I was a little confused when the first few seconds of Discovery’s latest home building competition, Blood, Sweat & Tools—debuting Monday on Discovery—started to roll. As the narrator explained, the most inept handymen and women had been collected from across the country to compete in construction challenges. Um, hadn’t this already been done by Andrew Younghusband and Discovery on Canada’s Worst Handyman?
Like that show, competitors have weeks to improve their skills in hammering, nailing, sawing and building. Also like Handyman, the competitors are judged on their work by three experts in Rob Koci of Canadian Contractor magazine; fourth-generation tradesman and carpenter, Helder Brum; and power tool expert Hillary Manion, who deem who gets to stick around in the competition. The big twist that sets this apart from that? A $50,000 grand prize, viewers deciding who gets to take the windfall home and … the competitors are teams of two.
Filmed in Ontario’s cottage country, each duo is assigned a ramshackle cottage and a bunch of tools to help them fix the buildings up. In Monday’s bow, the teams are tasked with three challenges: build a worktable, construct a fire pit and swinging bench, and install a toilet, all while showing workmanship, planning and teamwork. But before the teams can even start on the projects they have to get into their locked cottages. That has the expected result: teams try to use brute force to get into their cabins as quickly as possible rather than show any kind of forethought in how they do it.
I find shows like this focus mainly on what teams can’t do rather than what they can and Blood, Sweat & Tools is no different. Fun is poked at husbands who can’t manage a straight cut, women who forge ahead on projects without thinking and the general ignorance of people when it comes to some of the most basic of renovation tasks. It’s easy to get out of your depth. I know because it’s happened to me.
Thankfully, Koci, Brum and Manion are there not just to shake their heads in disbelief at these dunderheads but to actually give them instructions, plans and an education in construction with an extra helping of safety thrown in so that no one loses a finger and slaps production with a lawsuit.
If you’re a do-it-yourselfer looking for tips to success with your own projects, Blood, Sweat & Tools is for you. If you just like watching people scream and yell at each other while they mess up basic home renovations, this is definitely up your alley too.
Blood, Sweat & Tools airs Mondays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on Discovery.