On March 22, 2016, HGTV aired a pilot episode of its new show, Good Bones. Starring mother and daughter duo Karen Laine and Mina Starsiak Hawk, the Indianapolis-based pair turned a tiny house into a gigantic transformation.
Little did the Home and Garden Network know the program would become a staple of its Tuesday night slate for 101 episodes over a near eight-year period.
I remember watching the pilot episode when it first aired. As a male, there was something fascinating about seeing two women lead a house flipping house and come across as major stars. At that point in HGTV history, most of the women show hosts were designers while the male hosts would be more on the construction side.
Karen and Mina lept off my screen almost immediately. They had personality, they explained their process of renovating houses in a way a casual viewer like myself who knows nothing about construction could understand. I could tell five minutes into the show they cared about the Indianapolis area and they truly wanted to make a difference when they were renovating their homes.
Almost every HGTV/home renovation show follows the same formula: The hosts have a home that needs major work, they go through the design process, there’s always a problem that affects the budget, and in the end, everything looks beautiful.
What made Good Bones different was it pulled back the curtain (as much as a one-hour show could do) of the process of renovating. Over the 101-episode run, we saw so much change in the dynamics of the show. When the show first began, it was just Mina and Karen running their “Two Chicks and a Hammer” business. Fast forward to the final season and “Two Chicks” has its own headquarters, Karen is essentially retired, focusing on her projects where she restores old junk found during demo days, Cory has essentially taken over from Karen as the head of the construction team, which now also features Tad (Mina’s half brother), Austin and designer MJ.
Every Good Bones demo day felt different because you never knew what trouble Cory, Tad, MJ, Karen, and Mina would find. The “Demo Crew” scenes where the guys would be lined up ready to smash everything inside of an old house will always be iconic, and you always knew Tad was going to be “goofing off” and trying to cause trouble and break whatever he could.
Watching the show never felt like a chore. It felt like I was watching a family grow up in real-time. The last episode of the show featured the crew renovating Tad’s house he bought with his girlfriend Anna. Tad then proposed to Anna after the renovation. It felt like a perfect way to end the series.
It is unfortunate the way the series ended, with drama between Mina and Karen that seemingly ended the show. We truly never know what’s going on behind the scenes. The bottom line is that HGTV bet on Good Bones eight years ago, and there hasn’t been another show like it since, and there probably won’t be. Good Bones is a show that will always have a place in my heart.