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Gazing at Ground Force

"What's that your wife said?"

"She said there ought to be a 24-hour home improvement channel."

"You mean there isn't?"

"Apparently turning your garage into a sitting room doesn't count."

"How does turning your garage into a sitting room not count as home improvement?"

"Not enough power tools."

"There are no power tools involved in turning your garage into a sitting room?"

"It's all frilly stuff. Decoration."

"Well, I just TiVoed this show, Ground Force...."

"You're not watching it for that chick's nipples, are you?"

"Oh God, I'm in love. I mean, there she is -- listen, TiVo had an ad for Ground Force in New York, this special where the Ground Force team comes to New York City to make a garden out of an empty lot between two buildings. It looked really interesting so I TiVoed the show, and there's this woman, this British chick, and at first I didn't think she was all that pretty; but then I see her get off the plane and start going around Manhattan braless, and I'm in love. She's a stocky strawberry blonde bouncing around, and to watch her shovel construction debris or haul a wheelbarrow -- I'm head over heels.

"The rest of the show is pretty good, too. It seems the premise of the show is the Ground Force team -- Alan Titchmarsh, the leader; Tommy Walsh, construction guy; Charlie Dimmock, braless Wonder Woman; and Will Shanahan -- attack a small piece of dirt and rubble and turn it into a lovely garden in a ridiculously short amount of time. Alan and Tommy snipe at one another as the problems mount. Sample exchange: Tommy comes to give Alan some bad news. 'I don't want to interrupt you...' 'Then go away,' replies Alan. Will stoically does the heavy work. Tommy complains while building things and inventing solutions to realize Alan's vision, apparently out of thin air. Charlie -- well, she is Charlie. She does everything the men do only she's a goddess.

"For their New York episode, the team descend upon a near-empty lot in Manhattan during one of the hottest summers on record and, in three days, turn it into a garden, with a paved walkway, raised flower and herb gardens, and a pergola. Aided by Bill Clinton's AmeriCorps volunteers (someone's got to keep college kids busy during their vacations) and a handful of people from the New York Restoration Project, they clear the lot, pour concrete, repair and paint the casita already on the lot, plant trees and grass, and hobnob with the locals, including an ancient Latino who built the casita originally.

"I don't know what I enjoyed most. No, that's not true: The best part is watching Charlie work, her assets gleefully unrestrained as she carts concrete, heaves bricks, throws her hair back to wipe sweat from her forehead -- oh lusty British Amazon!

"Besides Charlie, though, I don't know what I enjoyed most. Was it the nasty banter between Alan and Tommy? Was it watching these Britishers marvel at my native city's climate (it gets a lot hotter here in the summer and by the end of the episode poor Alan looked like he'd fallen in a swimming pool of perspiration) and cuisine (Tommy makes a lunch run for pastrami)? Was it seeing the cast interact with the locals, particularly their concrete guy, a typically colorful union guy from Brooklyn? (As Alan observes, quick-set concrete is wonderful, provided you get it out of the lorry before it sets.)

"Are you at your computer? You can check out more information at the BBC's Ground Force Web site. I can see from the site that Alan Titchmarsh has moved on from the show, leaving Tommy and Charlie in charge. I can also see that I am not alone, as the Web site declares of Charlie that she is 'famed for her lack of supportive underwear.' No doubt!

"So that's Ground Force. Very cool show."

"Dude, you download that piercing AVI I sent you the URL for?"

"Nope. I'm just going to stay here and watch Ground Force again."


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