Bitter Ender’s Game: American Dream Builders

Jay, Elaine, Nina, and Lukas examine the Victorian they are tasked with renovating on American Dream Builders.
American Dream Builders (Photo: NBC)

NBC’s renovation reality series American Dream Builders is nothing to write home about, yet I have not missed an episode. My schedule is full enough—why do I make time to watch this?

American Dream Builders1 is down to its final two, with a winner determined after next week’s two-hour finale. Yes, I am the only person still watching the show. No, I do not know why. I am what is referred to as a bitter-ender: someone who will watch a show until the very end, ignoring all signs to drop the show off the DVR season pass list.

Honestly, I don’t know why I allowed the show on my season pass list to begin with. The first episode did not impress me, and the show has not improved since then. All the drama stemmed from the lack of people skills demonstrated by Oprah protege Elaine. Though the facilities the designers worked with changed from week-to-week, the actual objectives—redesign this space and increase the zite’s Zillow zcore zestimate™—stayed the same. A couple weeks ago the neighborhood council was dropped, leaving the judges as the sole evaluators. How this makes American Dream Builders different from HGTV Star is beyond me.

Yet I still find myself tuning in every week. The stakes are so low, the drama is so benign, and the characters are not memorable, but I would usually watch live or within the Live+3 window. Nate Burkus is not a good host (he’s the type who uses “literally” a bit too liberally) and I could not name the other two judges if you gave me $1,000. We, the audience, did not even find out what the contestants were playing for—$250,000—until after Sunday’s double elimination.

I’ve been thinking about this quite a bit in the last couple weeks after a brief back-and-forth on Twitter. While watching an episode, I tweeted the following:

A few hours later, I returned to Twitter to find this response:

Dann was one of the contestants who was eliminated just before the episode I was watching. I’ve been called out for some of my snarky tweets before, but this one gave me pause. What was the purpose of the question? Was he calling me out, trying to start a conversation, or misunderstanding my tweet? It took me a few minutes to craft my response, as I could not infer tone from Dann’s tweet. Here’s what I came up with:


Dann favorited my response a few days later, but has yet to provide an explanation as to why I will probably watch the American Dream Builders finale live.

  1. More like American Snooze Builders…  

A Brief Word From Our Sponsors:

About Mike McComb 669 Articles
Mike has been writing about TV online since 2008, when he started the blog WTF Little House on the Prairie? The blog was a project to practice writing about television analytically prior to getting an MA in Television-Radio-Film from Syracuse University, or as he likes to call it "TV Camp." After a lengthy stint at TVLatest, Mike wanted to launch a site that brought in classic TV, diamonds in the rough, and the shows everybody watches. E-mail: