Judge Mike Rubino is an expert in antique DVD reviews.
"Make Rick money."
I imagine the average pawn broker doesn't often deal with Russian space shuttle launch keys, hot air balloons, and George Washington-autographed lottery tickets. Then again, the stars of History Channel's highly successful Pawn Stars aren't anything close to average. This plump cast of cut-ups returns for 32 more episodes of haggling with Pawn Stars: Season Two.
If you picked up the first season on DVD, or are an avid fan of the show, you already know what to expect here; the formula hasn't changed—nor should it. Everyday folks bring their wares down to the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop in Las Vegas hoping to strike it rich. More often than not, they're broken down by the professional lowball haggling of the Harrison boys (The Old Man, Rick, and Hoss), but there is the rare occasion when the customer wins big. A deal is finalized, cash is exchanged, and then the item is either sold or refurbished by an expert.
This season, perhaps more so than the last, ups the ante with rare goods, but for every "only five in the world" poker chip or Shelby Cobra there's three times as many swords, rifles, and 19th century pieces of paper. The weapons, while cool, become far too repetitious during a 32 episode season. This may be a realistic depiction of the kind of items they receive in the shop, but seeing the same experts come in and give basically the same appraisal every time starts to drag. Even worse are the on-camera confessional clips that Rick and the gang give. They add to the "reality" aspect of the show, but they're needlessly redundant ("I really want this in my shop, and if it's real it's going to be worth a ton of money." Yes, we get it). Obviously, without these clips, and without the forced subplots involving the reliable comic relief of Chumlee, episodes would last maybe ten minutes.
Despite these minor complaints, Pawn Stars remains infinitely watchable and fun. In a mere 20-minute episode, you'll be privy to four or five oddly specific history lessons. You'll learn about etymology, printing presses, American customs, guns, cars, and, above all, the Art of the Pawn. Pawn Stars teaches some valuable lessons about haggling and supply/demand that few shows can accomplish. It can also be pretty darn funny.
Season Two's 32 episodes are split across four discs, each with some painfully non-anamorphic widescreen and serviceable audio. There's also over 30 minutes of additional footage on the fourth disc. These aren't only deleted scenes, but extended biographical pieces on the store and its employees as well as some practical lessons about pawning, spotting fake diamonds, and determining the value of a pocket watch.
Pawn Stars is like Antiques Road Show with Vegas street smarts. If you dug the first season of the show, there's no reason to stop there. Pawn Stars: Season Two is more of the same, and that's fine by me.
The lowest I can go is, "not guilty."
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