I posed that as a question only because (A) I haven’t seen every single reality show, so I can’t honestly make a definitive judgement on what’s the absolute worst.
(B) I actually do watch this show, so maybe its awfulness has a look-at-me badness to it that makes it almost good. (I said “maybe” and “almost”, OK?)
In any case, it’s Hardcore Pawn, which has the aptly named Gold family running a raunchy pawn shop in Detroit, filled with sad cases desperate for some pocket change.
The customers will bring in a drum set or scratched-up goblets or maybe some toilet bowls that have been jazzed up as go-carts (true story), and that’s all fine enough. People have to use their imaginations to make some extra coinage these days.
It’s when the show brings on screaming, out of control customers who are obviously capital-a Acting that you want to hock the whole experience and run for safety, especially when they take on an unfortunate racial-stereotyping feeling.
One episode has some crazed black woman swearing that her boyfriend had brought her TV to the shop without her permission and she desperately wants it back. “I want my TV,” she shrieks unimaginatively about 1000 times. “It’s my TV. I want it back.” She storms into the place and points to a TV set on a shelf, purely at random. “I think that’s my TV,” she screams. “I want it back! I want my TV!” [“I think that’s my TV”???? Wouldn’t a shrieking nightmare be a little more definite?]
This goes on and on, and not for one second is the harpy any more convincing than the efforts of the Golds and their security team, who half-heartedly try to restrain the woman while making sure they’re angling for the right camera shot.
I like my fake reality shows to be a little more convincing, or I don’t want my TV, thank you. This show’s transactions too often make you feel like you’ve been a little bit had, and there’s no way to go back to the counter and renegotiate a better deal.
Still, I’ll be watching. As a fantasy-slash-nightmare scenario about society’s forgotten dregs, Pawn can be quite addictive.