New Castle News

July 3, 2013

The Couch Potato: ‘Home improvement’ shows are downright depressing

The Couch Potato
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — Mrs. Couch Potato finally got her wishes fulfilled over the weekend as new glass backsplash went up in her kitchen.

Unfortunately for the Couch Potato, I was the one who had to put it up.

Now this normally wouldn’t be that big of a deal except for one minor detail — the Couch Potato is not very handy. But I sucked it up, rented a wet saw, picked up some supplies, and luckily, got some help from an old friend who knew what the heck he was doing.

After a strenuous yet tedious two days of work, the Couch Potato kitchen POPS! Our lives are now complete since our kitchen will surely be the talk of the town.

The genesis of this backsplash project comes from the universe of HGTV and DIY Network’s plethora of home improvement television shows that teach the viewer that happiness comes from a nice house. All you need to do is fix up your house and everything will be good.

Now men know this is not true. Give us a couch and a television, maybe a box for the TV to sit on, and we’re probably going to be OK with that.

Women need much more. They need crown molding, hardwood floors, paint, fancy lighting pieces and obviously backsplash to make their homes complete. It’s not that I don’t like nice things too, but it is all SO expensive and time-consuming. I could live without backsplash.

But even after saying all that, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a sucker for these “home improvement” shows that populate television today. Maybe more than anything, it is fun to see the transformation from “drab to fab” that these shows offer.

Mrs. Couch Potato’s favorites that put a hook in the Couch Potato are DIY Network’s series of shows, “Kitchen Crashers,” “House Crashers,” “Yard Crashers” and “Bathroom Crashers.” In these shows, a professional contractor tracks down an unassuming schlub at a big box home improvement store and offers to transform some part of their home in three days time. The best part is, it’s free to the schlub, but he has to help the professional and his crew complete the project.

As I said, these shows are so addictive because the transformation in three days is astounding. Custom pieces are built and added to an overall makeover that is truly amazing. However, there is one minor problem since this is DIY (Do It Yourself) Network: no one does anything themselves.

The vast majority of the work is done by professionals while the homeowner completes a minor side project (with help, of course!) or paints a new wall. This is hardly “doing it yourself.”

So as I was covered in grout and struggling to fill tiny seems of glass with DIY’s “Kitchen Crashers” blaring in the background as they unveiled an entirely remodeled, professionally done, probably $20,000 kitchen, I had another thought: These shows are just depressing.

These people are getting free help, materials and a beautiful kitchen in just three days. In two days, I spent $500 and all I got was some crooked backsplash and a holy mess to clean up.

DIY just makes the Couch Potato want to DI-cry.