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It’s been well-documented that the Tivo has a mind of its own. My father, for instance, is convinced that it plots against him in some apocalyptic struggle for robotic dominance. For a time I was inclined to agree — my Tivo insisted on recording Ask This Old House over and over, sure that I would dig it no matter how much I told it not to do that. As it turns out, it was correct.

After watching a few of them this weekend I find the new crew of the show is easy to watch. They don’t get in the way of the contractors and don’t pretend to know everything in the hopes that they’ll appear like gods of construction. If they don’t know about something, like plaster-casting for instance, they say, “I haven’t done this before.  How does this work?”  That goes a long way with me.

The few episodes that I caught up on this weekend centered on a New York brownstone that’s getting a complete makeover. It’s actually entertaining, and I plan to check more of it out in the future.

My Tivo is obviously off the hook for now, as it does appear to know me better than I thought.  But if it starts asking if I’ve seen John Conner lately, I’ll seek shelter immediately.

Check your local listings for times.

Ask This Old House [Website]


23 Responses to Thoughts On Ask This Old House

  1. Tom C says:

    I dig it, the only problem is that we get something like 5 PBS stations and I my ReplayTV likes to download the same show on all of them.

  2. gillsans says:

    April Fools?

  3. slapinem says:

    I like this show a lot,they really explain everything very well and then they show you exactly how to do everything they explained. this show is great for the novice looking to learn or anyone looking to gain a new home repair skill.

  4. Roscoe says:

    2 Complaints, PBS affiliates suck at labeling shows “NEW” in the program guides, so this one is really hard to catch the new episodes without getting dozens of repeats. Second, they show off some nifty tools and gadgets in Ask TOH, but I hate the stupid guessing game they play first. Please just show us a new tool and explain it; if there’s extra time, please show more new tools.

  5. McAngryPants says:

    My wife and I play a game when watching TOH & ATOH…whenever Tommy, Richard or Roger look at Kevin we shout “shutup Kevin.” Also, whenever Kevin finishes talking we imagine the rest of the gang saying, “yeah, we know.” Good for evil giggles all around

  6. olderty says:

    I echo that, Roscoe. I just fast fwd to the end of that segment.

    I like the show. My only gripe is the boiler based heating stuff they talk about damnear every episode. I know alot of people have these, and they’re problematic, but c’mon! Richard T. replaces some boiler valve everytime he’s on! I want to see a beginning to end radiant heat install in a floor. Or how to clean the squirrel cage in a forced air furnace — safely, etc. etc.

    Also, I’d pay for a DVD with all of Tom Silva’s little tricks he uses for everything. As long as he explained them slow enough, and if it came with pdf plans on how he makes all his jigs and whatnot…

  7. Dustin says:

    Ask This Old House and This Old House are two different shows.

    This makes your comments incongruous.

    The work being done on the brownstone in NY is on This Old House.
    The only contractors on Ask This Old House are the hosts themselves…so there’s no contractors for them to get in the way of.

  8. mike says:

    I could live without the “funny” answers to the “What’s this tool” segment. If they limited it to what the tool really is they could do 3 tools in the same time frame. Instead I get to listen to 3 unfunny stories about how a tool is really a mustache comb or a cup holder.

  9. Kyle says:

    I second the BS “What’s this tool” segment… LAME LAME LAME, and guess what, I never, ever care about the tool. Filler.

  10. shopmonger says:

    I love the what is it sections…….The entire show is fantastic it is a great DIY……It teaches you greatly and of course fun loving at the same time…….

  11. Coach James says:

    TOH does talk about the cost of the project briefly in the first show of each project. A lot of the projects have budgets of $250,000 to $400,000. If they talked about that a lot, I think many viewers would turn it off as it is totally unrealistic for most people to do projects like that.

    As to Ask TOH, good show but get rid of the stupid comedy routine on “What is it?”.

  12. Joe says:

    Slightly off topic, but the DIY network’s new series Renovation Realities is great! It shows regular folks stretching themselves to, and beyond, their skill limits. Instead of a project without showing the mistakes, that’s mostly what it shows. My favorite was the husband and wife redoing their kitchen and battling with each other throughout. It was the cheapest therapy session my wife and I every had!

  13. Fred B says:

    Coach James: Budget is the one thing TOH needs to never talk about, the last show of one of the project TOH crew said they were ONLY $100K over the budget, and that was with the stuff they get from companies.
    If you want a show that stay on a real budget, try Hometime.

  14. fred says:

    Lot’s of our clients get a reality check after watching TOH then looking over our bids for similar work. We naturally work with clients to scale things down to a level that balances expectations, workmanship and cost.

  15. HammerDrill says:

    I like “Ask This Old House” versus “This Old House”. The last project, the timber frame, was nothing more than a documentary on yuppie excess in the age of recession american. And when did Tommy Silva sell out to festool? every episode he pulls out another of these German wundertools. I like Roger Cook, not afraid to get down and dirty on the show. Richard reminds of the typical hide your wallet plumber/heating AC contractor.

  16. Nathan says:

    I love the variety of projects that you get from the three guys on the show. Some of the things they do are stupidly simple, but that makes it appeal to a broader audience. It looks like I’m in the minority when I say that I (and my wife) really enjoy the “What is it” segment, they come up with some pretty funny ideas some times.

  17. Brice says:

    I enjoy both shows and my PBS station labels stuff as new correctly, at least using Zap2it. That said, as an HVAC contractor, lots of the toys they play with are really expensive. That balloon zoning system comes to mind. However, that whole setup was less expensive that it would have been to put in traditional valves and running wired thermostats.

  18. Coach James says:

    Silva actually uses Festool because he likes the tools. The gentleman that sold Silva the Festool tools, and also sold them to Richard T, is a member of another forum I frequent. He said he approached them about giving them a presentation on Festool and afterward, they decided to buy the tools.

  19. HammerDrill says:

    Ok, good to see that Tommy purchased the tools, but why does a plumber need a $1300 miter saw with a HEPA filtration system ? I know Richard uses the Festoll Drill/Driver but I though he was just borrowing Tommy’s.

    I also forgot to mention another thing I hate about TOH. In every project the wives take center stage and we have to sit thru ridiculous segments where they go tile shopping or shopping for window treatments while the old man is out busting his butt working for all of this excess. I want to see the husbands bitching and yelling at the crew and their wives for coast overruns. “Honey, do we really need the $1200 pasta faucet over the Wolf professional Range? It’s not like you can really cook”. Now that would be reality TV.

  20. olderty says:

    hahaa! HammerDrill! That would excellent. It is a pretty sanitized show. If nothing else, I’d like to see the projects they do on “Ask TOH” that don’t go exactly as planned. Like I’m sure Richard T. breaks off a valve or pipe every once in awhile. Or Tommy has to make 2 cuts…

    As for the tools, I recently had a couple of guys lay down 650 sq. ft. of tile. They weren’t using a Harbor Freight tile saw… If it’s your business, go for something that’ll get the job done to your standards. I’m not sure I would have hired the guys I did if they showed up with a sh!ty saw. I know that much. IT is my 9 to 5 business, and I go for the brands and components that I know will work when I ask them to.

  21. bartsdad says:

    I watch both shows, but for a different reason than most. I really appreciate the fact these shows show working men working. Being a blue collar guy myself (diesel mechanic), the trades are always overlooked as a career. The education system pushes kids towards college and getting an office job. That is not the answer for everyone. Many of these guys and gals are true artisans and you would be hard pressed to create the results they get.

    Many times the shows cover the same unobtainable things, but it, for me, is all about the trades. Come on folks , its just a TV show. Lets get out in the shop and build something. More so, get the kids out to the shop. I’ve got a toddler (2 1/2 year old)and I can’t wait until he’s big enough to be out there as Daddy’s little helper.

  22. Simon says:

    Firstly, This Old House has been one of my favorite shows for over 25 years. The thing that annoyed me early on was Bob Vila but that problem solved itself. The next 2 hosts have been just fine. But at some point in the last 10 years the show has gotten slicker and not in a good way – for instance, every single shot has random background people who just happen to walking through the shot carrying something like the director has set it up for 20 minutes – I preferred the ‘lets shoot this and see what happens’ style they used to employ.
    We seem to only see the same contractors over and over which is a bit limiting to me and we see less technique now and more product talk from the PR guy. Yes the houses are big and expensive but where else are the interesting new products being used where a homeowner is actually impacting the individual design. This is TV after all, not the boring reality of tract housing made of chip-board.

    Ask This Old House (a different show) is very good on location and almost painful to watch in the ‘studio’. The ‘What Is It’ segment makes me want to change channels and the light hearted banter back and forth is sickening for a show that presents actual info so well.

    The “Kevin is dumb and slows us down’ routine is wearing thin on both shows. He is far better than Vila ever was as host.

    The product placement is a fact of life and pays for the production and I think is handled tastefully. I don’t think they would push stuff that was not decent or not actually used in the projects.

    I hate the lengthy ‘designer’ portions that tend to appear near the end of a project but that is what pays for the concrete in the foundation I suppose.

    Overall, there is nothing else like it and nothing else better. IMHO.

  23. smiley says:

    with the show being so short and the knowledge of the professionals you have on there why not let them explain how to do the project and send kevin to get coffee.

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