Ain’t nothin’ like the real thing

As Smokey Robinson so wisely taught us long ago.

It appears that the magic of “Pawn Stars” is limited to the actual Gold & Silver Pawn Shop cast, at least if you value the opinion of critic Steve Bornfeld.

There’s a Vegas show called “Pawn Shop Live!” that’s supposed to be a spoof of the top-rated cable “reality show.” Vegas Steve didn’t like it when it opened early this year, and now that it has been revamped, he likes it even less:

Flashing back to the original Pawn Shop Live! at the Golden Nugget in February, I labeled it “an amateurish misfire of major proportions.” Updating to the rewritten Pawn Shop Live! at the Riviera, I amend that to “an amateurish misfire of TITANIC proportions.”

We suggest authenticity counts with tongue in cheek. Much as we like “Pawn Stars” and appreciate how much it has done to enhance the reputation of pawn shops everywhere, life with Rick and the family is not really what pawnbroking is like.

Pawnshops, including our Maui pawn shop, do get fascinating, rare and curious items from time to time, but emphasize time to time. Not all the time, like on “Pawn Stars.”

Here’s a secret: TV reality shows are scripted. And not only that, but a show like “Pawn Stars” has agents who comb the country for telegenic items to “pawn.” The owners, who get a chance to explain their treasures on a big stage, cooperate but those are not real transactions.

The valuation offered by Rick may be authentic,  but it’s all for show not dough.

If you think about it for a moment, you can understand. It costs thousands — in the case of “Pawn Stars” tens of thousands — of dollars to create each minute of program. The producers cannot wait around until the next interesting customer walks in.

Even “Antiques Roadshow,” which does draw thousands of hopefuls to each city it visits, sends out advance agents to recruit good antiques and even arranges to transport the big items (like Federal-period highboys) to the auditorium where the show is taped.

If you want to see a real pawn shop in action, come down to 52 North Market Street any day of the week. But you might have to wait several days for any excitement.