“HARDCORE PAWN” is a new show on TruTv about a pawnshop in Detroit that seems to be the size of a football field. It is run by a guy named Les Gold, his son Seth and a few other family members. There are lots of employees scattered about that appear to be missing a chromosone or two and a troop of burly black security guards whose job it is to throw out any customer that gets out of hand – which appears to be every other patron.
There’s a bunch of inisiduous stuff going on here, but if you are acually dopey enough to watch this monstrosity, it most probably will go over your head. To my eyes, racism and stereotypes abound in this exploitative mess. Let’s see if any of these scenarios set off any alarms in your head.
In one episode an African guy is haggling with Les Gold – playing up some twisted caricature of a money-lending Jew – about the price of a ring. The guy gets enraged and Gold has him carted out like a kicking and screaming maniac. Gold then sneers into the camera and says something to the effect that the guy will cool off and eventually come back and accept the lowball offer.
Sneaky, eveil Shakespearean Shylock creature.
In another episode, a women brings in a gynecologists examining table. Gold’s daughter buys it for $50.00 but is criticized by her father for doing so because he thinks it’s useless. A short while later another black man comes in looking for a table. Gold sells him that one for $200.00 and says, “That’s a great deal, you’ll never get another deal like that in your life.” The gullibly smiling urban customer buys it and smiles because the nice pawnbroker got him a good deal. Then he proudly George Jefferson struts over to the pay window.
Are you following me here? Evil Jew screws over less intelligent minority.
I call this the worst show on television for so many reasons.
The customers are predominantly African-American (85% as far as I could see) and the pawn brokers are Jewish. The area is very Detroit poor and surrounded by casinos. They claim to get 700 customers per day so the place looks like your local DMV– but the lines of mostly minorities going up to windows are there to pawn their stuff — not to get a new car registration.
They even had an episode about an older, flashy gentleman, (probably broke) who kept coming back to pawn more and more of his bling as he lost more and more at the casinos. They joked with him and laughed with the old man like he was some kind of character, which he was, but they took his money and acted as though they were concerned about his gambling habit. If they were so concerned, why didn’t they just refuse to take his stuff?
Even the scummiest bartender knows when to stop pouring drinks for somebody.
It isn’t shown outwardly, but there are moments in this show where you are led to believe that the customer was lied to and cajoled into an easy deal. It’s not done outwardly, but it’s implied.
For example, a young – again – African American guy takes his pawn ticket to the clerk and she gives him $155.00. He asserts that an associate broker in the store told him $255.00. He looks down and sees that the ticket is $155.00. So now the guy is going to leave but Gold counters with and offer again of $155.00. Do you see something sneaky about this? It looked almost like a routine or a pinch the pawnbroker pulls on people. I am not saying that this is what happened, but it sure looked like it.
Now, you could never write or pitch a movie with this subject theme. This show recreates and enforces the worst stereotypes you could ever conjure up. It makes Tony and Carmella Soprano look like Ward and June Cleaver.
Les Gold and his son are often merciless and kind of mean — but they smile and take the money and pat people on the back and call them “brother” or “my man.” Granted they are dealing with people who often try to hustle them with lies and tales of woe, but Les Gold is portrayed as the most sickening and phony and slimy creature that TV has ever offered the world — and they call this reality — is Les Gold that loathsome in real life?
The customers featured for the show, and culled from the miles of videotape, are mostly black characters taken out of a 1930s movie, or else they are gangstuhs from a violent ghetto rap movie.
Okay, so they say this is reality TV, but do we REALLY need to see this? If somebody told me that this was a KKK propaganda TV show I would believe it.
Any kid who watches this show will think that Jewish people are sinister liars who make their living by exploiting poor blacks in low income neighborhoods because that’s essentially ALL that happens in this show.
People who already have these stereotypical opinions about African Americans and Jews will feel vindicated in their thinking. Marlon Brando is not alive to see on the screen what he complained about to Larry King. I think if Marlon Brando saw this show he might change his tune.
This show should be taken off the air immediately. It’s not ‘real’ TV…it’s just BAD TV — very bad.
Check out Damien’s incredible blog ‘The Damien Zone’ for insightful and genuinely funny commentary on the absurdities of the day!