Cajun Pawn Stars: Season 1
A&E Video // PG // $19.95 // September 18, 2012
Review by Aaron Beierle | posted September 26, 2012
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"Cajun Pawn Stars" is a prime example of what's wrong with reality programming. It's nothing against the Southern aspect in the slightest (it could be "Canadian Pawn Stars"...eh?), it's simply the matter of taking an idea that works well and mining everything out of it until the audience tires of it.

It's one thing to make something similar to another popular show, but efforts like "Storage Wars: Texas" and "Cajun Pawn Stars" don't even require slightly new ideas - they're essentially the same show, different location, different people. Even I could come up with a new idea: take Chumlee when "Pawn" isn't filming, and have him drive across the country, visiting with different pawn shops large and small, watching transactions, chatting up customers and seeing some of the shop's coolest items. Still pawn, but more variety and Chumlee as a dopey version of Rick Steves as he drives across the US (you could call it "Pawn in the USA".)

However, what neither show really understands is that the success of the originals are due in considerable part to the personalities involved. As staged as "Storage Wars" may be, the series works well in part due to the casting, as highly different personalities (and Barry Weiss, who deserves his own show and can't be replicated) clash perfectly.

Same with the original "Pawn", right down to Chumlee, who - for some reason - kind of reminds me of Glomer from the "Punky Brewster" cartoons. The original "Pawn" stars apparently weren't even aware "Cajun" was being produced.

"Cajun" isn't without positives. The series takes place at the Silver Dollar Pawn Center in Alexandria, VA and focuses on Jimmie "Big Daddy" DeRamus (the "Old Man" of this version), who runs the shop along with staff and family members, including his daughter and little brother. Much like the original "Pawn", experts are occasionally called in to appraise certain items, although not as frequently as in the original series. The show amps up the Southern feel to a bit of a silly degree - among other aspects, someone happens to bring in a copy of the General Lee car from "Dukes".

The series does offer some educational value, as the items - including everything from livestock to a beautiful old cash register - are discussed in detail and we learn the history of each. Again, the series isn't without some positives, but it feels so desperately (and a little more thought than "same thing, just elsewhere" would have been nice) like an attempt to cash in further on the success of "Pawn".


The DVD

VIDEO: Crisp, clear 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen presentation from A & E. Colors look warm and clean, with no smearing or other faults.

SOUND: Well-recorded 2.0 audio.

EXTRAS: No extras.

Final Thoughts: "Cajun" isn't without some positives, but it feels so desperately (and a little more thought than "same thing, just elsewhere" would have been nice) like an attempt to cash in further on the success of "Pawn".



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