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Archive for Tuesday, June 12, 2012

‘Kings’ put stock in trade

June 12, 2012

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Just what we need. Another show about stuff. Steve McHugh and Antonio Palazzola, the stars of “Barter Kings” (8 p.m., A&E), are determined to own a lot of things. But they also have this thing about cash. They don’t use it.

They barter for everything they acquire. And in every installment of “Kings,” they will compete in a series of barters to see who trades up the best and ends up with the most valuable item.

We quickly learn that bartering is a lot like poker. It’s all in the face, the attitude and the ability to read your fellow barterer’s strengths and weaknesses. When Antonio sets off to trade a couple of Elvis Presley gold records for a dirt bike worth much more, he discovers that the other guy’s wife is an Elvis buff, and she hates the dirt bike because her son broke his leg while riding it. With that information, Antonio knows he’s in the driver’s seat.

After a number of trades, Antonio goes from owning the $250 Elvis collectibles to snagging a boat worth $8,000. Steve parlays a $700 laptop into a $15,000 pickup truck. It’s interesting to watch, particularly because Antonio suffers from Tourette’s syndrome and can have problems keeping a straight face during tough negotiations. “Kings” also acknowledges that in a bad economy, some folks are flush with merchandise, but desperately short of ready money.

This being basic cable, “Kings” takes place in a world of tough guys. Most of the traders sport multiple tattoos, shaved heads and massive muscles. At times it looks like a casting call for a prison break movie. But almost every trader appears to be unloading stuff at his wife’s request, or because of her ultimatum. I guess if it weren’t for women, tough guys wouldn’t part with anything.

Tonight’s other highlights

• Jimmy Kimmel talks basketball (7 p.m., ABC), followed by “NBA Countdown” (8:30 p.m., ABC).

• Perfection sought on “Hell’s Kitchen” (7 p.m., Fox).

• Game one of the 2012 NBA Finals (8 p.m., ABC).

• Discomfort abounds on “MasterChef” (8 p.m., Fox).

• Hot heads and cold weather on “Deadliest Catch” (8 p.m., Discovery).

• Superstardom strikes on “Jane By Design” (8 p.m., ABC Family).

• “Teen Mom” (9 p.m., MTV) returns for a final season.

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