Cajun Pawn Stars: Season One Review [DVD]
Author: Jessica Grabert
published: 2012-09-13 21:13:41
Cajun Pawn Stars should be a bigger, bolder, and weirder spin-off of the Pawn Stars TV operation begun with Rick and the gang back in 2009. In some ways this proves the case; in the first episode, for instance, pawn shop owner Jimmie “Big Daddy” DeRamus makes a wild deal for a donkey. However, in other ways, the urgent need for some of the customers to pawn can be a bit disheartening and the nature of the relationship between the “regular” pawners and the shop workers can sometimes keep the shop from making the best deal. DeRamus’ ties to the community are at the heart of History’s series, but they also prove to be a bit of a downer.
Only eight episodes were produced during the first official season of Cajun Pawn Stars and unlike its sister series—which often releases sets thrown together out of random episodes— Cajun Pawn Stars: Season 1 features all of the episodes from the show's first stab in their entirety. While it is nice to be able to view the episodes in the order that they aired, the set itself is one of the most barebones DVD sets of I’ve ever seen. Regardless, the price is right—only $19.95—and the episodes should be what fans are buying for, anyway.
Some of the filming tactics used in Cajun Pawn Stars are pretty familiar territory. Various experts are brought in when the shop is unsure of the value of an item they are looking at. Jimmy and the gang have several weapons experts, as well as a historical expert and a guy who solely looks at boats. Leftfield Pictures, the company behind both series, also sticks to its guns in terms of featuring trivia. During each episode, multiple choice questions will pop up at the end of segments and viewers will learn an occasional fact from other pop ups onscreen.
Cajun Pawn Stars hits its stride when Jimmie DeRamus gets to talk about pieces he is extremely excited about. I always thought Rick and Old Hoss on Pawn Stars knew a lot of random details, but DeRamus blows them out of the water. In one episode, the man takes apart an antique watch to determine whether or not it is in good working order and then pops it back together again just as easily. In another episode, Big Daddy discusses the history of an old plane flown by WASP’s during WWII. He even has an animal fact database stuck somewhere in his head. DeRamus is not simply a collector, and he truly seems invested in the pieces he is accumulating. The man is even fond of calling his shop a “museum” instead of a “place to unload your junk and pick up other weird stuff.”
Unfortunately, that investment can sometimes run the business owner into a little bit of trouble. The people who come into The Silver Dollar Pawn & Jewelry Center are often really needing to pawn or sell an item in order to make a quick dollar. Having many of the same people frequent the shop can give Cajun Pawn Stars more of a down home feel. However, it is also disheartening to see the same people pop in over and over again, hoping to be able to earn a little extra cash to keep on surviving. It probably makes it hard for Jimmie to look for the best profit margin, as well. It’s a whole different ballpark when people seem to be pawning because they need the money and not because they want to gamble on the Strip.
Overall, The Silver Dollar Pawn & Jewelry Center offers a lot of unique items and the employees working there really seem to know their stuff. I’m not sure what kind of turnover the shop achieves each year, but watching the oddball products come in is still fascinating and engaging. As this set stands, however, it’s cheaply produced picture and lack of bonus features completely detracts from the overall quality of the episodes. When the ongoing second season finally gets a full-length DVD release, hopefully A&E Home Video will pursue a set that has a few more bells and whistles, and maybe a few less farm animals.
Length: 240 min.
Distributor: A&E Home Video
Release Date: 09/18/2012
Starring: Jimmie DeRamus
Directed by: Meredith Voges, Brian Reichelt
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