A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this reality series about the inner workings of a family-run Las Vegas pawn shop provides an interesting look at capitalism at its most basic level. The father, son, and grandfather who run the store are very sharp and drive a hard bargain. The tempestuous trio are clearly close, but they also bicker frequently (and loudly), usually over business issues. Expect plenty of bleeped swearing. The shop buys and sells a wide variety of valuable goods and frequently mentions high-end brand names.
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What's the story?
PAWN STARS goes behind the counter at the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop, a busy Las Vegas store that handles everything from motorboats to classic works of art to antique firearms. The store is run by three generations of the Harrison family -- Rick, his son Corey, and his dad Richard. The series focuses on the men's wheeling and dealing as they negotiate with people hoping to sell unusual items -- and on the back-office bickering as the trio argues over whether one of them has pulled of a major coup ... or gotten taken for a ride.
Is it any good?
The Harrisons' tempestuous personalities are part of what makes this show fun. All three are very savvy businessmen, but they don’t always see eye to eye. Where one sees an underpriced diamond in the rough, another sees a lump of coal -- and they aren’t shy about sharing their opinions.
But it’s the naked capitalism that’s even more interesting. There’s no way to predict what people will try to sell at the pawn shop, and the guys will seriously consider even the most unusual objects -- if they think they can sell it later for a profit. That means they have to be experts in an enormous range of high-end products, capable of spotting both a fake Rolex and a real Picasso. After each negotiation, they explain what an item might really be worth and why they were willing (or not) to buy it. In the end, any object is worth exactly as much as someone is willing to pay -- a fundamental rule of business that's rarely seen as clearly as here.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what makes for a fair deal for both buyers and sellers. The Harrisons think carefully about every deal and drive a hard bargain -- do you think they're fair, or do they ever take advantage of people?
Though they clearly love each other, the Harrisons disagree often. Do you think they'd argue as much if they weren’t related to each other? Would you want to work with your family?
What kind of reputation does the pawn shop business in general have? Where does that reputation come from? How do movies and TV shows impact your impressions of the business?
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