TV Reviews | Howie Do It 1.1 vs. Marketplace 36.1

Howie Do It (NBC/Global: Friday, 8:00 PM ET/PT) and Marketplace (CBC: Friday, 8:30 PM ET/PT) are similar in certain ways.  Both Marketplace and Howie Do It use hidden cameras and feature people who don’t necessarily want to be caught on television.  Marketplace directly competes against Howie Do It in Canada on a weak television night.

The age-old question: is a half-hour consumer affairs show funnier than an hour of television pranks?  We’ll find out – right now!

CBC News: Marketplace
Hosts: Wendy Mesley and Erica Johnson
Season: thirty-sixth

Mike Holmes appears on Marketplace, as he does these days whenever Marketplace talks about housing.  The show travels to Hamilton, Ontario, where an estimated one out of six houses are built in violation of building permit regulations.

The story focuses on Hamilton builder Brett Wright and his Londonderry Residential Group.  Eighteen houses on a single street were built by his company before permits were issued.

Needless to say, the houses are badly built.  Hamilton housing officials look like boobs for not enforcing their building codes.  Even Tarion, Ontario’s new home warranty program, comes off badly.

This is a typical Marketplace story, and quite a strong one to start off the season.  House-based episodes generally make for good television and this episode is no exception.

Erica Johnson’s short item is somewhat pointless.  Someone can buy a ticket from Ticketmaster and resell it at TicketsNow, which was bought by Ticketmaster in 2008.  Ticketmaster profits from surcharges and TicketsNow collects a fifteen percent commission.

The piece is two solid minutes of “well, duh.”  Ticketmaster knows there’s money to be made from online scalping.  It’s a no-brainer in the free market.  That doesn’t make Ticketmaster’s double-dipping right, but since when do businesses have to be ethical?

Marketplace bigs itself up a bit too much this episode, but I’m glad the show’s in a timeslot where CBC affiliates can’t preempt it.  Marketplace is a fairly strong show at this point in its history – good hosts, solid reporting, keeps itself current.  Scheduling Marketplace after The Rick Mercer Report is stupid, but at least this show is in better shape than the fifth estate.

Howie Do It
Host: Howie Mandel
Season: first

Wow, I am amazed at the show’s set.  It literally looks like a set from the late 1980s.  The entire show feels like it came from the 1980s.  Wait, that’s not true – the theme song is from the mid-1990s.  There is not one thing on this show that’s new aside from a drummer, and he’s completely unnecessary to Howie Do It.

I honestly wasn’t expecting much from Howie Do It, but I didn’t know it was going to be as bad as it is.  Mandel wears glasses and a David Duchovny wig and that’s supposed to make him a whole different person, but doesn’t bother disguising his voice after the first prank.  Mandel even uses a leaf blower and garden hose in tandem at one point.  Howie Wowie, what a gasser.

I know Howie Do It is short-run programming while NBC “fixes” (ha!) Deal or No Deal, but is NBC this bereft of ideas?  Wait, NBC doesn’t order pilots anymore and ceded weeknights at 10:00-11:00 PM to Jay Leno, so yes.

I’ll be amazed if Howie Do It lasts the full six weeks it’s been slotted for on NBC.  Say hello to reruns of Most Outrageous Moments in a few weeks.  Howie Get Cancelled.

Funnier Show: Marketplace!

C. Archer
Le Social