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Pawn Stars (“I’ve Got a Buddy Who’s an Expert in X”) is an image macro series based on History Channel’s reality TV series with the same name, which documents interesting events that take place at a family-run pawn shop in Las Vegas, Nevada. The captions typically make fun of the shop owner Rick Harrison’s haggling methods, such as his resort to outside experts when negotiating the price of an item with a customer.
The pilot episode of Pawn Stars was picked up by History Channel and aired on July 19th, 2009. The series focuses on the everyday lives of the shop founder Richard Harrison (“The Old Man”), his son Rick Harrison and Rick’s son Corey. One of the recurring segments in the series is the price evaluation and negotiation process, during which Rick frequently resorts to seeking advice from a mysterious “buddy who’s an expert in” the field that is relevant to the item on the table.
Pawn Stars was well received upon its debut and by January 2011, it became History Channel’s highest-rated show and the second highest-rated reality series on TV behind Jersey Shore.
The meme started on 4chan’s /b/ board on February 25th, 2010, when an anonymous user posted the opening monologue of the show:
“I’m Rick Harrison and this is my pawn shop. I work here with my old man and my son, Big Hoss, and in 23 years I’ve learned one thing. You never know what is gonna come through that door.”
The post turned into a success and went on to spawn additional threads on 4chan’s /b/ (random) board, where many others began sharing advice animal-style image macros captioned with cliche negotiation tactics mainly associated with the shop owner Rick Harrison.
In the following months, the series spread across a number of notable hubsites including FARK forum and FunnyJunk in June and IGN board in July. In addition to the “Pawn Stars” series, similar advice animal series labeled “Rick Harrison” and “Pawn Star Rick” also surfaced on Meme Generator.
Throughout 2011, discussion threads containing “Pawn Stars” image macros continued to surface on Body Building Forum and internet humor sites like Memebase, Tumblr and Buzzfeed. Several verbatim quotes from the episodes have been used as captions in the image macros, most notably “I’m really interested in this item, but I don’t know enough about it,” “There’s no market for stuff like that” and “I’ve got a buddy who’s an expert in this and I’d like to have him take a look at it.”
4chan Prank Call
On October 4th, 2011, an anonymous user on 4chan posted an image of Pawn Stars cast members with the shop’s phone number, instructing others to “prank call Pawn Stars and ask for Battletoads and post results” as replies. The thread was well received by other anonymous users and generated hundreds of responses detailing their phone conversations.
The meme itself depicts a photo of pawn shop owner Rick Harrison, standing with arms crossed, giving a knowing look to the camera. Outside of image macros, the joke has been also practiced in the form of text replies which involves someone posting an image of any particular object, followed by another user’s response with a picture of Harrison and cliche quotes from the series downplaying its worthiness.
Search queries for “pawn stars” began to rise drastically beginning in July 2009, nearly coinciding with the premiere of the pilot episode in the month prior.
FARK – How Pawn Stars Launched a Hot New Genre and May Earn Academy Respect. This article is interesting and would look great on my web browser, but I’m going to need an expert to take a look at it