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I, Frank Fritz, did not fully cogitate...
September 30, 2011 8:12 AM   Subscribe

Mike and Frank reminisce about their first meeting in high school...they were cute l'il pickers back then.
posted by treasure (28 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
If they really are like their onscreen personas, I don't think I'd like them very much in person.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 8:51 AM on September 30, 2011


Maybe I'm missing something, but all I saw was a clip from the show with about five sentences related to their high school years. Is there more?
posted by OmieWise at 8:59 AM on September 30, 2011


I've never heard of these guys, so I tried to figure out who everyone was by watching the YT clip.

So. In the YouTube clip, there is a farm. The fat, balding guy with the beard and mustache owns the farm. The polite, nice lady with the hairdo is his wife. The big, awkward fellow in the polo shirt is their son. He always plays second fiddle to his dad (the fat, balding guy with the beard), and is slightly dominated by him, which is why he does not share his father's outgoing personality. The producers of the show felt sorry for him (because his dad is so mean) and tried to make up for it by giving him a little bit of screen time, even though he doesn't say much.

The lady with the hairdo, her husband (the guy with the beard and mustache) and the other guy (the tall, still handsome guy with his own hairdo) were a love triangle in high school.

The fat balding guy loves to collect junk. He collects it with his big, awkwardly shy son, and hauling junk into different dilapidated outbuildings on the property. It's the only time they bond.

Suddenly, they discover a desk. And then a bell that is rediscovered in the junk - treasure from the fat, balding guy's father. The fat, balding guy with a beard is Greek, which is why there is a caption about how Greeks used to bang on metal.

The fat guy and the tall guy drive off, leaving wife and son behind. They have cheated them of 50 dollars.

Anyway, that's what I got out of it.
posted by KokuRyu at 9:08 AM on September 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


If they really are like their onscreen personas, I don't think I'd like them very much in person.

Man, really? American Pickers is what I turn to after Pawn Stars makes me feel to slimy and exploitative. Episodes like the one where they helped the woman whose dad left her a shed of film projectors really show that they're decent people at heart, as much as they're (also) business men.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:12 AM on September 30, 2011


The few episodes of Pickers that I've watched have left me pretty scuzzy feeling as well. The most common criticism of the Antiques Roadshow is that there is too much focus on the price, and not on the historical/cultural value of the artifiacts. Pickers feels way too slanted to the $$$ end of the spectrum. I haven't watched more than a couple of episodes though.
posted by Think_Long at 9:36 AM on September 30, 2011


This has nothing to do with MST3K, does it?
posted by JHarris at 9:36 AM on September 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


I kinda wish there was more to it than that, but I agree with PhoBWanKenobi. Of the "find old stuff and appraise it" shows, their show is one of the better ones. They usually find some interesting stuff and the banter between the two guys is usually amusing. I also really enjoy Storage Wars, but that's more for the drama between the auction bidders than the interest in the items they find...
posted by zorrine at 9:43 AM on September 30, 2011


The most common criticism of the Antiques Roadshow is that there is too much focus on the price, and not on the historical/cultural value of the artifiacts. Pickers feels way too slanted to the $$$ end of the spectrum.

Well, I think that's what you're going to get when you're talking to appraisers and resellers, with varying degrees of resultant sleaze. Antiques Roadshow appraisers don';t actually have a stake in the stated price; the people on Pawn Stars (who again, tend to be really transparent, pushy, a-holes) and Pickers do. History Detectives is probably the acommercial answer to these shows.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:49 AM on September 30, 2011


Yes! History Detectives! I almost forgot about that show! Especially how they dramatically walk towards you in the opening sequence while Elvis Costello plays in the background...
posted by zorrine at 9:54 AM on September 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


Oh man, at first I thought it was gonna be those two little farmer kids when I saw "cute little pickers", and thought it was some backstory about their lives.
posted by symbioid at 10:10 AM on September 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


This has nothing to do with MST3K, does it?

Sadly, no.


My dislike isn't just with the gloating about how they "got this rare and precious widget for a great price, and now I can sell it for a fortune!" but with how they treat their office help. Also, when they swoop in and take the cream of some barn full o'junk, they leave the remains that much less of a resource for the people who'd (usually) like to clean it all out. At least on Storage Wars and Auction Hunters, they have to take everything away.

I also wonder how much of these shows (and yes, Pawn Stars) is scripted, and how many of the rare, fabulous finds are planted.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 10:10 AM on September 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


Heh, I thought it was going to be about Frank Vignola and Mike Marshall.
posted by Wordwoman at 10:22 AM on September 30, 2011


I also wonder how much of these shows (and yes, Pawn Stars) is scripted, and how many of the rare, fabulous finds are planted.

I'm going to go ahead and estimate that the answers to both of those questions are "all."
posted by The World Famous at 10:29 AM on September 30, 2011


I also really enjoy Storage Wars, but that's more for the drama between the auction bidders than the interest in the items they find...

The only one of these shows I've seen is Storage Wars, but I think part of the reason it works is that they have a decent villain in Dave Hester. Everybody else is at least a little likable; all the stuff that people are complaining about here, the pushiness, the caring only about money, that's the shit that Dave pulls and it makes it fun to hate him.

It might also work because I have a huge crush on Brandi.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 10:55 AM on September 30, 2011


Pawn Stars feels sleazy? I mean, you can't get around the whole pawn shop in Vegas sleaze, but they tell the people they're buying from what they expect to get for it half the time, which is usually a 50% profit. I've heard the argument that the Pickers guys don't really know what they're buying sometimes, but their margin hits 100% too regularly for me to believe that.

The Pawn Strs guys do seem, personally, like asshole, but the show at least makes it look like they make sure that their customers have all the information they do. MorE Importantly, they show the viewers what the hell it is they just bought instad of just OIL CAN HUNDRED BUX.

If they really are like their onscreen personas, I don't think I'd like them very much in person.

For that matter, if this is their idea of an onscreen persona, I don't think I'd like them in person.
posted by cmoj at 10:56 AM on September 30, 2011


I also wonder how much of these shows (and yes, Pawn Stars) is scripted, and how many of the rare, fabulous finds are planted.

I'm willing to bet that's the case with Storage Wars. There's always that one special thing in a locker full of worthless crap.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:58 AM on September 30, 2011


I kind of like Flea Man, where the host visits a person, goes through their stuff, picks some of it out to sell at the flea market, and then the two of them sell it to raise money for a specific goal. On one of the episodes I saw, a guy ended up selling a bunch of vintage dolls and some collectible '70s-era TV show props in order to finance studio time to record a country album. I think the difference is that the people who have the stuff actually get to keep the money, so it's less like "Look at me ripping off these rubes" and more like "Look at me helping these folks make some money on things they didn't know were valuable."
posted by infinitywaltz at 11:21 AM on September 30, 2011


I don't believe that there are any planted objects on the show. I would agree that there may be a little scripting, and heavy editing, but I can't believe in the planting.

Check this article out about how the show came into existence...

“American Pickers”: The Inside Story of the History Channel’s Surprise Hit

Few people realize the amount of work that goes into the show. For the first season's 10 episodes, the pickers were on the road for more than five months, covering 20 states. Each 44-minute episode had 13 scheduled days of shooting, Wolfe said.

..."I had ideas, and ... I had all these great tapes ... ," Wolfe said, but he didn't have a concept. "It's like I had all these leaves but I had no tree."

...Anderson said they met in 2006 and worked together for several years. "I was never interested in antiques, but I thought the idea of a modern-day American treasure hunter was very cool, and the piece we put together from the footage was so grungy and real -- like Indiana Jones meets Sanford & Son," Anderson wrote in an e-mail.


posted by mikeweeney at 11:35 AM on September 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm willing to bet that's the case with Storage Wars. There's always that one special thing in a locker full of worthless crap.

I don't think it's scripted (in either case -- Pawn Stars or Storage Wars) so much as a scattershot approach. In other words, they take so much video that some of it has to end up being interesting.

The Storage Wars guys have outright admitted that for every 1 good unit they find, there are 20 that are bad. With 4 different sets of buyers, it's not surprising that they generally find at least one good unit amongst them. And, if you look at the stats of the sessions they actually air, that's about where it is -- usually one or two people make money, with the remaining breaking even or losing money. There are, I'm sure, many other sessions taped where absolutely nothing interesting occurs, and they don't even package it into an episode.

With Pawn Stars, on the other hand, there's a much simpler answer. Their pawn shop is reasonably big, and they have a lot more employees than just the four you see on the show. So, my guess is that when the production crew is there and taping, there's a pre-screener at the door watching items that come in. People who show up to pawn an uninteresting item (random jewelry, for example) get shunted to the normal staff. People who show up with something wacky or possibly interesting get directed towards the cast of the show.
posted by tocts at 11:54 AM on September 30, 2011


Also, I'm not sure I agree that the cast of Pawn Stars are a bunch of assholes. I think they're businessmen, and they're very up-front with people about what something is worth, and what they'll sell it for. I don't think they've ever been shown to completely lowball someone who has an expensive item but doesn't know it. They do start low, knowing that they'll have to come up eventually, and they're decent negotiators, but I don't feel like they're ever really cheating anyone.

Overall, I feel like it's a decent show.

Now, Hardcore Pawn ... that show is just soul-crushingly depressing. I caught it a couple times and just had to stop watching. Watching people coming in to try to sell an interesting historical item they found in their grandparent's attic is enteraining (see: Pawn Stars). Watching people coming in to try to pawn their $50 VCR to make rent (or drug) payments? That's just sad and exploitative.
posted by tocts at 12:00 PM on September 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


Also, I'm not sure I agree that the cast of Pawn Stars are a bunch of assholes. I think they're businessmen, and they're very up-front with people about what something is worth, and what they'll sell it for. I don't think they've ever been shown to completely lowball someone who has an expensive item but doesn't know it. They do start low, knowing that they'll have to come up eventually, and they're decent negotiators, but I don't feel like they're ever really cheating anyone.

I've seen them pretty transparently lose their cool when bartering. Plus be downright insulting about people's stuff. That's what makes them seem like assholes to me--they don't have to buy the stuff, but they don't have to be jerks about it, either. And they often are.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 12:14 PM on September 30, 2011


The only one of these shows I've seen is Storage Wars, but I think part of the reason it works is that they have a decent villain in Dave Hester. Everybody else is at least a little likable; all the stuff that people are complaining about here, the pushiness, the caring only about money, that's the shit that Dave pulls and it makes it fun to hate him.

I *love* to hate Dave Hester! It's too much fun!
Also, w/ the Pickers guys, I have the bonus of watching them drive all over the country which sometimes is enough to subdue my desire to just run away and road trip around the country for as long as I possibly can...
posted by zorrine at 12:23 PM on September 30, 2011


American Pickers was a fun show, but I stopped watching it because they started to suffer from reality show disease, where it was pretty clear that they were no longer in situations because it was an accurate reflection of their lives, but because producers were putting them there.

Also, when they swoop in and take the cream of some barn full o'junk, they leave the remains that much less of a resource for the people who'd (usually) like to clean it all out. At least on Storage Wars and Auction Hunters, they have to take everything away.

I'm pretty sure that they've mentioned before that they'll buy all of someone's junk (or help the people get rid of it).

With Storage Wars and Auction Hunters, I think they just leave out all of the crap lockers. That said, I think the storage unit shows are going to change that unit dramatically, at least in the short term, as scores of people start going to the auctions for fun or to gawk.

And Dave Hester... Considering that he seems to always win out on a unit, I don't know why people don't out bid him more. There have been auctions (vending machines, a bead store), where it was pretty clear that at worst, you'd be able to start a business from the stuff in the locker, but he still got them surprisingly cheap.

Finally, I wish I knew Barry from Storage Wars in real life.
posted by drezdn at 12:41 PM on September 30, 2011


There are reasons the sellers want to be on American Pickers.

You'll notice something about American Pickers. Most of the good stuff they find is located on farms, in barns - rural America. How does a collection of early Coca-Cola calenders end up sitting in a trunk - up the the hayloft - in an outbuilding? Farmers had money.

Back in the day, if you went to an rural estate auction - You'd see a ton of stuff on hay wagons, in the barns or spread out on the grass. There is a food wagon, a couple of hundred people in attendance. An auctioneer barked out from a loudspeaker - the sale began. From nuts to bolts, every last thing was sold. Tools, furniture, tractors, vehicles, antiques everything.

After attending a few of these auctions - you'd notice something. The guys doing the heavy buying were not the yuppies from the city (who drove 80 miles to attend the sale auction). no, it was the local farmers who were buying up all of the good antiques. Guys who owned a ton of land and who had disposable income. The city folks who drove out to buy - generally were outbid by the locals. Often times just to prove a point. This was their territory. You'll notice on the show that Mike and Frank always immediately say "We're from Iowa". It establishes them as country folk. Change Iowa to chicago and they'll not be welcomed into as many places. (and the prices go wayyyy up)

So, these farmers keep attending the sales and local auction houses. They have a steady income from farming. The buying at an auction becomes entertainment. Some get hooked on it. Hell, it's better than sitting at home watching Hee-Haw. You can go to a sale and live it. The auctions are a social event that involves the community. If you're a player at the auction, you can be king for a day. (On a side note- at the sales we would play a game called "Minnie Pearl" - whoever sighted the auction attendee who most resembled Miss Pearl - the other guy had to buy lunch)

At the end of each sale the farmer loads his pickup truck with the new buys. Heads back to the farm. Tomorrow is a new day. Lots of work to do. He doesn't have time to fart around looking at things he's already bought. The truck gets backed up to an outbuilding and everything unloaded. He goes back to the real work of farming.

Years go by and that building gets full. He builds another and fills that one as well. Why not. Got plenty of space. It's fun as all hell and yea - it was worth it just to see Henry from Odell have to reach for his blood pressure medicine when I ran his ass up on that box of tintypes.

You're older now. Attend less auctions. The economy isn't that great anymore. The farm is still doing good. People have to eat. You look up the drive and a see a white van followed by three other white vans. They're kicking up a lot of dust. Must be the tv show folks that called. Say they heard about my collections and want to "take a look around".

The show gets filmed. The farmer sells them a few items. He wants his 15 minutes of fame. With some prodding from the film crew, the farmer tells a few stories. These get edited down to one liners.

The show airs a few months later. Everyone in town watches it. The next day at the diner, the farmer is treated like a king. "Hey Fred, saw you on TV." They're all talking to him with one voice. He waves his hand and they quiet down. It's like he's back at the auction again. Everyone is waiting to see if he'll bid one more time.
posted by Bighappyfunhouse at 12:52 PM on September 30, 2011 [4 favorites]


Now, Hardcore Pawn ... that show is just soul-crushingly depressing.

I've never seen it, but from the name of the show and your description, am I correct in assuming it has something to do with the bishop taking the queen?
posted by The World Famous at 2:06 PM on September 30, 2011


And Dave Hester... Considering that he seems to always win out on a unit, I don't know why people don't out bid him more. There have been auctions (vending machines, a bead store), where it was pretty clear that at worst, you'd be able to start a business from the stuff in the locker, but he still got them surprisingly cheap.

Buying stuff isn't the half of it. You also have to sell it, which could mean holding onto it for quite a while. Selling the entire contents of a gourmet kitchen isn't a quick money situation; you'll sell a range hood today, a set of knives in two weeks, etc. In any case, you'd have to transport everything.

And that's where that show really breaks up for me. They don't factor in the transportation costs. I mean, how much does it cost to gas up and drive an empty truck across a couple of states, let alone a full one the whole way back? It's gotta be a fucking ton of money.
posted by Sys Rq at 2:09 PM on September 30, 2011


And that's where that show really breaks up for me. They don't factor in the transportation costs. I mean, how much does it cost to gas up and drive an empty truck across a couple of states, let alone a full one the whole way back? It's gotta be a fucking ton of money.

I'm not familiar with the specifics of that particular show, but I have a friend who has been making a pretty good living doing the storage unit auction thing for more than a decade and he stays within Southern California, has his own truck, and sells the stuff out of a brick-and-mortar store that he owns, sells at flea markets, and sells on eBay. He never has to transport the stuff more than an hour and a half.
posted by The World Famous at 2:13 PM on September 30, 2011


I've watched the first two seasons of this show and love it. I went into the show with some ethical reservations about what they were doing, but the more I saw, the less I had. They're pretty up front with what they do and while some people seem a little leery or might not feel they're getting the best price, on the whole it seems the folks they buy from understand that there are costs to what they do and those things wouldn't sell the same where they live anyway. This and Pawn Stars have actually personalized these activities quite a bit for me.

Anecdotally, I was also talking with a neighbor who's in the local band High Lonesome. He mentioned that they had gotten a bit of odd publicity recently and asked if I'd ever heard of American Pickers... Apparently he's old friends with Danielle, who also does modeling, and she'd mentioned the band somewhere and they showed up on a gossip blog. This is only strange because they are not the typical musical group to get mentioned on gossip blogs. All in all I think it's a fun show and they seem like some pretty decent folks, is what I'm saying.
posted by nTeleKy at 2:19 PM on October 3, 2011


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