Dukes of Haggle

TV review by
Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media
Dukes of Haggle TV Poster Image
Southern barter reality show teaches history; some cursing.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

Highlights how people are returning to trading and bartering rather than money to survive in a cash-strapped economy. It also reveals some of the tricks of the bartering trade. Stereotypes about the South are sometimes highlighted. Some history lessons come up in relation to bartered items.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Some barterers can't seem to stop trying to make a trade, no matter what the circumstance. The cast is male; one female picker is occasionally featured.

Violence

Friendly competition between the teams leads to fast talk and mild insults, but nothing violent. Gene and Roger sometimes bicker with each other. Occasionally weapons (like old swords) are bartered and/or auctioned; their historic value is associated with wars and other violent events.

Sex
Language

Words like "damn" and "hell" audible; occasional curses like "bulls--t" are bleeped. References to "rednecks."

Consumerism

Chevy trucks are visible. Occasionally bartered items feature logos like Chevrolet and Colonel Sanders (now known as KFC).

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

The consumption of moonshine is visible; references are made to cold beer. People are shown spitting tobacco. Bartered items include an old keg.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Dukes of Haggle features people bartering for items that can eventually be sold at auction for money and includes some strong vocab and occasional stereotypical references about the US South. Weapons like swords are sometimes discussed and traded; brand named items like Ford trucks are also featured. Drinking and tobacco spitting is also visible.

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What's the story?

DUKES OF HAGGLE is a reality series that follows trading teams from an underground barter community on the back roads of Appalachia. It stars veteran barterer Gene Roberts and his novice sidekick Robert Price, friends Fred Ford and Andy King, traders Jimmy Sandzik and Nicki Rhodes. Picker Ron Boudreaux, a city guy from New Orleans, is also featured. The teams scour junk yards, flea markets, and other locations for big ticket items they can fix up, trade, or auction off at the Neal Auction house every Friday night. Throughout it all, they discuss the history and value of the items they uncover. From a unique Civil War sword and a Prohibition-era keg-erator, to a 10-foot wooden corn cob, these folks show how it is possible to get what you want and need if you can recognize a diamond in the rough, and if you know how to wheel and deal.

Is it any good?

Dukes of Haggle offers an interesting look at how old barter-and-trade traditions are being revived in order to survive the cash-strapped economy. It shows how minor details of a seemingly worthless item can potentially reveal its historic (and therefore monetary) value. It also highlights some of the negotiating techniques individual barterers will use to make a trade, and the occasional mistakes they make when trying to restore items.

The barterers' colorful personalities, combined with the mild excitement generated by the Friday night bidding wars, create some entertaining moments. Some of the weird things they try to trade might also get you chuckling. But in the end, it reminds us that sometimes taking an educated risk pays off, and that doing things the old-fashioned way can lead to surprisingly positive results.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the popularity of shows that feature people buying and selling old, used, or just plain weird stuff. What is it about them that make them appealing? Do they teach people how to recognize valuable goods? Are the negotiations that take place on camera real, or are they just being played up for the cameras?

  • Are stereotypes ever appropriate to use when describing a person or group of people? Even if a person is using it to describe him/herself?

TV details

For kids who love reality shows

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