Addicted to reality television – Ice Road Truckers and Pawn Shop Stars

So, how do you know when you have no life and you need to live, vicariously, through others?  When do you, officially, cease being the social butterfly that you once were and become a home bound, boring adult?  Answer:  when you actually start to look forward to watching certain television shows.  And, I am not speaking of ‘normal’ television shows either. No, I am talking high brow entertainment like ‘Ice Road Truckers’ and ‘Pawn Shop Stars.’ 

Who would EVER had thought that a show dedicated to a few daring souls who just happen to haul cargo over the frozen land that is northern Canada and Alaska?  Seriously.  This show is in its third season now and I am mysteriously drawn to it every Sunday at nine in the evening.  This year, it has an equally compelling companion show called ‘Pawn Shop Stars’. 

Pawn Shop is a half hour show that chronicles the ‘Gold and Silver’ Pawn Shop in Las Vegas.  The primary characters are the patriarch, his son, his grandson and a guy named ‘Chumley’ (which, I suppose, is better than a guy named Sue.)  Each half hour shows three or four customers who bring in really odd and/or interesting items that usually have some kind of history behind them (hence, the reason it is on the ‘History’ Channel-no such tie in with the Ice Road Truckers.)  Oddly, I find the four guys interesting and funny to watch.  The patriarch is a crotchety old man who looks-and dresses-like he would have fit right in with the men who once made up Las Vegas’ ruling elite.  The son is a slightly overweight and bald guy who looks a bit intimidating but is decidedly more mild mannered than his father.  His son is an overweight guy that is just learning the ropes but thinks he knows way more.  Lastly, Chumley at least knows his place as the likable idiot. Well, idiot is too harsh, but the guy is not the brightest bulb in the bunch.

So far, on Pawn Shop, we’ve seen a very rare cannon that was built in the 1890’s, a world war II uniform jacket worm by a general who was from Nevada and a rare 1980’s Chris Craft boat.  Other items have been highlighted, but these are among the more interesting.

Ice Road Truckers, this season, is in Alaska and only two of the original cast is back.  Alex and Hugh are considered rookies this season because they are new to Alaska.  Both have not done as well as the previous two season.  Alex has been plagued with mechanical problems and having to wait for whomever his partner is and Hugh has also been saddled with lots of wait times because he has to drive in a convoy of at least two trucks.  He also got a ticket due to an incorrect entry in his log book.  They take that very seriously in Alaska.  As they should.  Driving up to 80,000 pounds of goods and truck on ice is something that should be taken very seriously.  If someone, four years ago, would have told me I’d be hooked on show about this, I would have laughed.  Sadly, though, I am hooked.

This is, however, reality television like no other.  It is not a game and the people are definitely real.  It is reality television that is compelling and fun to watch.  And, most importantly, neither show has anyone named ‘Jon’ or ‘Kate’.

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