Is the History Channel's show 'American Pickers' fake? Do you think the show is just staged? I don't. I can get sucked into Mike and Frankie picking anything. I think the show is real and I want to prove one blogger wrong.

An author named Russel Scott wrote a blog titled "The History Channel's American Pickers is FAKE!" on April 9th of 2012. In his post, he writes the "truth" behind one of your favorite shows. I however think he got the truth wrong.

Mike Wolfe is the brainchild of American Pickers and what the audience watches is essentially his artistic vision, but it's art, not an actual program documenting two grown men travelling the back roads of America in a white truck. And that's the tell...if it were truth or anything near it, this would be labelled as a documentary mini-series, but it's not, it's Reality-TV™."

The only time I may say that Scott is right is this first part of the review. Yes, American Pickers is a Reality TV show. However, reality TV can also be a form of documentary. Am I wrong in saying that? I don't think so.

In 2006, Mike Wolfe approached Justin Anderson, the owner of Crazy Eyes Productions with the idea for American Pickers. At that same time, Frank Fitz, Mike Wolfe's lifelong friend was a safety and fire inspector, oddly, Frank never seems to mention this on the show. Considering how many sellers have piles of junk stored in unsafe conditions, it's fitting that the "pickers" 'burn' the sellers, perhaps before nature does."

Let's talk about Frank. A lot is known to fans about him, but what's not known? One article from The Quad City Times gives you a great picture of Frank. In the article, it does mention his role as a fire inspector:

Fritz worked for 25 years as a fire inspector, covering an area from Des Moines to Cedar Falls, Iowa, and began picking up firefighter and firehouse-related trinkets. After he bought one item for $15 and sold it for $475, he thought he could make a living that way. In 2002, he quit his job and established Frank’s Finds, traveling the country to find objects he eventually could sell."

So it looks like Frank was a fire inspector, but clearly he wasn't making enough money. In 2002 he left the fire business. 2002 was 11 years ago. Fire codes probably change all the time. I'm going to give Frank the benefit of the doubt on this one. I'm sure off camera he may mention if anything is deemed dangerous, but at the end of the day, he's not a fire inspector anymore. Growing up I was a manager at McDonald's. When I go to McDonald's today I don't ask to see their meat temps, see the cook time, or anything else.

One more example, let's take an extreme level.... Nazis. Wernher von Braun was a German rocket scientist during WW2. Von Braun helped design missles and rockets the Nazis used during the war. Once the war was nearing the end, Von Braun surrendered to the Americans. From that point forward, he began designing rockets for the U.S. Government. Guess what rocket he invented at some point? The Saturn Rocket that took men to the moon. Yes he was a Nazi at some point, but when life was good in the 1960's, he wasn't a Nazi. Do you think Nasa reminded him of being a Nazi on a daily basis? I'm guessing they didn't.

Let's get back to debating Scott, this part will be fun...

The addition of Danielle was less obvious mind you. From female roller-derby star to burlesque performer and fashion designer, Danielle Colby-Cushman, a Jehovah's Witness and mother of three, knew nothing of antiques, with the sole exception being her decade-long friendship with Mike Wolfe.

Once the show had been given the green-light for cable TV, Mike Wolfe quickly gave her an acting gig and now plays the role of "office manager" at Antique Archaeology.

Sadly, one has to assume that her inclusion is to sell sex, unfortunately she isn't sexy and no matter how hard the show tries or pretends, no one is buying Danielle's "junk". If

you've ever wondered why she is filmed behind a desk 95% of the time, the picture to the right should explain it."

Scott's logic behind Danielle is screwed up. Unknown to some of the show's fans, Danielle is a close friend of Mike, and has been for over ten years before the concept of the show had even been developed. So yes, Scott had that part right. Once the show was sold to the History Channel, Mike asked Danny D to work at the office of the antique shop because he wanted someone that did not look like they would work in any antique shop work there to make antiques look cool. So yes, she didn't originally work there, but she works there now. I'm sure she has learned a ton since working there. Yes, at times it seems she doesn't know much... but guess what, she has that job.

Back to Danny D: Also, I'm pretty sure she isn't always filmed behind a desk. She went on a few picks, and she's always working around the shop. Pretty sure you had that part wrong Scott. She may be annoying at times, but her fans are very loyal. The show would not be the same without her. Love her or hate her, Danny D is the manager of the shop.

Aerial shots of the Antique Archaeology van driving down the interstate are taken in various locations and the staged dialogue between Mike and Frank inside are filmed on set locations. In fact, they don't even carpool."

I imagine some of the dialogue is staged, but not it all. These guys are good friends, and good friends have bizarre conversations. Imagine being in a van for hours on end, weird conversations will happen. I'm sure history doesn't show all the conversations, and yes I'm sure some of the conversations are faked. Ones I think may be fake are when the boys get a call from Danny, and seconds later seem to be at the Pick.

Even if the conversations were faked, does it effect your view on the show? People watch this show to escape reality. There conversations aren't harming anyone, so if they are faked... who cares.

Mike and Frank travel in separate vehicles to the various locations along with a cavalcade of set dressing trucks, camera trucks, wardrobe trailers, hair & makeup trailers, etc. They have prior knowledge of the salvaged antiques to be purchased and no actual negotiation has taken place, all of that happens months prior to the filming. People who work for the production company do the real 'leg-work' and source out potential sellers. The production company then auditions them and various items are chosen for sale. A cheque for the item and their appearance on the program is given. At some point, Mike and Frank do the filming on location, which again is entirely staged, they search for nothing, they 'find' nothing, this is all done pre-production."

That was a powerful paragraph... do you need a second to relax? I do.

Let's talk about the production company part first... Yes, I'm sure a production company looks into leads of people that apply. A Representative probably goes out to check the site first and give the boys a heads up if there may be anything good, or just skip the pick. Also, according to law, when you film anything, people need to sign paperwork. Filming crews need approval before filming on a location. I'm sure that they screen people first. It makes total sense.

Also, has this guy even seen the show? Does it look like these guys wear make up when they are climbing through piles of junk? I'm sure filming trucks show up on location, but not by the way Scott thinks. These boys get covered in dust, rust, and God knows what else.

Another thing, when Frank and Mike pick through peoples junk, you can tell that these items haven't been moved in years. If Frank and Mike are good actors, these common people on the show they pick from aren't actors. These people couldn't fake reactions to finding their items in mountains of garbage. If those people are actors too, then History needs to start making movies. They could fool millions of people worldwide with these actors. I'm sure people audition to be on the show, but not in the way that Scott points out.

Scott is telling people that the Van isn't real. Mike and Frank don't drive it, and they don't drive together. I don't agree at all. Maybe the van isn't real, but, I'm pretty sure having them drive separate would be a waste in gas and time.

Does Mike Wolfe actually sell antiques? Yes. In addition to the money paid in salary by The History Channel, American Pickers makes for a great commercial. In the same way Pawn Stars allows Rick Harrison to inflate his merchandise by 300%; American Pickers allows Antique Archaeology to sell its items at an industry inflated price. Is it Evil? No. It is America™, the land of corporate greed and deception. I only suggest that you don't quit your day job in hopes of striking it rich in the world of "picking", that is...unless you can it sell it to a cable company."

I've had the pleasure of heading out to Vegas recently and making a trip to the Pawn Stars shop. Yes some of the items are over priced, but honestly, not everything. It's a business. It's a pawn shop. Rick and sell his items for what ever. Also, 300% is a little nuts. I bought a coin proof set that I know sells for around 10 bucks normally for 20. Yes it was a little more, but, it was from the "Pawn Shop". People pay higher to own memorabilia from places like that. It's no difference then selling Bibles at different prices.

If Mike Wolfe wants to sell his antiques higher, that's his business. This is America. If you don't want to buy from him, go pick yourself. Go buy it on eBay if it's cheaper.


Despite Scott's article I still feel the show is real. There is no reason to fake picking items. I'm sure people sign up a long list of places these boys could visit, but that's not fake at all.  Even if the show was faked, America loves it. Americans love the idea of making money on finding treasure. Mike and Frank let regular people escape their day and watch great TV. It's about creating memories and moments, Frank and Mike do that for people.... and so does Danny D.


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