Monster House 8/11

I watched “Monster House” last night on the Discovery Channel. It may have been a re-run, but it was the first time I had seen it. Until last night I always thought that they only showed the projects whose teams were able to complete the project on time and thus win the prizes. For the first time since I began watching the show a couple months ago, the team did not finish in time. This is actually good, since it involves an element of suspense and it broadens my expectations for the outcome. The announcer is always saying things like, “It’s day three, and the kitchen hasn’t even been started, everyone is way behind schedule…” (cut to shot of foreman) “We’re never gonna finish.” I used to think, “So what? They always finish it on time.”

I had some thoughts about why the team was not able to finish in time:

[li]The weather was too hot for them to be working. It was 100 degrees or more every day. Perhaps they should have worked overnight and rested during the day.[/li][li]The foreman was a complete prick to his crew. There was more bickering and arguing amongst the crew in this show than I had ever seen. Perhaps the heat was making everyone cranky, but still… I know from experience that when the boss is an asshole to everyone, morale goes down and nobody gives a shit after awhile.[/li][li]The project itself looked like it was too complex to be completed in the time allotted, compared to the others that have been done before.[/li][li]The LED digital clock they used probably added more pressure to the deadline. Maybe if the workers had known about the clock from the start instead of having it revealed to them halfway through they would have been able to work more efficiently.[/li][li] Perhaps the crew was just the wrong mix of people who just didn’t mesh well. I have seen this happen in several work environments where the people may be good workers by themselves, but perform poorly as a team.[/li][/ul]

I liked how the girl sang the theme for the “Monster House” show, which probably helped to bolster the diminished spirits of the workers, but unfortunately it wasn’t enough to save the team.

Please share your own thoughts about this show if you saw it.

I was thinking about the working overnight thing as well, but then realized that they live in a suburban area and probably have noise restrictions. The only times I’ve seen the crews working late into the night, it’s been on things that don’t involve lots of noise- drywall, plastering, etc. Plus, crews work in that kind of heat all the time- they had plenty of amenities that would make working not quite pleasant, but do-able. (the mist tent, iced-down towels, etc.)

The project wasn’t nearly as elaborate as some I’ve seen them do… they were only working in one (relatively small) room and a small patio. Not like the episode when they destroyed the homeowner’s pool/fireplace/shower… THAT was a huge build (and ironically also featured a heavy Incan/Mayan/Tiki God theme). In fact I was thinking when they were designing it “That’s all they get? One room and a BBQ? That sucks.”

I believe #2 and #4 are the reasons they failed. The foreman had 26 years of experience and a license, but DAMN he was a piss-poor leader. He couldn’t delegate, couldn’t give team members direction (did you see how quickly the metal tree took shape when Steve gave the welder some ideas?), and took away the one thing that the workers would have enjoyed- a little time to mug for the camera. When the foreman yelled at the one guy for talking too much when he was explaining about mixing the faster-drying concrete, I was thinking “what if the production crew asked for that elaboration? then you just look like a dick.” Plus he punches like a girl. And the other guys were too busy undermining the foreman to get any work done. Steve was right- they did great work individually, but as a team they sucked.

I seen to recall one other episode where they didn’t finish in time, but Steve agreed to let them come back first thing in the morning. Was it the medieval one?

I love the show, incidentally. :slight_smile:


bobkitty, no, that was Old West House - because the electrician had not clue about how to work on, well, the electrical. They ended up having an electrician from Race Car House come over and finish it.

I love this show too.

Steve also seemed to be strangely MIA for most of the episode. Where the heck was he?

Also I don’t think too much was assigned, rather the team was lazy, disorganized and very poorly led. Steve dumped the supervisory role onto someone who seemed ill equipped to handle it and then was gone for most of the show.


I missed this one, can someone fill in some details on what exactly they were trying to do. Thanks.

Thanks Missy… that was one I hadn’t seen the whole thing of.

GO… they redid a “utility room” and patio into a “hacienda.” Inside was a loft area, big funky-looking metal tree, one wall was covered with pyramid-looking foam blocks, and a Mayan god-face that opened up to a bar- the bar slid forward so you had access to the patio and the additional bar outside, the whole patio was covered in tin sheeting and the posts for the patio were turned into trees. Whole thing had a rainforest-type feel, with lots of flowers and wicker and fake snakes. The family was Nicaraguian (I’m not even going to pretend I know how to spell that correctly) and the parents wanted the kids to experience a little of “home,” as well as relive their younger days.

I’m assuming that he felt he wasn’t needed, since the builders were doing a fabulous job of creating dramatic tension all on their own.

One additional thought- the blocks and the Mayan god-head were all prefab. Other builders (the fire-breathing Tiki God fireplace, rainforest shower, and medieval fireplace) all had to carve their foam and send it off to be fired. Drops this team a little further on my respect-o-meter.

When midnight rolled around and the guy said “sorry you didn’t make it, you won’t get the prizes”, I was really hoping one of them would’ve said: “screw the prizes; we’re going to make this happen.” Would’ve been classy, and after the fact, they could’ve given them the prizes after all.

Yeah but if they were that sort of team, they wouldn’t have failed in the first place.

Only the finish Carpenter seemed to have a clue.

This is the second time they used the pre-fab foam. After the shaky results with the Tiki fireplace that is the right move. Still, given the rather low amount of work they had to do, their performance was shockingly bad.

That’s sorta what happened on the Old West house. The guy said “Well, sorry…It’s midnight and you didn’t get it done so you don’t get the prizes.” Someone spoke up and said “Yeah, but I’m not leaving these people with a half-finished house!” Everyone said “Yeah!” and the host said “You’re right, and it’s not your fault the electrician was a phoney, so I’m giving you another 8 hours.” (I couldn’t believe someone would have the nerve to claim they knew anything about electricity when they didn’t. What the hell?! That shit can kill you! Plus he stole the job from someone who worked hard to learn it. Jeez, that guy made my blood boil!) Good episode. I also liked last week’s “Zen House” because everyone worked so hard and got along so well (I think that was the one they finished early.)

Haven’t seen this week’s yet, but it’s awaitin’ for me on TiVo.

The general contractor… Maybe this is just from my background (I once had a roommate with substance abuse issues.)

I didn’t think anything about him being incredibly skinny until near the end, when he’s hiding on the side of the house between a garbage can and a pile of crap. When Steve and the camera guy come up on him, the general contractor very quickly hides something in the garbage can. Then he says how tired he is, how the heat is sapping him. Hubby was watching in another room and comes running in, asking “what was that? what did he hide?”

I’m sure it was nothing, but it really struck a nerve with us.

One more question about the wild west house (since I didn’t see the whole thing)… what was up with the guy on crutches? Did he hurt himself on the job, or did he come into it like that? (honestly, I’m surprised more people don’t get hurt- remember the one guy that just had accident after accident, including shooting a 16-penny nail through his finger? Yikes!)

Not only did they finish early, but they did the decorating as well. The woman on that team cracked me up when she was just begging to use the jackhammer. “All right, all right… you’ve shown me… now let ME DO IT!!” The reaction of the homeowners and their mom was fabulous… running around and hugging all the builders. :slight_smile:

I could be wrong, but it looked to me like he just jumped a mile when they came up on him, like he’d been napping and they’d woken him, or he was embarassed that they caught him sitting down after he’d given everyone a hard time about not working. He had a bottle of water in one hand, I do remember that. Considering how much he was disliked by the others, I would think they’d be pretty eager to rat him out if he was drinking- and in that kind of heat, even if he was constantly chewing breath mints his sweat would give him away. BUT he was the one that basically tripped over air that morning, so you could very well be correct. Perhaps Vixen can get a good look when she watches it later.

One more thing… according to the Monster House site, the owners of the Tropical House and Wild West House live in the same neighborhood, and the mom in the Hacienda House is the cleaning lady for the owner of the Wild West House.

Teeny little community they’re pulling homeowners from, innit?

It looked to me like he was trying to read their junk mail or whatever through the bag and when they caught him he was (understandably) embarassed. The bag was tied shut so there was no way for him to be throwing something away casually. I agree though, the first time I saw him I thought “Jeez, how hungover is THAT guy!?” and his falling off the stack of lumber for no apparent reason gives one pause.

I felt really bad for the guy who was busting his hump and ended up getting heat exhaustion, then tried to smooth everything over and got bit in the ass for that. He (and the electrician, who luckily had his hands full) were the only two who seemed really cut out for the task. The constantly talking welder and the other obnoxious guy who was fistfighting with the GC were more interested in being on TV than getting any work done I think. Even so, it’s only a week. You think a group of supposed professional adults could suck up annoyances and bad vibes for one puny week! Some of us here have been sucking it up for YEARS at our jobs! Pathetic.

I was really relieved that another crew was brought in to finish. I was sorta afraid they were gonna leave everything half finished for the family – that would’ve sucked.

Re: the small pool of homeowners…I’d guess that before something like this has been established the number of people who’d say “yes” to this sort of thing are few and far between. They probably had to go with friends and family of the producers or whatever until a few episodes aired. Now that everyone’s seen it I’m sure people from all over the country are submitting their names for demolition.

Is a general contractor really a leader though? From my experience, they just find a subcontractor they can work with in each field, and that’s it. If the work doesn’t get done, they don’t hire them for the next job. Also, you can lead by not paying, which is rather effective in the real world.

Also, as far as the homeowner pool: usually they get those crappy single-level LA suburb houses. They look one step up from a mobile home as far as quality goes.