Monday, April 19, 2010

American Pickers (TV review)

History Channel has silently snuck to the top of the cable reality TV world with two quality shows. The first, Pawn Stars, I'm not going to review here but it's great fun. The show follows a huge pawn shop in Vegas and revolves around the wheeling and dealing of the brokers with the customers. The real highlight of the show are the items that get brought in to be pawned. The stories and the history behind the items is highly informative and often opens your eyes to parts of history you didn't even know you cared about.

The show I want to focus on is American Pickers. Two lifelong friends opened a resale antique business and they travel the U.S. looking through people's collections for antiques and novelty items that they can "pick", or buy on the cheap, clean them up, and resell at a profit to antique collectors.

These guys know their stuff. Both of them are an encyclopedia of antique information. It's like you took all of the experts from Antique Roadshow and combined them into one super brain.

Like Pawn Stars, the antiques really come to the forefront in the show. There are items featured on each show that most Americans have either never seen or haven't seen for 75 years. Whether it be turn-of-the-century bicycles or vintage gas pumps from the 50s, there is some pretty amazing stuff to be seen.

Now, unlike Pawn Stars, the antiques featured in American Pickers have to share the limelight with important co-stars: the outrageous, odd, and usually awkward owners of the antiques. Wow, these people could easily be featured on another popular reality show, Hoarders.

Some of the everyday folks that the pickers visit are mostly normal and just let their collecting get the better of them and are now ready to part with some items. On the other hand, there are people featured on the show that have obvious psychological issues. Most are basically just hoarders and the pickers have to use every trick in their negotiation book to pry the antiques away.

However, there have been a few featured owners that are pretty scary. They literally have an empire of junk and they know every detail about every item buried in the backyard or stashed up in the barn loft. I honestly feel afraid for the pickers when they start pressing these people to sell their items. I can see the eyes start to twitch and I'm just waiting for them to break out a shotgun and start yelling, "No! you can't have my vintage 1935 bottle of pen ink. It's my precious!"

As you can tell, I love this show. The two pickers are very personable and the antique hoarders are just getting nuttier episode by episode. If you get the History Channel, it's a must watch and if you don't get the channel, track down some episodes online.

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