Most of us remember that wonderful song from South Park Kyles Mom is a big fat bitch. I, for one, got hours of enjoyment watching it over and over and singing the many variations it inspired. It never dawned on me that Sheila Broflowski was a bitch, she was just the stereo typical Jewish mother. But over the last 2 years, I have found a new contender, worth of a song proclaiming her bitchiness: Ashley Broad.
Let me digress. One embarrassing fact is that I like some (but clearly not all) reality TV. It started with Survivor and expanded to the Amazing Race and even to Pawn Stars. Rick Harrison and his crew have the formula down, but after a while the “Neato Item of the Episode” got tiresome. And we all know Chumly is not as dense as they portray him. It’s the shtick we chose to ignore. And the cast of experts leaves me lukewarm. Forensic document expert Drew is just plain creepy. After a while, it became tedious and it fell off the back of the DVR. OK, I pushed it off.
One day I was channel surfing, which takes quite a while. We get 600 channels or so. Remember when we scoffed at The Boss’ 57 channels (And Nothin’ on)? 57 choices seemed like a dream to me then. Anyway, I ran across this silly little show on a silly little network called Hardcore Pawn. The name alone made me smile. I’d not heard of TruTV, but what the heck, right?
Hardcore Pawn is the exact opposite of Pawn Stars. Sure, there are interesting items from time to time, but mostly it is about crazy customers and the dysfunctional Gold Family. Every week, there is a 70/30 ratio of crazies to normal people shown at American Jewelry and Loan in Detroit. What a premise, one of the country’s largest pawnshops in one of America’s most broken cities. Each week, people come in demanding “their money” and creating chaos, forcing the very large security guards to escort, carry or push them out. It is a sideshow of humanity that maybe as bad as Honey Boo-Boo. And know that just because we know who she is, does not mean we have ever tuned it. We did see her once on a morning show clip. That was too much.
The outrageous behavior of the poor or addicted or just plain crazy is off the charts in Detroit. Women wearing tights when tents would have been risqué, men missing more teeth than those remaining and too many people a basket short of a picnic all show up over the course of a season. I firmly believe that some of those people who believe CZs are diamonds are real, but I also believe that at least 40% of the wack-a-doos are put up to their shenanigans by the producers. Not that I know or can prove it. (Though, I have found a few message boards where people attest to being asked to “act” a certain way.)
Beyond the pale of the crazies (one woman wanted to sell her boyfriend’s “Prince Albert”) and the not so crazies (people need money for funerals and school), there is the real drama; the Gold family is one of the most unlikable families I have ever met. At first, Les (the father) and Seth (his son) were pleasant enough, just a bit off center for TV. Ashley was always a bitch. Every week Lambchop and I would debate it. I thought she was a huge bitch from the go. Lambchop thought I was reacting poorly to her being a strong woman. I don’t think a strong woman looks for any reason to undermine her brother and is continually is a divisive force. Heck as a manager, she always plays “I’m the boss so you do what I say” card constantly. I’ve rarely seen her listen to anyone. Even when she’s horribly wrong, she still thinks she’s right. Let’s be honest, I have never ever seen a redeeming quality in her. I wonder what her kids think.
There are two questions here. First is she really that much of bitch? From my perspective she is the Superman of Bitches, with no kryptonite left on Earth. Second, whether she is or not, why let yourself be shown like this on TV? This is not the editing that takes place on other shows; this is full on “I’m watching my brother to catch all his mistakes so I can shame him” and yelling at the crazies AFTER they have been thrown out. I think the Kaiser Chiefs’ I Predict a Riot should be the show’s theme song. Week in, week out, I’m appalled at her behavior. I feel bad for her husband, who we’ve not met. On the other hand, I know Honey Boo-Boo’s mother has a boyfriend, so we know there is all kinds of stupid and stupider in the world.
Recently, we had a breakthrough. Unprovoked, Lambchop said that she finally agreed (albeit reluctantly) that, yes, Ashley Broad is a bitch. Victory was mine. Sadly, my mind had moved on. I am now convinced that Les and Seth are giant assholes too. Each too self absorbed in being right and abrasive. There are grudges and fights and very few examples of love or teamwork. These days Betrayal is the secret word. I keep watching for the magic duck from the ceiling.
This week I was appalled at the treatment Ashley (being a tattletale, not a manager) and Les gave to Rich, their 26-year employee. Rich always seems likable and level headed. He’s the employee you want. The TV show goes out of its way to show his small (or human) mistakes. The the response to said mistake is shown like a tornado ripping through a trailer park. “Fire Him!” Seriously? Am I not supposed to think this is contrived? Wait, they did this last season also. If he is so bad, why has he been there 26 years? I’ve reached the conclusion that too much of it is fake.
After reading this article, I’m sure it is. You’ve got to love the internet and easy hyperlinks. They like Ashley. I get the advertising angle, but why show yourselves to be such unlikable people week after week.
Now you know my dirty little reality TV secret. I will probably keep watching but I don’t want to. And I’m sure you’ll tune in once to see what I am talking about. TruTV won’t pay me for your eyeballs, but I appreciate you reading to the end today..