Ode to This Old House
I’ve been a fan of This Old House since I was a little kid. I liked it so much that my grandpa suggested I go into heating and cooking. Unfortunately, I couldn’t hammer a nail straight to save my life. But I still like the show.
Unlike so many other shows on television, (I’m looking at you, “Pawn Stars”), “This Old House” focuses on the work at hand rather than the interpersonal drama. It seems you can’t make a documentary nowadays without adding some reality show like aspect. If you want to watch Rick Dale fix up an old gas pump on “American Restoration”, you have to sit through a bunch of pseudo-scripted drama between the employees and family members. I was okay with that trade off for the first couple seasons, but when they retooled the show to include more drama and less work, I had to stop watching it entirely.
This Old House is different. They show people getting work done. They never show a contractor berating an underling for screwing up some shingles. And unlike so many other shows, they don’t insert long, drawn-out pauses with dramatic music. Instead they have long, drawn-out scenes of some guy installing drywall or mitering a piece of crown moulding. Some people may find it boring, but I love it. As a writer and an artist, I like watching people build and make things. I appreciate craft, and I respect the hell out of the folks on This Old House. I can only hope that the show stays true to its roots, and leaves the reality show aspects for the so-called History Channel.