In 2010 a new contender took Tru TV by storm — a show about a father, Les Gold, and his two adult children Ashley and Seth. It was called Hardcore Pawn. The title is a pretty obvious play on words, and in fact, this is kind of their schtick. The Golds are known for controversy, so taking an interesting, to say the least, name fit right up their ally.
The show is set in the family’s native Detroit, MI. Filming happens during store hours when the family and their assorted cast of characters are around. The cast of Hardcore Pawn includes three security guards, a large employee pool, upper managers (including Ashley and Seth), and of course the zany — ranging on deranged — customers.
They take off their shirts, they snatch weaves, and they kick, bite, and swear. Their pawn shop, American Jewelry and Loan, is the Jerry Springer of reality TV (because Jerry Springer isn’t really reality TV). From stealing to sibling rivalry to Dr. Kevorkian’s “deathmobile,” this family puts their dysfunction on primetime TV for the world to see.
With that out of the way, here are the 15 Dark Secrets From Hardcore Pawn You Had No Idea About.
15. One manager got fired and was given his own competing reality show
In the season 5 finale of Hardcore Pawn, a manager who had been with the store for over 20 years was fired for a minor infraction. His name is Rich Pyle, and he had become a fan favorite on the show since the 2010 premiere.
He started working at the store right out of high school and, when he was not buying others and selling valuables, Rich was in a rock band called SuperLast — which explains his ostentatious facial hair.
So what brought on this sudden firing? After a few small slip-ups when Les was in a particularly bad mood, Rich was let go in traditional melodramatic Hardcore Pawn fashion.
After being let go, however, the National Geographic Channel didn’t skip a beat in casting Rich to star in their 2013 reality TV show: Meltdown of the Ice Planet. While this opportunity only lasted a year, Rich seems to now be focusing on his music and a clothing line, RPMGear, with partner Darren Hamilton of Detroit Muscle.
14. Hardcore Pawn has a fierce ongoing feud with Pawn Stars
While many copycats followed the reality TV goldmine that was Pawn Stars, none even touched their success until the Golds hit the scene. Critics say that Hardcore Pawn is a blatant ripoff of Pawn Stars, but the items they take vary a lot and the tone is much different, as the Golds being a bit more controversial/sensationalist.
From gynaecologist exam tables to gold teeth, Hardcore Pawn certainly has a colorful clientele. Pawn Stars, on the other hand, usually features historical or autographed pop culture items — more along the lines of an edgier Antiques Roadshow than an outtake of Maury Povich.
When a radio host asked Les if he had any relationship with the cast of Pawn Stars in 2012, their feud came up. Gold said that he’d tried to visit them when he was in Vegas, but got snubbed. “We went there once, called them [saying that] we were coming, and they never waited for us,” Gold said with some disdain. “I think they’re scared of us. We’re badder than they are. And more fit.”