A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this renovation reality series follows a contractor who often yells at his workers to motivate them, sometimes seeming very angry in the process. There's some very mild swearing ("damn" and "S.O.B.") and many emotional scenes when business owners see their businesses renovated. Each episode plugs a single New York City business, and some of the contractors and designers get shout-outs as well.
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- Kids say
What's the story?
On the outside, veteran New York contractor Charlie “The Bulldog” Frattini seems tough, loud and demanding, but inside he’s just a softie who wants to help his clients. And that’s just what he gets to do on CONSTRUCTION INTERVENTION, a reality series where Frattini and his crew volunteer to provide badly-needed renovations to struggling stores, bars, and restaurants. The cameras follow along as Frattini meets the business owners, who are generally on the brink of bankruptcy and can’t afford the repairs that could keep them afloat. Then he summons the team, who swoop in to work around-the-clock to overhaul the buildings. The show is part how-to show, as the tradesmen show off their handiwork, and part personal drama, as the clients explain how their businesses are an integral part of their lives, and are often moved to tears when they see the results.
Is it any good?
Frattini is fun to watch. He harangues and yells and blusters to get his team to complete the job as fast as possible, and when something goes wrong (in construction, something always goes wrong), he blows his top. But much of this is just for show, as he explains to the camera, part of an act designed to motivate his team. And the emotional reactions of the clients are truly genuine; they have often poured their lives into these businesses, and are overwhelmed and overjoyed to have Frattini pull them back from the brink of going under.
The middle part of the show is less interesting, because watching the crew at work isn’t especially exciting, nor does it offer any real tips for the avid do-it-yourselfer. But seeing all these burly carpenters, electricians, and contractors donating their time and energy to help others is just heart-warming.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Frattini's method for motivating his workers? Do you think acting angry gets people to work harder? What are some other ways Frattini could motivate his workers? Do you think it's harder to motivate people who are working for free? What kind of motivation do you respond to best?
Talk about the aesthetics of a store. Does the way a store or restaurant look affect whether you want to spend money there? Do you think a renovation project, even a major one, is all that’s needed to turn a business around?
Why do you think home makeover shows are so popular? Do you think audiences want to connect with the idea that people are willing to help each other? Or is there something else?
What kind of volunteer opportunities are in your area? What would you enjoy doing to help out?
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