Andy Warhol would be proud: In the age of Kardashians and Honey What Whats, everybody and their stoned brother has a TV show. At last count there were 5.7 million TV channels, and nothing on. It’s common within the lexicon to exclaim: “Dude, you should have a TV show”, when in reality, dude should not. Except when that dude is Brian Gurry, who stars in the upcoming National Geographic Channel’s Bid & Destroy (premiering Wednesday, October 10 at 9 and 9:30).
To meet Gurry is to like him. The guy is engaging and genuine, something that is noticeably absent from, well, everywhere. Bid & Destroy centers around the Danley Demolition crew as they set out to bid for and demo properties all over the US.
Before the demo is done, however, the Danley crew searches through the properties for lost and forgotten treasure, finding everything from .45 caliber handguns with scopes (really, a .45 with a scope? Can we revisit the 2nd amendment please?) to cash to Harley Davidsons and vintage snowmobiles. It’s part antique road show, part wrecking shit up. It’s a reality TV erection.
Moments into an episode, however, it’s quite evident that Gurry is the star of the show. And if you spend five minutes with Gurry, you’ll understand why. There’s no bullshit to him. Despite the obvious handicap of being from Boston (recall: Headshots is a diehard Canadiens fan, making all things Bruin our mortal enemy) Gurry comes across as a guy you’d like to have a beer with, which is why watching Bid & Destroy is an enjoyable and effortless 22 minutes of reality TV viewing pleasure. Headshots hates reality TV, but can certainly see ourselves settling in on Wednesdays at 9 with a half bottle of whiskey and our lady of the moment to watch Bid & Destroy.
Gurry describes his crew as a “team of misfit toys.” Lee Danley is the hardass partner. Kip Walker is the excavator operator who Gurry says is “not a murderer” even though he comes across as slightly batshit crazy — in a good way. Gina is the calming female presence in a male-dominated vocation, and Gurry claims she can “beat the crap” out of him. And Gurry’s own nephew, Eric, works as Gurry’s assistant and comic relief. Eric, who is in his mid-twenties and a “good kid” trying to find himself is a Clark Duke-like presence who plays off Gurry like an old married sitcom couple. Truthfully, the entire show could be just these two riffing and smashing stuff, and we’d still watch.
It’s within the family dynamic that the show finds its strength. It is obvious that Gurry cares deeply about not just his crew and family, but people in general. There is a quiet and confident genuine nature about Gurry which makes him immediately not just likeable, but daresay, loveable. There is so much bullshit and posturing in TV, sports, and our everyday life that a moment with Gurry on Bid & Destroy is a welcome respite from the contrived reality of reality TV. Gurry speaks of his TV gig without ego, and admits that if it was gone tomorrow he wouldn’t miss it. His tales of demo work are a show unto themselves. He has “fallen through floors,” found priceless heirlooms worth “asshole money,” and admits that every job is “the most difficult job”. But he loves the work, and loves the people, and that comes across in the National Geographic Channel’s production.
TV is now infinite. Headshots itself has a pitch meeting in LA next week to sell a show about crying in the bathtub with a bottle of gin and a lifetime of regret. But in Bid & Destroy, and the personality that is Gurry, the National Geographic Channel has found itself a talent that is truly worthy of being welcomed into our homes a few times a week, provided he doesn’t demolish it. Bid & Destroy portrays not just a demo crew, but a contemporary version of the vocational family. Misfits all, but loveable misfits. Gurry is bound for big things, and like his searches through to-be-demoed properties, National Geographic has discovered a true treasure.
Watch this show. You’ll fall for it.
Bid & Destroy premieres Wednesday October 10th at 9 & 9:30.
Mike Spry is the author of JACK (Snare Books, 2008), which was shortlisted for the 2009 QWF’s A.M. Klein Prize for Poetry, and he was longlisted for the 2010 Journey Prize. His most recent work is Distillery Songs (Insomniac Press, 2011).
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