Al: Don't worry, it won't cost much... cause I'm gonna build it myself!It's an idea that you see often in Sit Coms: whenever a plumber/exterminator/repairman/whatever is needed for something around the house, the father (usually, but not always, a Bumbling Dad) almost always says something along the lines of, "You don't need to call a professional; I'll take care of it." Often, he enlists the help of one of his sons (never a daughter). And Hilarity Ensues as the attempt to economize backfires horribly. Can result in a D.I.Y. Disaster. For strictly plumbing related projects, see Do-It-Yourself Plumbing Project. Compare and contrast Duct Tape for Everything.
Bud: Mom, I'm scared.
Bud: Mom, I'm scared.
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- An ad for a French building supply store has an enthusiastic amateur drill a hole in the wall, then blow on it to get the dust out. It somehow blows the dust back in his face, to which his wife rolls her eyes and heaves an exasperated sigh.
- Seen on a repairman's truck: "We repair what your husband fixed".
Anime & Manga
- In InuYasha, the title character accidentally damages the handlebar to Kagome's new bicycle. While she goes to school, he volunteers to fix it. Given his lack of knowledge on bicycles — or anything else from the modern era for that matter — things quickly get out of hand, and by the time Kagome gets home, the bike is in even worse shape.
- Roger makes a habit of this in FoxTrot. In his best effort, he manages to burn his silhouette onto the wall while trying to light the furnace.
- Calvin and Hobbes: Calvin occasionally tries to fix things around the house (including more than one ill-fated plumbing incident), and usually ends up causing more destruction than when he tries to destroy things.
- Garfield: Jons attempts to repair things around the house have a great chance of turning into this, like in the title panel of this comic.
- Implied in Calvin and Hobbes: The Series:
MTM: And yet, this isn't half as dangerous as the time your Dad tried to fix the toaster.
- Hits Twilight hard in the Triptych Continuum: while kicking a patron out, she puts a crack in the library door — a crack which she decides she must fix herself. It doesn't exactly proceed as planned.
Films — Live-Action
- In The Crazy Family, The father hits an ant nest and water main after digging a new basement.
- The basic plot of the Buster Keaton film, One Week. The newlyweds try to build a house with a full kit, but a rival sabotages the parts numbering. Obviously, professional house builders could have spotted the problem long before the couple does.
- The Three Stooges are pretty much the kings of this trope. One short has them building a dream house for their wives, which ends up being something out of a Picasso painting with a set to stairs leading to nowhere and a door on its side.
- Older Than Radio: Jerome K. Jerome's Three Men in a Boat (To Say Nothing of the Dog) features a brilliant story about Uncle Podger hanging a painting along these lines.
- Jack Prelutsky takes this to comically exaggerated heights in his poem "I Wish My Father Wouldn't Fix Things Anymore." (note: PDF link) Everything the father in question fixes works after a fashion, but not in quite the intended way—for instance, a toaster that previously didn't pop now pops even when disconnected.
- In Diane Duane's A Wizard Alone, Senior wizard Carl provides an instance of this when Kit stops by and finds him trying to rewire the lights in the kitchen, despite his housemate's repeated suggestion that he call an electrician:
"We're expert enough to change the laws of physics temporarily," Carl muttered. "How hard can wiring be?"
- Bree Pym decides to repaint her bedroom early in Aunt Dimity and the Lost Prince. Unfortunately, she does so during a February cold snap and cannot open the windows for ventilation without risking freezing and/or bursting the plumbing pipes. This brings her to Lori's doorstep in hopes of a place to stay for a few days.
- Our Miss Brooks: In "Do It Yourself", Mr. Conklin starts the plot in motion when he burns down his garage after a misguided attempt at fixing the electrical wiring.
- Community: Pierce tries to fix the outlet in Annie's apartment as she moves out.
- Doctor Who: The Doctor, in all his incarnations, has a pathological dislike of manuals of any description or for any item. Being the Mr. Fixit of the universe, this should actually make you worry a bit, as it can blow up spectacularly in his face. And, everybody else's. Still... he does manage to gaffer-tape up the worst of any mess you stick him near in imaginative, and often, innovative ways. Even if he caused the mess in the first place.
- Practically the whole shtick of Home Improvement's Tim Taylor, who would (of course) apply Tim Taylor Technology. (Except of course when it did work. This usually occurred when he stopped assuming he was doing it right and did things like double-check measurements and read the manual.)
- The Red Green Show got a lot of mileage out of this trope. "If it ain't broke...you're not tryin'."
- Married... with Children's Al Bundy also espouses a Doom It Yourself philosophy. His family stays out of it, but sometimes he gets his NO MA'AM buddies to help him, who are all just as incompetent as he is.
- One time, all the NO MA'AM members' wives started a betting pool on which husband would fall off the roof next, and on what.
- In one episode he claims he is inspired by his grandfather (who apparently had the nickname "Grandpa Hook" because of this).
- In one episode, after countless attempts to fix the roof (making it worse in the process and falling off several times) he actually succeeds in fixing it and the TV antenna. Sadly, he can't avert this Trope, as the episode ends with him hanging upside-down from the roof by wires, yelling for help.
- Its All Relative did this in one of its few episodes: the son-in-law to be breaks his fiancée's gay dads' fancy cappuccino machine, and his father tries (and fails) to fix it.
- In the Fawlty Towers episode 'Gourmet Night' Basil insists on fixing the car himself despite Sybill's ordes, resulting (of course) in the car being unfit for use when he most needs it.
- Endlessly on Top Gear — the presenters have tried to build their own electric car, space shuttlenote , and "Mitsubishi Evo" (nee Renault Avantime), generally for less than the cost of the real thing. Leads to a Crowning Moment of Funny if the thing fails or a Crowning Moment of Awesome if it succeeds, so it's great entertainment either way.
- The DIY Network's Renovation Realities is this combined with frequent Crowning Moment of Funny.
- And inverted on fellow DIY show Disaster House. The point of that show is to take a house already scheduled for demolition and intentionally inflict all manner of calamities upon it until such time as they do something so bad to the house that the insurance company calls the whole building a write-off, at which point they tear it down as originally planned and start again with another house. After the anvil has been rolled down the staircase, the car has been driven through the garage at speed, the herd of sheep has finished their pooping session, the elephant has finished clogging the toilet, the indoor lucha libre match or roller derby has concluded, the sand castle has been blown apart with C4, or the piano has been dropped through the roof, then and only then do they get around to undoing what their chaos has wrought. Discussions of what insurance will cover and pleas to leave things to the professionals due to the sheer scale of the disaster in question are common. (The thing that finally did in the first house, by the way: simulating ice and snow buildup with a garbage truck. Placed on the roof.)
- Carl on Family Matters was infamous for being absolutely terrible with housework, yet determined to be a man and fix it himself to save a few bucks. A Noodle Incident involving a spice rack ended up with the family staying in a hotel for a week while professionals fixed the mess, just to give you an idea. He tried to install a shower for his mother and somehow ended up crossing the pipes so turning on the sink turned the shower off. That's how bad he is. He also almost burned the house down trying to fix a toaster, and his birdhouse was condemned by the Audubon Society. Perhaps more poignantly, he also electrocuted himself trying to fix a lamp and would have died if Steve Urkel hadn't performed CPR to save his life.
- The entire point behind Canada's Worst Handyman, a Spin-Off of a similar series for driving. Five handymen are taken to a building in need of renovation with the person that nominated them. They are given a series of challenges, ranging from making a worktable to installing a ceiling fan to installing disco balls. The show also includes several challenges where all five handymen are brought together to do a larger project. The end of each episode includes ‘Most Improved’ who leads the next group challenge and ‘The Worst’ who is given ‘homework’ to do with the host. At the end of a season, the host and two experts decide that season’s worst.
- The guys on Pawn Stars are frequently offered classic cars, which can sell for huge prices. Unfortunately, some of these cars' owners did their own mechanical work, and it turns out they were so incompetent that they actually weakened their cars' performances and resale values. As a result, Rick Harrison and his crew frequently have to turn the car owners down, because it'll cost more to get the cars working properly than they'll be able to sell them for.
- Also common with antique metal objects, especially guns. People find them and decide to clean them up with steel wool, destroying all value from the object.
- Emergency! has an episode where the paramedic truck breaks down and the Paramedics decide to fix it themselves, much to the annoyance of the regular mechanic who doesn't appreciate them doing his job. Sure enough, the truck keeps breaking down which forces them to abort dispatches. The mechanic eventually solves the problem and the Station Captain bluntly tells the paramedics to leave future mechanical problems to him.
- Hannah Montana: When Jackson learned how much plumbers usually charge for their work, he convinced his Dad to hire him for a smaller (but still big enough to convince Jackson) amount. Jackson's Dad was furious at the results and called a professional plumber. Surprisingly, the plumber concluded Jackson actually prevented something worse from happening and said Jackson could be a professional plumber.
- The cast of MythBusters often does this on purpose, disabling safety features on the items they test in order to see how catastrophically they can fail. For example, in several myths involving water heaters, Adam and Jamie blocked off the safety valve so that the heater would explode once enough pressure built up.
- The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air: Judge Philip Banks was a highly respected attorney, and becoming a judge only improved his reputation. Unfortunately, he crossed into full Bumbling Dad mode whenever he tried to fix something around the house. His attempt at fixing the stove burned off his butler Geoffrey's eyebrows, his attempt at fixing the toaster caused Geoffrey to get hit in the eye with a piece of toast, his attempt at fixing the phone killed the line, and his attempt at fixing the sink caused a major leak.
- Frank Barone in Everybody Loves Raymond fancies himself as an ace repairman and handyman. As he is retired, his good intentions are focused on his son Ray and daughter-in-law Debra, who live just over the street. Frank's doom-it-himself blunders include alienating the whole street by using power tools at seven on a Sunday morning; destroying Debra's bathroom with a bodged repair on the shower; destroying both Marie's and then Debra's stoves with bodged kitchen repairs; painting Ray's house the wrong colour; and causing the stairs to collapse at Ray and Debra's.
- In one episode of Coach, Luther and Dauber try to install a new floor in Hayden's rec room (After their first, off-camera attempt resulted in a floor that was decidedly not level). They lose control of the cement mixer and in the final scene of the episode are part of the new floor, as the cement has risen above their ankles and hardened.
- Frank in Step by Step closely follows the Tim Taylor model of home handyman studies; at one point he assembled a gas barbecue and had a few bits left over. They turned out to be parts of the regulator system which prevented the device from being launched across town trailing a huge fireball. He found that part out the hard way.
- Invoked on Red Dwarf. Lister cuts Kryten in twain to rescue him from a crashed ship, then rebuilds him and seems to have a lot of wiring and a printed wiring board the size of a colour copier's engine board left over, but just asserts that that's just what happens when you try a bit of do-it-yourself. Until it is quickly shown that part of that board's functions were to allow Kryten to control whether he walked backwards or forwards...
- Parodied in "Power Tools" by Ray Stevens. The narrator finds himself wanting to fix things up, but Hilarity Ensues. When he ends up in the hospital, he ends up obsessing over his power bed... and then getting stuck in it.
- "When Father Papered the Parlour", which debuted in 1910, begins in the approved manner with Father announcing that it would be wasteful to pay professionals when he can do the job himself, and continues on with several verses' worth of disaster, including the misterious disappearance of the piano, and a glue catastrophe that results in one of the daughters having to be hurriedly married off to her boyfriend because they've become literally inseperable.
- Bernard Cribbins' "Right Said Fred" is a farce about three removal men trying to shift an unidentified piece of furniture and making increasingly drastic bodges until Fred ends up knocking a ceiling down on top of his head.
- Iraqveteran8888 see this quite a lot, with guns that are brought in to sell, or because the users are having simple problems. One guy decided it was a good idea to rip out the follower from his magazine, obviously causing the gun to cease functioning. Here is the long story, and a few others. Also see their earlier gripe on a similar subject.
- Dad from The Fairly OddParents! does this. Sometimes it works, (making a computer out of an old TV, a hamster wheel, a typewriter, and a plastic milk crate) sometimes it doesn't.
- Code Lyoko: Sissi's Bumbling Dad Jean-Pierre Delmas boasts to be skilled with small electronic devices... but when he tries repairing his daughter's cellphone, he ends up impaling it with a screwdriver. (It does spare Sissi from being controlled by XANA's next attack through cell phones, though.)
- Subverted when the Robot Chicken sketch America's Most Tragic Home Videos shows a clip of a man attempting to fix a lawn mower himself and ends when his daughter announces she's pregnant.
- One episode of Sitting Ducks had the main duck try to install a satelite TV dish by himself. Not only does Hilarity Ensue, but his antics make the news, where the anchorman (Er, duck) refers to him as a 'hapless do-it-yourselfer'.
- The Woody Woodpecker Show'':
- Charlie Bear, from a segment of the show, always tries (and fail) to do things by himself to save money. Of course, that includes things his wife would rather call a plumber.
- Andy Panda's father tried to tar his roof to save the money he'd have to spend if he hired a professional. Seeing the results would make Mrs. Bear glad she's not Mrs. Panda.
- Hanna-Barbera character Wally Gator also fell victim of this trope. Long story short: by the time he started believing a plumber would be needed, the zookeeper told him to call the coast guard instead.
- The Looney Tunes Show: "The Shelf" begins with Bugs Bunny refusing to pay the hardware store $20 to install a shelf, insisting he can do it himself. By the end of the episode, he has demolished his house.
- Taz-Mania: The entire plot of "Home Despair" as Taz attempts to repair a hole in the wall before his parents get home. Hugh even notes that the writers couldn't think of anything else for the episode.
- Batman: The Brave and the Bold: The 'Mazing Man story in "Four Star Spectacular!" revolves around 'Mazing Man repeatedly demolishing and rebuilding a fireplace in an attempt to rescue a cat, with predictable results.
- Dogstar: In "The Quick and the Dog", Zeke attempts to fix the food synthesizer. It results in him and Alice being drenched in dog food.
- Pat and Mat have it as their entire shtick.
- The Simpsons. Homer is a frequent offender, with most of his DIY work falling asunder in short order. Of note is the time he tried to build a barbecue and it got mistaken for a modern art sculpture instead.
- It's not just dads who fall victim to this trope. Virtually everyone having to "make do" with a damaged implement in an emergency (or from lack of funds) can coax it to work with a little jury-rigging or Percussive Maintenance, which makes the user think the problem is really fixed and continue using it without a proper repair. The latter is often what really destroys the implement in the end by aggravating the initial defect.
- A Dave Barry column deals with the columnist's attempts to do this with his plumbing system. Highlights include "a spider the size of Mike Tyson" and Barry's assertion that the Roman Empire collapsed when they tried to install plumbing in it.note Dave Barry also has a Doom It Yourself book called The Taming of the Screw.
- If the dad in question is one of those "doesn't read the manual" types, this can very well turn into Truth in Television. Even if he gets it right, it almost always takes such an unexpected amount of time and money that it'd be easier to just hire a pro in the first place.
- The site There I Fixed It is built from this trope.
- College kids in dorm rooms also fall victim to this trope, especially when it's something the school's maintenance team doesn't repair. A little bit of duct-tape, some creative thinking, and....voila! Instantly fixed. Also an instant fire-hazard, but the joy of triumph overshadows anything else. At least for the next three days, until it breaks... again. And catches fire this time.
- In an IRL example, there's a common misconception that the notorious Red and Yellow Lights Of Death (or "RROD" and "YLOD") on the Xbox 360 and PS3 (respectively) can be fixed by blasting the graphics chips on the systems with hot air from a heat gun, and many tutorials exist on YouTube demonstrating how to "repair" your game console in this manner. The fact of the matter is that this is at best only a temporary fix, and in most instances it actually causes irreparable damage to the GPU's heat sensors and the system motherboard, to the point where even a professional may be unable to repair the system. Long story short: you should not be trying to repair a fried game console.
- With the release of Xbox One, a number of gullible users fell for an Internet hoax that gave a list of easy-to-follow instructions on how to make the console backwards compatible with Xbox 360. If you followed the instructions, you ended up putting the console into an infinite reboot loop that made it unusable.
- Upgrading a PC is usually simple enough to avert this trope, at least on the hardware side of things, but British gaming magazine PC Format once received the following letter (paraphrased from memory):
''Dear PC Format,\_
- The correspondent received very little sympathy from the editors. In short, he was trying to install RAM while the system was still turned on.
- The website Dark Roasted Blend is chock full of this kind of stuff. Most of it is hilariously nightmarish — the "Crazy Wiring" section will have you either rolling with laughter or cowering in terror.
- In perhaps the saddest version of this, countries that have restricted abortion access see a rise in cases where desperate women take matters into their own hands...