How fake is it? Very fake, well some of it is anyway. BTW, I mean this Pawn Stars, not adult film actresses: http://www.history.co.uk/shows/pawn-...awn+Stars&ps=1
We all know that some of it is set up, that much is obvious:
1) The cameras don't just start rolling on random days, with the show producer hoping that something interesting will be sold that day. Obviously when someone does bring in something unusual or historically important - 200 year old pistols, Benjamin Franklin's autograph, a John Wayne hat - the seller gets asked if he wouldn't mind coming back on another day when the cameras will be there and pretending that's his first visit.
2) When the seller comes back at the allotted time in front of the cameras, the shop is mysteriously devoid of the tourists that you catch a glimpse of at other times, so obviously they shut the shop for filiming.
3) The seller is told beforehand that Rick is going to say "I just don't know enough about this item, so I'd like my buddy whose an expert to take a look at it, do you mind coming back?" The seller never says "stop wasting my time, either buy it now or I'm off", and Rick's expert buddy is never unavailable or on holiday.
4) Some of the "comedy" scenes are obvious set ups, whether that's the Old Man acting up or Chumlee doing something silly.
5) Is Chumlee really as thick as he's supposed to be? I don't think he is, because in offguard moments he sometimes comes across as intelligent and articulate, so his stupidity is hammed up just to make a more interesting character and sell more T-shirts with his face on them.
That's all the obvious stuff, stuff that is done just to make it more interesting than a fly-on-the-wall show would be.
But this morning, watching an early episode, I saw something that was totally faked.
A guy came into the pawn shop to sell a vintage, rusty, coke bottle vending machine. He said it's been in his family for years and now he wanted to sell it. Rick Harrison, the pawn shop co-owner, bought it for $200. Having seen many subsequent episodes, it was obvious what he would do, he'd take it to Rick Dale, owner of Rick's restorations, and have it fully restored, and Rick Dale would declare that it was now worth two or three times what it had cost to buy and restore (in this case it ended up worth $7500, having cost about $2500 to buy and fix), which makes Rick Harrison very happy and he declares each time "It's a home run".
All well and good. Rick Dale (restorer) looks at the batty vending machine, says it's in bad nick, suggests converting it to vend all sorts of drinks and not just coke, to make it be worth even more. He doesn't bat an eyelid or question where the machine came from. He also introduces his son, Tyler, to Rick Harrison, which is how I knew it was an early episode - in later episodes Tyler is much older and Rick Harrison has already met him many times in the later shows. It's only by having already seen the later shows that I know the whole sale and restoration was a set up.
How? The man who came into the pawn shop to sell the rusty vending machine was called Ron. What we weren't supposed to know is that Ron is the brother of Rick Dale, the owner of Rick's Restorations. Rick Dale has a yard full of rusty vending machines, which he slowly works through, investing a couple of thousand dollars in man hours, restoring them and then selling them on for a large profit.
So why does his brother take one of these machines and sell it to a pawn shop for just $200? He would know full well it's going to end up back in his brother's restoration yard. Ron, the seller, even works for Rick, helping do the restoring.
Watching it, I thought it was part of the script - that Rick the restorer would exclaim "I know this machine, it's from my yard, how did it get in your pawn shop?!". But no, he says nothing. Then, I thought Rick Harrison, the pawn guy, when he comes to pick up the finished machine, will see Ron the seller walk by and he'll exclaim "Hey, that's the guy that sold it to me" and it'll be a comedic moment. But no, we don't see Ron the seller again in that episode. We were just not supposed to know that Ron was Rick Dale's brother and that Rick Dale had given him the machine, to take to Rick Harrison, who knew full well that Rick Dale had given it. That's what I call a set up.