The Learning Channel (TLC) dips its programming toes in the antiques and collectibles TV show waters — very tentatively.
The first try was Pawn Queens, a show not listed anywhere on the TLC website.
Pawn Queens follows the activities of Tom Brunzelle, Greg Holloway, Nikki Ruehl, and Minda Grabiec as they run the Naperville, Illinois, Jewelry & Loan. Since the pawn and resale shop tries to attract mainly female customers, the focus of the show is Nikki Ruehl and Minda Grabiec.
The first two trial episodes focused on the blunders of their business — a misplaced $9,000 diamond ring, not enough cash on hand to purchase a vintage Barbie, and, my favorite, when two of the partners clash over the purchase of an antique stove which needs a lot of restoration. (What made it my favorite was that Tom and Minda bicker like an old married couple; Tom’s purchase and beautiful professional restoration “wins” in terms of eventually satisfying Minda, but we never do see the stove sell so…)
At TV By The Numbers, where the press release for the show was published, there are many negative comments. Most of the comments are, in my opinion, extremely sexist. Not just the obvious comments on breasts, but the comparisons to Pawn Stars (of which I am a fan) are clearly filled with heated testosterone.
Even the more serious complaints at other sites of improper use of diamond testers and jewelers loupes are rather ridiculous — this is television! When have you ever seen any cast member or expert on any of the plethora of antiques and collectibles shows even put on a pair of archival gloves when handling fragile old documents? Grrr!
And, yeah, I think they (eventually) did over-pay for the Barbie; but then I don’t sell in the Illinois market. I’m always rather struck by prices on these shows from California and Las Vegas which suggest prices we dealers can’t fathom here in Fargo — but that, long with the mistakes made and rare finds, are rather part of why I’m entertained and, somewhat, educated by these collectibles shows.
I saw the first two episodes of Pawn Queens and rather liked them; but after frantically searching for more, I couldn’t find any… The show isn’t listed at the production company’ website either, so I suspect it has been canceled.
However, in searching the channel guide so often, I found TLC’s second try, What The Sell?!
What The Sell?! isn’t only TLC’s return to antiques and collectibles television — it’s another return to Illinois and, for the jaded, a return to the reality show Pawn Stars format of three generations running a business.
In this show, the action is focused on Kate Martin (the daughter), Judy Martin (Kate’s mother), and Gloria Moroni (Kate’s grandmother), the owners and appraisers of The Perfect Thing, an upscale consignment boutique in Wheaton, IL. That means more antiques, art, and decorative pieces than in many of the other shows which seem so male focused.
As you might guess, there are the usual family frictions, such as when Daughter doesn’t listen to Mom when having a chair reupholstered, and the usual dickering — including among the ladies for who has the right to purchase and take home a favored item. And lots of giggling when Grandma is the only one mature enough to discuss the 1920s tin of condoms found inside a Flapper’s purse.
I’ve only seen one and a half episodes of this new(ish) show, but it holds some interest.
My only real comment is that TLC ought to commit to antiques and collectibles programming, give us a chance to find new shows — especially in a busy holiday season.