Monday, September 10, 2012

All American Handyman - Week 4 Recap

The pressure was on for the All American Handyman’s final seven as the contestants battled through yet another week. The fix-it challenge this week was a two-parter, and included having the contestants do their own version of a home inspection. Each contestant was taken off site to a house in need of repair, and given five minutes per room to write down as many problems as they could see. Whoever was able to identify the most legitimate problems was given first pick at the fix-it challenge. The other contestants also chose their fix-it challenge in the order in which they ranked in the home inspection challenge.

When the contestants returned to the warehouse, they found miniature replicas of the problem areas from the house, including a replica of a damaged roof, a couple of doors, an uninsullated attic space, and some gutters (or “eavestroughs” as Mike and Scott would call them in Canada.)

Sonne ranked first, having identified the most problems, and chose to work on the gutters. Chris L. came in second, and chose the damaged roof. Rodney came in third and picked the pinched door. Carol was fourth, and picked the hole in the drywall. Scott C. “Sarge” was next in line, and he selected the plumbing under the sink. Michael picked the other door. Scott asked Michael if he knew what was wrong with it, and he responded, “we’ll see.” Surprisingly, Scott H. who usually does very well came in last place, and was given the task of insulating the attic space.

The handyman hopefuls had 45 minutes to complete their chosen tasks, and Anitra, Mike, and Scott assured the contestants that the advantage for winning this fix-it challenge would be “huge.”

During the challenge, it became evident to the judges that Sonne had never done gutters before. She chose the task as a “personal challenge” but Mike felt that she had thrown away her advantage and probably should have picked something she knew how to do. In the end, Sonne installed the gutters incorrectly. Scott pointed out that in a heavy down pour, the water would run away from the downspout instead of towards it. It was a big mistake the judges could not ignore.

Chris L. made the mistake of ripping all of the shingles off of his roof instead of just removing the damaged area. It was a mistake that ensured he would be unable to finish the job in time and would have to rush to keep up. By the end of the challenge, he had done the job right, but had made a lot of aesthetic mistakes and was unable to complete the job in the allotted time.

Scott C. “Sarge” was given a box of random parts to fix the plumbing under the sink. Unfortunately, he was confused by all the spare parts and didn’t really know what parts he needed to do the job. When all was said and done, Sarge was unable to fix the drain correctly.

Carol came into the challenge with confidence, remarking that putting up drywall was her specialty. She repaired the hole with relative ease and then proceeded to make an enormous mess with the spray-on popcorn ceiling in a can. Her antics with the spray thoroughly amused Mike, Scott, and Anitra.

Rodney was also confident about his challenge, which was to repair a pinched door. He had a rough start, however. He failed to recognize right away that the cause of the pinched door was that there was no header, and the weight of the loadbearing wall was crushing down on the jamb. Scott had to figuratively hold his and walk him through the process of diagnosing the problem. In the end, the header he installed wasn’t flush with the 2x4 and the cripple studs, and therefore the door would have never looked right aesthetically had drywall and trim been put up.

Michael had a good strong start with his door. He recognized what the problem was right away, and took proper steps to fix it. Mike was impressed by how he took the door out of the frame so he could clean it up and reinstall it correctly. However, as he was putting the finishing nails in the trim, Mike commented “one of these days I’m going to teach you how to do it right.” Michael marred the door in several places as he put it back in. It was an amateurish and sloppy mistake that didn’t impress Mike or Scott.

Scott H. got “stuck” with the “easy” job of insulating the attic. Overall, he did a good job, except he didn’t insulate all the way to the outside. It was a seemingly minor problem, but would have caused larger problems down the road if he had been doing an actual repair. Failing to insulate properly could have caused condensation to form in the roof, which would lead to mold and rot.

The top two contestants chosen by the judges were Carol and Scott H. Although Carol made a mess, the judges didn’t hold it against her and deemed her the winner of the advantage. The advantage turned out to be immunity from elimination, ensuring her spot for another week.

The “build-it” challenge was to create a lovely garden retreat for two in three hours. The requirements were to create seating for two and to use all of the plants and flowers provided. Contestants would be judged on how they used the space in the allotted amount of time.

All in all, the contestants did a generally good job, but some did better than others.

Sarge dedicated the build to his daughter, creating a multi-tiered planter and a sign reading “Lilly’s Garden. Daddy Loves You.” Unfortunately, he made a lot of small mistakes. His measurements were off, his tiers were different heights, and the judges were not satisfied with his general craftsmanship.

Scott H. built a U-shaped garden with a detached bench seat, complete with a lovely, albeit incomplete, trellis. Although it was a unique design, Scott H. failed to impress Mike. Several times during his build, Mike would brandish his carpenter’s square at Scott H. “SQUARE!!!” he yelled several times, pointing out that his planters were not square. The finished product was not very impressive to the judges either. His “pickup truck” bench wasn’t strong enough to hold the weight of Mike and Scott, and tipped over when they attempted to sit on it.

Rodney was ambitious as usual, focusing more on creativity than quality. Instead of utilizing the space, he built an entirely new one, creating a deck. The judges felt that he was biting off a bit more than he could chew, skimping on safety and creating unsafe railings that lacked strength. Mike noted that he only saw Rodney use a level once during the entire build. Scott and Mike both agreed that Rodney needed to slow down and focus on the details.

Michael struggled a bit during the challenge. His planters were not straight – a detail which bothered Mike. Overall, though, he created a space which “felt good” to Mike.

Sonne’s garden retreat was simple when compared to the other contestants’, however, she impressed Scott by focusing on the details such as the structure of her planter. She made it strong and built it well. She also created a heart shaped planter which wowed the judges and other contestants alike. Mike stated he could picture himself sitting out in the garden she created having coffee in the morning, and that it was her best work so far.

Carol’s garden included a bench with a planter on each side. However, when Scott sat on the bench, it pinched his butt. Mike stated that it was “probably a good thing [she] had immunity.” As a whole, though, the judges agreed that she had some good ideas, but failed in the execution of the project.

Chris L. was the only contestant to use all of the flowers and plants provided. However, under pressure to maintain his winning streak, he began to fall behind the other contestants, time wise. Scott and Mike noted that he did a good job bracing his planter. For the most part, he did a good job and utilized the space well, however, the judges agreed that he took a step back.

The top two contestants were Chris L. and Sonne. Mike and Scott judged their work to be virtually equal, so to break the tie, they asked the other contestants whom they though should win the challenge. It was unanimous – Sonne was the clear winner. Even Chris L. piped in and said he was impressed by Sonne’s garden.

 Rodney and Scott C. “Sarge” were called to the carpet as the bottom two. The reasons the judges gave were that both chose not to use squares and levels to create a quality product, and neither of them were listening to the judges and learning from their previous mistakes. In the end though, Sarge was “honorably discharged” from the competition. He was given a standing ovation from the other contestants as he exited the warehouse for the last time.


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