our front porches. When he was kind enough to ring my doorbell and offer his take on whatever subject he wanted to share with us, I gratefully and gladly took him up on it. I would have been a fool to do otherwise. πŸ™‚

    • melthehound says:

      Aw Shucks (in my best imitated southern drawl) (blush)

      Thank you from The Hound as well.

  6. Adgirl says:

    Thanks for the blog MTH!!

  7. princesspindy says:

    Hey there,
    I love Hardcore Pawn, the sister cracks me up. I like the Parking Wars show too. I haven’t watched in awhile because I have been busy. I haven’t watched a whole lot of TV lately. But I did get to see Revenge last night. I enjoy your reviews, I pretty much agree with everything you say, so of course I think you are brilliant! lol I did get home in time to catch the last half hour of Survivor and maybe, just maybe there will be a all woman final 4. I can pretty much gar-un-tee after Troyzan’s tribal council behavior, if he doesn’t win immunity he will go. But ya never know, I can’t believe Tarzan is still there ~ I might have my “zans” mixed up~ I haven’t been watching with any real enthusiasm. I was just soooo glad that moron Colton got karma to kick him in the butt!!

    • melthehound says:

      Her’e hint on the ‘zans.. Tarzan, Blue Speedo (Go ahead, toss, I’ll wait). I have no doubt that if the 4 women can keep it together, it’ll be a female final 4. They’re hell bent on getting rid of the only viable male player left. He’s going to slip up though, I can see it coming. If Troy wins immunity again, then we’ve seen the last of Tarzan and his blue speedo (go ahead and toss, I’ll wait).

      Glad you enjoy the recaps, PP πŸ˜€

      • princesspindy says:

        How about we just say Troy young, Tar old, cuz trust me, I am NOT looking at speedos to check for color. I avert my eyes!! Of course the first season of Survivor Richard Hatch just walked around naked and who was that guy last year with the droopy drawers…he was a “federal agent” LOL!

        • melthehound says:

          If that works for you then that’s cool. I Know the color because of the speedo in the boil pot scandal a few weeks ago. Honestly, Richard Hatch is a main reason I didn’t watch until last season. Droopy Drawers Federal agent.. That wouldn’t be Papa Bear would it?

          • princesspindy says:

            I googled it and his name was Phillip. He was a black guy that to this day, no one really knows if he was crazy or just socially awkward or playing the game. He walk around in red underwear briefs and talked to his ancestors….he claimed to be a special federal agent….

            • melthehound says:

              Before my Survivor time.
              Is this the guy?
              http://survivor.wikia.com/wiki/Phillip_Sheppard

              • princesspindy says:

                That’s the guy. Boston Rob, who is my all time favorite, I have watched since day 1 and have only missed a few seasons, won that one. Rob played Phillip like a drum, it was a beautiful thing. Rob, imho, has been the most enjoyable player to watch. He was highly entertaining and very smart. He fell in love on Survivor and he married the winner of his first season, Amber. They have kids and were on The Amazing Race a few seasons back, they even had a special about their wedding. If you have the stomach google images of Phillip and you will see his famous red underwear. lol

              • Adgirl says:

                Loved Rob & Amber on TAR. We didn’t see them on Survivor so they were new to us. Sharp and entertaining couple. The first thing Rob did was suggest to other teams that they didn’t need to eat the disgusting plate of entrails so they ALL took the 30 minute penalty – with Romber in the lead. Masterful.

            • melthehound says:

              I saw the pictures. Tarzan and his blue speedo have nothing on Phil and his faded reds 😦

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