New Thing #160: American Restoration

Joel_HistoryThere's a show on the History channel (I think it's just called 'History' these days, and not The History Channel anymore) called American Restoration. A little more than a week ago, the Billy Joel Twitter feed tweeted out that Joel would be on the show.

So I set the DVR.

I figured at the very least, New Thing.

Turns out, I kind of enjoyed the show.

The deal is a guy named Rick - at "Rick's Restorations" in Las Vegas - can take these antique items people bring in to him and restore them to working condition.

There were two items to restore in this particular episode, along with a third sub-plot. I won't bury the lead - Billy Joel, I guess, knows of the show and he bought a 1967 BSA - a type of motorcycle.  It's similar to the first motorcycle he ever bought, but he bought this one as a 'basket case', which according to him is the literal meaning of that term - he bought it as a bunch of parts in a basket.

The show begins with this huge package that Joel sent to Rick, and he didn't open it until Joel was at the shop. Like with the actual show, I'll get back to the Billy Joel part at the end - now I'll tell you about what else happened.

A customer bought a walk-behind tractor from Rick, who collects and sells these antiques from his shop. The customer wanted it fully restored - with its original paint job and restored to working condition, along with a seat for the driver and a bench in back for him to have his grandchildren ride with him. It ended up coming out awesome, for $12,000.

Then, the other three guys who spend time working with Rick were sent on a 'pick' - they go to this lot where some guy keeps all these different antiques. The worker - including Rick's brother, son, and some other guy whose relation I didn't pick up on - who brings back the most profitable item gets to go to New York for the 'reveal' with Billy Joel and meet Joel.

As for the motorcycle? It turns out great - Joel is happy with it. You may know that in Oyster Bay Billy Joel has a motorcycle shop - but he doesn't do restorations. He takes new bikes and tries to make them look old. He says he likes the new technology, but the old design. Essentially he's the opposite of what Rick does. They did the reveal at Joel's motorcycle shop.

The show is pretty good - it's not like I'll seek it out every time it's on, but if I caught it again I might watch it. It's a little painful to watch the scripted unscriptedness of it - the people on the show are all characters of a sort, but they're not actors. And they try to act, which makes it feel stilted.

Billy Joel was perfect for the show, though - he's got a great sense of humor. He was kind of a perfect balance for the other over-acting around him. He walked and talked with Rick through the lot, recognizing different vintage items and talking about them, and then stopping to play an old spinet Steinway piano. He was the highlight of the show.

But I might watch it again just to see how people go about fixing these things - I have no clue about restoring engines or building benches - I have neither the know-how nor the ability nor the tools. So I can learn a lot by watching a show like this.

Whether or not it features my favorite singer of all time.