Restorer Guy

TV review by
Anne Louise Bannon, Common Sense Media
Restorer Guy TV Poster Image
So-so show for house enthusiasts tame but not kid-targeted.

Parents say

age 18+
Based on 1 review

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

There's a strong message about preserving our past and having respect for old buildings.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Host Gable Painter is a responsible boss.  When one of his friends, who's also an employee, tries to skip work, Painter suspends him for a week without pay but isn't angry or vindictive about it. He also talks a lot about doing things right the first time and having respect for the buildings he works on. On the down side, there's not much gender diversity among the folks featured on the show.


Occasional suggestive talk -- in one episode, for example, a customer jokes about someone's butt crack and recommends a Brazilian wax. But it's also made clear that this isn't appropriate.


Words like "butt" and "sucks" are audible; it's possible that some stronger choices may be silenced (if so, though, they aren't obvious).

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

While the host isn't seen actually smoking, a couple of shots show him holding a lit cigarette and/or with a pack of cigarettes next to him.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that the host of this reality show about a Virginia-based home restorer is a little rough around the edges. The fact that he's a smoker isn't specifically called out or commented on, but some shots show him with a cigarette in his hand, and others reveal when there's a pack lying around. That said, he's also a responsible, hardworking boss who treats his employees fairly.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
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Adult Written byLouis114 April 26, 2019

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What's the story?

RESTORER GUY follows Gable Painter, a contractor in Richmond, Va., who restores old Victorian buildings. Rather than serving as a how-to, the series takes a more "day in the life" approach to its subject, following Painter as he tackles various jobs, interacts with his employees, and more.

Is it any good?

Restorer Guy isn't a bad show -- seeing the before and after of some of the projects can be interesting. And Painter is clearly very knowledgeable about both the buildings and the Victiorian society that spawned them. But he comes across as kind of bland. It's good that he doesn't have screaming fits or temper tantrums (like so many other reality show subjects), but his laid-back style actually veers a bit too far in the other direction, making him rather dull as a whole.

Kids probably won't be too interested in tuning in, given the show's subject matter, but if they do, there aren't too many content red flags. Painter's clearly a smoker, but the show doesn't linger on the fact.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how editing affects viewers' idea of how and when scenes take place on TV shows, particularly reality shows. Do you think Painter is really working on several jobs at once? Why might the producers choose to present it that way?

  • How does seeing someone smoke on TV shows or in movies impact kids? What are the real-life consequences of smoking?

  • What can viewers learn about construction and restoration by watching a show like this? Did you get any useful tips?

TV details

  • Premiere date: July 21, 2009
  • Cast: Gable Painter
  • Network: TLC
  • Genre: Reality TV
  • TV rating: TV-PG
  • Last updated: September 20, 2019

Our editors recommend

For kids who love reality TV

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