THIS OL MANSION?
I loved that show. Bob would pick a home and home owner to do a remodel, and then film the process for the show. He selected a home owner based on the project, and on his ability to provide “sweat equity” (do much of the work) with the help of expert carpenter, Norm Abrams, heating and plumbing expert, Rich Trethewey, and other specialists in the various trades required to remodel a home.
Typically Bob chose a Cape where the owner wanted to add a room and a bath. The owner would be a blue collar worker who was somewhat handy and was willing to work hard. I loved that show and learned a lot from it, even though I never tackled any such major construction jobs.
What I also remember is the project that “Jumped the shark.” Actually not so much “Jumped the shark” as simply changed the nature of the show in a way in which I was not able to connect.
Bob took on the job of completely renovating a 100+ year old home owned by two yuppies that were afraid to soil their hands.
The show tried to follow the usual format, but it just did not work.
In the first episode, Bob tried to teach the wife to strip wall paper, not a fun job. The wife showed up in a dainty little dress, slipped on some rubber gloves and bitched and complained about every step of the process, all the while tending to her precious little girl, Hanna.
“This is hard!”
“You’ll get the hang of it.”
“I broke a nail…Waa!”
“Well that’s what sweat equity is all about.”
“I don’t like this.”
The wife stripped about two feet of wall paper, they made some excuse, and a professional came in and finished the job. We never saw the wife or Hanna again.
The husband was given the job of removing some old pipes in the basement. Norm showed him how to whack the pipes on the seams with an eight pound sledge until they broke and then could be taken down.
“Give it a good firm rap like this.”
CLANG…CLANG…CLANG and the pipe broke.
“Ok” Said the wimpy husband as he adjusted his glasses which kept slipping down the bridge of his nose.
“No, harder, really give it a crack.”
Ding…ding…ding. “This is hard.”
“HIT IT! Like this.”
“I can’t do it…Waa!”
And the husband was never seen again. The project was finished without sweat equity and Bob and his crew turned a $500,000 fixer upper into a $1,000,000 spectacular mansion.
The show was forever changed. All new projects were enormous and involved nothing but the best, most upscale additions. The owners did nothing except Ooh and Ahh and say how they loved everything.
Bob Villa left the show because he became a spokesman for Sears and PBS didn’t like anyone profiting from the show or their fame…what a concept.
I think Bob also just didn’t like the way the show changed from blue collar sweat equity to rich, yuppie, “Can we have heated floors in our zillion dollar bathroom” whiners.
I miss the original “This Old House.” I cannot watch the new “This Ol Mansion.”