REALITY SERIES "Dirty Money"
REASON TO WATCH Long Island's DiResta family turns New York City street trash into flea-market treasures.
WHAT IT'S ABOUT Wait a minute -- trash, treasure, DiRestas. Haven't we seen this before? "Trash to Cash" was a 2003 FX series pairing former- city-transit-cop-turned-comic John DiResta (1998 UPN sitcom "DiResta") with his artist-inventor brother, Jimmy, doing humorous home makeovers on the cheap. Then there was "Hammered," a 2006 DIY Network series with John joking while Jimmy jerry-rigged ice rinks, fish tanks and other wild stuff.
Now they're back in "Dirty Money," which adds John's son, Matthew, called Ratboy for his Dumpster-dive dexterity, and the brothers' dad, Joe, passing on his flea-market mastery. John said in last Tuesday's series premiere, "It's simple: We find it, we fix it, and we sell it."
The guys cruise city streets and secondhand shops, looking for fodder. An old manual typewriter gets morphed into a steampunk PC keyboard. A cheap bass becomes a custom buzzsaw-shaped guitar. The brothers hawk their creations at the Hell's Kitchen flea market to see how much they'll fetch.
MY SAY "Dirty Money" is piecemeal reality TV. Some parts shine, some look dull, and the editing tries to polish it all. Last week's series premiere was cut simultaneously too busy and not busy enough, as Jimmy's inspired redesigns and fabrications whizzed by, while John's connective narration felt perfunctory.
The half-hour played like a work in progress, which the brothers' careers seem to be, too. John and Matt also do custom woodwork, while Jimmy teaches and creates when they're not together on TV.
As John narrates, "No matter what we find, we always see dollar signs." That ironically underscores the apparent impulse behind that sluggish premiere: Paycheck, please.