The Repair Shop and Money For Nothing: making things good again
January 2, 2020 8:43 PM   Subscribe

The Repair Shop’s presenter, furniture restorer Jay Blades, puts the show’s success down to its relatability and heart. “A lot of people are annoyed with TV at the moment,” he says. “There’s too much nastiness, whereas The Repair Shop is all about making things good again. We fulfil people’s dreams. And when we do, they have such wonder written all over their faces.” The Repair Shop: ‘We can fix anything but a broken heart – and Brexit’ (The Guardian). [BBC One and Netflix] Similar, but a bit different -- Sarah Moore, the fairy God-mother of junk (Jolly Volley) sorts through other people's trash and works with collaborators to make them into treasures, in Money for Nothing. [BBC One and Netflix]
posted by filthy light thief (30 comments total) 34 users marked this as a favorite
 
Both programs are also on YouTube, from official sources and fans: The Repair Shop and Money for Nothing (YouTube searches).

And The Repair Shop is on FanFare for discussion.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:45 PM on January 2 [3 favorites]


The Repair Shop fails to meet my desire for technical detail (fixing a clock? Then tell me about cycloid gearing goddammit!) but it’s otherwise lovely.

...just needs more technical detail, that’s all.

...which is a comment I seem to be making more and more often in life, so perhaps I’m a poor judge of such things.

So.

Anyway, pleasant show!
posted by aramaic at 8:53 PM on January 2 [7 favorites]


This looks great, thank you!
posted by ActingTheGoat at 8:55 PM on January 2


I have been watching the show on Netflix over Christmas break, while also recovering from some kind of terrible terrible cold. It really has been relaxing and feel good tv, but as I start into season two I have to wonder: why are the only people featured on the show with memories in need of repair white people? Where are the same-sex couples who need heirlooms refurbished? Is there no family with ancestors from India or Pakistan who have a family treasure needing some TLC?

We’ve jokingly been calling it “repair service for Brexit voters” and although I really enjoy the specialists and their work it’s becoming a glaring issue that only elderly white people bring objects through the door.

One of the reasons I loved Bake Off was that the contestants very clearly reflected the diversity of England today. This is ... not that, and it is a frustrating part of the show.
posted by anastasiav at 9:00 PM on January 2 [13 favorites]


It's a nice show, I binged a bunch of it last week. But Jay sometimes sometimes forgets which show he's presenting and eggs people on. This isn't Big Brother, Jay!
posted by Horkus at 9:13 PM on January 2


I thought it was interesting that the narration on this show seems to set up a totally fabricated race to finish on time situation that the actual people doing the work as well as the owners of the item under repair seem blissfully unaware of, or at least never mention directly via dialog. I had just put that on Netflix but it kind of sounds original which is a little surprising.
posted by feloniousmonk at 10:03 PM on January 2 [5 favorites]


I'll have to watch this but I suspect my enjoyment may be contaminated by having worked at a appliance shop , done some reality TV, and restoring music instruments for a living.
posted by boilermonster at 10:56 PM on January 2 [1 favorite]


The Repair Shop fails to meet my desire for technical detail (fixing a clock? Then tell me about cycloid gearing goddammit!) but it’s otherwise lovely.

...just needs more technical detail, that’s all.

...which is a comment I seem to be making more and more often in life, so perhaps I’m a poor judge of such things.


I think there's much to be said about a spiral curriculum, even in these sort of circumstances.

Perhaps you've got some interest in assembly, and so you start watching How It's Made. It's fascinating, but really short on the detail that you'd like to have about certain topics.

So you maybe start watching The Repair Shop or Money For Nothing, and you start to get better understanding of the assembly of things and how they actually work. But after a while, it's lacking on the detail you'd like to have about certain topics.

So you seek out a deeper source, maybe other more technical videos (certainly plenty of them out there, Bless The Maker For YouTube) or maybe texts or technical manuals, like whatever you need....

And then that is lacking in the detail so you seek out a human to interact with you on the subject....

It all builds. It's okay to find one of the steps lacking. There are other steps available, and plenty will benefit from this step that they find.
posted by hippybear at 10:57 PM on January 2 [3 favorites]


Alternate route (for some directions of interest), This Old House and Ask This Old House. They're a deep textbook if watched across enough time, and a quick tutorial for various projects when sought out.
posted by hippybear at 10:59 PM on January 2 [4 favorites]


Repair Shop and Big Dreams, Little Spaces have been my winter balm.
posted by drewbage1847 at 11:40 PM on January 2 [2 favorites]


I love the repair shop. The guy who does clocks is amazing, the woodworker makes me wince sometimes because he'll not be using clamps when I think he really needs clamps.

Money for Nothing should really be called Money for all this money I just spent, because she always pays people a big wack of cash to fix stuff up for her. That's fine and all, but it's not money for nothing, and no wonder the original owners didn't want to pay a grand odd to an upholsterer to *maybe* sell it on for a profit (it's not uncommon that the stuff hasn't sold at the end of the show, and a lot of the stuff that is sold is due to her existing relationships, not available to average Joe with the chair.). The title rubs me the wrong way, clearly.
posted by stillnocturnal at 2:08 AM on January 3 [1 favorite]


Oh and if you like these shows, if you can find Find it Fix it Flog it is good too.

Mostly. Unfortunately the only woman on the show seems like a token pick and makes very poor decisions. The episode where she paints an antique dollhouse and all the furniture, despite being told specifically not to, and the owners are clearly upset and she's actually reduced the value...ugh. Made me angry. There are loads of talented women out there, why didn't they get a metalworker or a woodworker or somebody who could do anything other than paint furniture not that well! As a woman I find it rather insulting actually.
posted by stillnocturnal at 2:17 AM on January 3 [4 favorites]


Money for Nothing should really be called Money for all this money I just spent, because she always pays people a big wack of cash to fix stuff up for her.

This is actually the thing I like most about the show. Often home reno or upcycling shows / videos / websites gloss over the cost and expertise required to do things. Like, sure, I could reupholster my chair but unless I have done a few previous projects it will probably look a bit shit at the end and take me many, many hours more than someone who knows how to upholster things and has the right tools would take. Plus, I don't know the market so while I might be able to reupholster something to my tastes if I waned to keep it, I wouldn't likely manage to make a saleable item.

Money For Nothing acknowledges that there is a cost in materials and expertise in doing this kind of work and actually pays the people who do the labour and have the expertise (other than the host). The title might not be the best fit but better a bad title on a good show than the other way around.
posted by jacquilynne at 4:59 AM on January 3 [2 favorites]


the narration on this show seems to set up a totally fabricated race to finish on time situation

I think every couple of episodes Jay will throw out a sort of aside to one of the craftspeople, something along the lines of, "Almost done, yeah? The Whoevers are on their way." Which does contradict the part where they regularly tell the owners they'll contact them when the piece is done. So yeah there's something odd about the timing.
posted by soundguy99 at 5:02 AM on January 3


The Repair Shop fails to meet my desire for technical detail

I encountered Repair Shop shortly after being mesmerized by this extremely in-depth restoration of John Lobb shoes, so it could only fall short
posted by bendybendy at 5:10 AM on January 3 [1 favorite]


The Repair Shop fails to meet my desire for technical detail...

Same here. It's not that I want to see a documentary-level discussion about the work, but there's just so damned little detail provided at all. To me, the lack of any real detail somewhat undermines and devalues the expertise, skills, and craftsmanship the team allegedly possess. It all comes off as being more of a retired handyman's fixit shop.
posted by Thorzdad at 6:26 AM on January 3


James May: The Reassembler offers similarly calming satisfaction. Extracts are available on YouTube.
posted by Paul Slade at 7:07 AM on January 3 [2 favorites]


Mr. Carlson's Lab should cover most needs for technical details, especially when it comes to the debugging and repair of old valve based equipment.
posted by bouvin at 7:24 AM on January 3 [2 favorites]


There are loads of talented women out there, why didn't they get a metalworker or a woodworker or somebody who could do anything other than paint furniture not that well! As a woman I find it rather insulting actually.

I’m just guessing they don’t pay. The job as “token woman” is way undervalued.
posted by amanda at 7:47 AM on January 3


just needs more technical detail, that’s all.

I don't think they have time for technical details. It's more Antiques Roadshow but with a more personal angle and with the nostalgia and heartstring-tugging amped up. "You have rescued a piece of my past. *sniff sniff* *hug*"

I'm having fun watching the formula:
  • Thatched roof and warm colors and artful closeups of crafting
  • Expectant people coming round the corner and through the gate
  • The "these are my hopes" closeup interview
  • Fixy fixy
  • High fives and hugs
  • Expectant people coming back through the front door to hellos from the repair crew inside
  • Cut to the crew behind the central bench/stage
  • The reveal from under a cloth
  • The positive evaluation and exclamations -- "you have fulfilled my hopes"
  • The tears and the hug
They could have called it Fixation.
posted by pracowity at 8:13 AM on January 3 [3 favorites]


I just binge-watched the two seasons of the Repair Shop on Netflix and it was very soothing and contained just the right amount of detail for me. I love the interaction of the two soft toy repairers (don't ask me names, I can barely remember my own some days) finishing each others sentences, gently dividing the work and encouraging each other...I also really like the china/pottery expert. But they are all such amazing talents. I like to tinker, but I am no where near that level.
posted by agatha_magatha at 8:24 AM on January 3 [2 favorites]


I really enjoyed binge-watching The Repair Shop over the holidays, where it played while I did things like take down the Christmas tree and decorations.

I, too, sometimes wanted more detail about the objects, the clever solutions, etc.

But what I really watched it for was the wonderfully warm, totally drama-free world of the shop, which is populated by some of the very nicest people I've ever seen on television. No sniping competition (some good-humored ribbing here and there), and great care taken with things and their humans. Kirsten, in particular, stood out in that regard.

I want more people like this in my world. I want to be that person for others, and The Repair Shop really has been a gentle reminder that I have it in my power to do so every day.

I work in admissions at a community college, where many people bring their broken careers and selves, asking and hoping for care. Like the The Repair Shop's visitors, they often bear such hopes in another's name or memory - a partner, a parent, a child. They're nervous, as people always are, carrying something of value and turning it over to a stranger - doubly-so, at the college, considering the money and time involved.

I get to read the names at the college's commencement every spring, where students I served years before hand me their name card, make eye contact and smile for a quick second, then focus on taking the diploma in the left hand and shaking the president's hand with their right. To be entrusted with anything so valuable, even in the smallest way, is an enormous privilege and honor, and the good people at The Repair Shop really seem to take it seriously. You can hear it in their voices, you don't even have to watch. Or you can watch with the sound off. It's obvious either way. That's why I love it.
posted by Caxton1476 at 8:48 AM on January 3 [11 favorites]


The Repair Shop fails to meet my desire for technical detail...

I assume TV producers know their business well enough to know that normal people won’t watch unless half the content is about how doggone much the whirligig reminds this guy of his dead mother and how he can hear the peal of her now-silenced laugh every time it whirls, but man I just do not care. I want a deep dive on whirligig manufacture in the 1930s and how wartime shortages meant a transition from steel gigs to silver-painted wood.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 10:04 AM on January 3 [6 favorites]


A note for those who have viewed everything on Netflix: both programs in the OP have more seasons that have aired in the UK. The Repair Shop is up to 5 seasons, and Money for Nothing is at 7 seasons, and Wikipedia lists each with more than 100 episodes each. And it seems that most are up, in full, on YouTube.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:51 AM on January 3


Jay is an extremely charismatic and likable person. I enjoy the work all of them do, but I especially like getting to spend time with Jay Blades.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 12:32 PM on January 3 [1 favorite]


Just noticed that the dulcet tones of narration on The Repair Shop are provided by Bill Paterson, aka Fleabag's dad.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 12:52 PM on January 3


I love the Repair Shop. During some recent binge watching of it on satellite channel that I forget the name of, I felt that they were rushed and jumped from 'looking at the item on arrival' to 'ta-dah! it's finished'. Then I realised that the episodes were 30 minutes long including advert breaks and irritating recaps etc, while the episodes on BBC iPlayer (without adverts) were 45 minutes. I don't know if these are older episodes which were shorter, or whether they were truncated for the commercial channel.

The original BBC versions definitely go into more of the detail. Not necessarily enough detail, but definitely more.
posted by ElasticParrot at 4:39 PM on January 3 [1 favorite]


Adding my voice to the chorus here-I love both of these shows, also am kind of in love with every single crafts person on The Repair Shop. They’re all so nice and damn it looks pleasant af in there.
posted by Kemma80 at 6:36 PM on January 3 [1 favorite]


Just got to the one with pinball machine expert Geoff, and his late middle aged rock n' roll pirate vibe is instantly lovable. Turns out he alternates between pinball machines and drumming in rock bands, which is essentially living his teenage dream.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 7:54 AM on January 4 [1 favorite]


I only have a couple of episodes of The Repair Shop left to watch on Netflix. Tim, the record player / gramophone repair guy, is exactly what I think every British repair person should be.

My emotional reaction to this show actually kicked off quite a long discussion with my therapist about 'normal-sized' emotional attachments to sentimental objects vs hoarding tendencies and a comparison of that to struggles I've had with other types of connection and attachment. It's been kind of fascinating.
posted by hanov3r at 8:45 AM on January 6


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