There’s a new show on the tube (TruTV to be exact) that attempts to combine the haggling excitement of Pawn Stars, the build challenges of American Guns and the drama of Sons of Guns. It already sounds like a concept that a TV executive concocted sitting at a boardroom table and then shoehorned into reality. And from the moment it starts you know for a fact that it’s going to be absolutely terrible. Let me go ahead and give you the highlights from just the pilot so I can save you the trouble of actually watching this thing . . .
The opening scene (video above) is these guys clearing the parking lot of their gun store/pawn shop “high speed low drag” style. Seriously, they were all tactical’ed up and doing their best Call of Duty imitation right there in the lot, in full view of the highway and assorted other stores. They tried to play it off like they do that every day because of the threat of robberies, but something tells me that waving rifles around and deliberately pointing them in directions where people probably are sounds like a Grade A case of brandishing.
I visibly cringed as I watched one of the macho guys slicing the pie around the parking lot and considered turning it off then and there, but I had to go on. I had to finish the episode. For science. For you. And so I could make fun of it on the internet later.
The first “segment” they came to was a plot line about making a rifle for a wounded vet. And in true Sons of Guns fashion, they just took a bunch of pre-made parts, slapped them together and claimed they “built” the rifle. No sir, you placed commercially available objects onto an existing factory fresh rifle. When the biggest tool used is an Allen wrench there’s no building involved.
Then the show moves into “Pawn Stars” rip-off mode. It’s pretty much shot for shot what Pawn Stars does — the customer comes in, quick shot of an interview outside the store, some brief discussion of price and then its done. The difference here is that there’s apparently a $500 cap per item on a pawn in their state so that puts a ceiling on the “excitement” level of any haggling. The guy who just pawned his loaded Springfield M1A and kitted out M4gery looked quite displeased that he only got around 1/6th the street value for his guns.
And then there’s insufferable customer #1. This girl waltzes in with a shotgun her grandfather gave her — a beautiful double barreled (SxS) shotgun — that she’s looking to sell because (and this is the greatest part) she wants to go and get really drunk on a cruise. She stops right before the word “wasted” comes out of her mouth, but you could tell it was right there on the tip of her tongue.
She then proceeds to be an absolutely miserable human being, cursing and insulting the store employee who’s about to offer her cash for the gun. Which was bad enough, until the guy behind the counter started cursing right back and made a statement to the effect that she probably has no friends, and any she may have are probably all strippers.
Yup, it’s a class operation.
Then we come to the big test-fire of the gun they “built” for the wounded vet. While I’m not the greatest shot in the world, I’m happy to say I can – at a bare minimum – put rounds through an index card at 20 yards with whatever you give me from any position. These guys, though, were struggling to keep their shots on paper on a large silhouette target using a scoped rifle and a bipod.
We’re talking about employees who implied that they’re former military and work at a gun store, and yet they couldn’t get anything better than a “minute of bad guy” out of a Leupold scope and an FNAR rifle. For reference, any new shooter (never fired a gun before) I take to the range leaves having shot a 2 MoA 3-round group within an hour of arriving. Yeah it was probably staged, but somehow it makes me feel better thinking that these are just actors brought in to play a role instead of real shop employees.
Next up was the requisite shop drama, and it was so obviously scripted that it was obvious to even me. I’m not even going to take any more time discussing it.
Finally, we come to the “reveal” of the rifle they “modified” for the wounded vet. And really the only thing they did was throw on a bipod and scope, which I guess is a modification in the literal sense of the word but compared to even the stuff Red Jacket usually is up to falls completely short of the mark for entertainment value.
So in short, what we have is a show that tried to combine elements from three rather successful television shows and fails completely in every way. The haggling is kneecapped by a cap on the amount you can get for pawning something, and the lackluster items combined with customers that lack the charm of those on Pawn Stars makes the whole thing fall flat on its face. The “customization” section ala American Guns was completely uninteresting — American Guns makes their own stuff from hand, but in this case the only labor that needs to be done is opening the bubble wrap. And the Sons of Guns esque shop drama is overblown and really just makes you hate everyone on the show.
There is not one single redeeming feature about this show. Sons of Guns at least had some comedic moments, some mechanical ingenuity and some charm to it. American Guns builds its own stuff and has tons of expertise to bring to bear for projects. And Pawn Stars is just great all around. Each of those shows, while not exactly portraying gun owners in exactly the light we would like, helps to promote the normality of firearms and makes gun owners seem like normal people. This show does the exact opposite, making gun owners seem like paranoid douchebags.
It’s like they found that one gun store (there’s one in every area) where the owner is a complete dick, rips everyone off and no semi-intelligent human would ever walk in the door more than once, and then put them on TV. Its actively hurting our image as responsible gun owners.
As the show came to an end, I was praying that a merciful God would see what was going on and nuke the store from orbit. None of the main characters had a single redeeming value to them, and there really was no compelling reason to watch another episode. Ever. It was the worst show I had ever seen, and I’ve seen every episode of the Jersey Shore.
So now you know.