Let's face it: if these bumbling fools — and the other hapless TV and movie characters featured below — can survive a kitchen remodel or a home improvement montage, you definitely can. Settle yourself in the last dust-free corner of your home and join me in in cackling at their trials and tribulations...
Seinfeld, Season 8 Episode 18: "The Nap"
Jerry hires the most obnoxiously, frustratingly diffident contractor ever, and his eventual fed-up command to, "Just figure it out for yourself and get it done" yields...unexpected results. It's kinda cozy.
I Love Lucy, Season 2 Episode 8: "Redecorating"
"Lucy and Ethel Paperhangers" is one of my favorite references, and this is the episode from whence it came. It is also probably the episode responsible for my debilitating fear of ever wallpapering anything. Not that it's come up.
30 Rock, Season 5 Episode 21: "Everything Sunny All The Time Always"
I found this episode so odd that I've only watched it twice, compared with the infinite number of times I've watched all other 30 Rock episodes, but here goes: Liz attempts to clean up her apartment (including the two-liter bottles of Tracy Jordan's urine) and get to work combining it with the upstairs apartment she bought a long time ago. She gets tile samples, paints, sings a song...and not much else.
My friend and fellow pastry chef Crystal Rice Chinn and I share a love of the movie genre she refers to as "Girls Working Hard and Kicking Ass", especially those focused on cooking. She recommended this one to me, and it is truly inspiring: if a "driven Manhattan career woman" can deal with a house that lacks water and heat and roofing, so can I!
Absolutely Fabulous, Series 3 Episode 13: "Door Handle"
I haven't seen this one yet, but this Wikipedia synopsis sounds irresistible: "Saffy is getting impatient because Edina hasn't attempted to remodel the kitchen, which was destroyed by fire some time ago. In fact, she has not even chosen a design. Later that day, she remembers a doorhandle she quite liked – in New York City. She and Patsy fly out to New York and enjoy a grand day out; Eddy finds and photographs the doorhandle and has her navel pierced. When they get home late at night, they fail to notice for some time that Saffy has remodelled the kitchen in their absence." Perfection.
Sex & The City, Season 3 Episode 9: "Easy Come, Easy Go" and Season 4 Episode 12: "Just Say Yes"
If you take nothing else away from this post, please heed this: never, ever renovate a home with Carrie Bradshaw. If you're being awesome and volunteering to redo her floors, she will [spoiler alert] whine, yell, and cheat on you. And if, next year, you help her buy her apartment and the one next door, and do all of the work to combine them into one fabulous apartment, she will whine, yell, and break up with you.
My very favorite type of home improvement movie montage is a dance-related home improvement movie montage, and Footloose delivers. It's been well over a decade since I've seen this classic, so I'll let Music Or Space Shuttle? recap:
Footloose is chock full of montage goodness. This time Kevin Bacon and his crew of backup dancers need to get the old mill ready for the big dance.
1. Kick Ass ’80s Song: Kenny Loggins, “I’m Free (Heaven Helps The Man)”
2. Sensing that they can conquer any obstacle put in front of them, the kids skip the assessment phase and practice some synchronized dirt biking.
3. The gang ditches the bikes and gets to work. Chris Penn huffs helium while everyone else sweep-dances the place clean.
4. Finally, Lori Singer finds the light switch. When she flips it on everyone erupts with glee as they realize the movie set crew already spent 2 weeks decorating for them.
Surely there are some I've forgotten?
Further Reading: Watch These 5 Movies to Ease Your Renovation Woes