Back in September, before the start of king-crab season for the Bering Sea crab-fishing fleet on Discovery’s “Deadliest Catch,” Edgar Hansen, the deck boss and engineer on the F/V Northwestern, headed to the Boston area to do a guest stint on PBS’ long-running home-improvement show “This Old House.”
When he spoke to Zap2it in the fall, Hansen hadn’t yet filmed his spot. On this February day, during opilio-crab season, Hansen gets on a satellite phone from a stopover to offload crab on St. Paul Island to share a few stories of his experience on a different sort of reality TV show.
The episode airs in most markets over the weekend of March 1-2 (check listings for your local PBS station).
On meeting the “This Old House” crew:
“I was in awe. I was starstruck. [General contractor] Tom Silva and [master carpenter] Norm Abram and all those guys. [Landscaper] Roger Cook turned out to be one of the biggest fans I’ve met. He was like a kid in a candy store.
“We don’t consider ourselves celebrities, so when someone that we look up to says, ‘Oh man, it’s my favorite show. I watch it all the time with the family. You guys are great; I have respect for you,’ that turns the tables a little bit. You realize, ‘Yeah, we do have something special going on.’
“I wasn’t there to be a celebrity. I was there to work with these guys and just hang with some contractors and hopefully learn something and take something away with me.”
On hitting the ground running — or plastering:
“When I first got there, I met with Tom right there in the foyer, the front entry room. There was some cracked plaster on the wall. I’ve done drywall work myself, but I’m just no good at it. It’s an art form.
“He had me fix a crack in the wall, do a good patch job. I learned you can plaster over a painted well and make it stick, using certain chemicals and getting it to hold. I learned a lot just in the first ten minutes I was there.”
On pulling a prank when something reminded him of his older brother, F/V Northwestern Capt. Sig Hansen:
“When I got there, the plumber kind of pulled a Sig on me. I went to shake his hand, and he pulled his hand away. He goes, ‘I’ll shake it when we’re done.’
“The way they film is a little different from the way we film, because you do a take or two, and if it wasn’t good, you could redo it. We don’t have that option here [on ‘Deadliest Catch’]. They film it; it happens; it’s there. They’ve got it, but if they didn’t, sorry about your bad luck. We just move on.
“They had to do it two, three times, because somebody tripped or the camera guy was in the picture. So we’re doing this over and over, and he was going to be late for a meeting he was going to go to. About the fourth, fifth take of me walking in and shaking his hand, and the little Sig moment started to get to me.
“So I packed my hand full of drywall mud, so when I walked in there and shook his hand, it filled his hand full of mud. So I appreciated that.”
On leaving a little something special for Cook:
“I didn’t bring steel-toed boots, so, for safety reasons, Roger let me use his boots. By the end of the day, when were all done, I took off his boots, I filled them full of dirt, and I stuck a flower in it and put it on the front doorstep for him.”
On the possibility of him being captain for opilio-crab season, after a rocky first stint in the wheelhouse last year:
“Well, no, not yet, and if I was, I really couldn’t tell you. Right now, the weather and the amount of crab we have to catch, it’s better off having Sig in the wheelhouse, just for safety reasons. Somewhere in the near future … he knows that I’m not Superman. I can’t last forever on deck. At some point, there’s got to be some changes made.”
On the Hansen brotherly love situation:
“The brotherly love situation is the same as 40 years ago; we just know a few more four-letter words now, that’s all.
“He’s the older brother; I’m the younger black sheep. But there’s home life, and there’s boat life. We’re here to work. He’s the captain; I’m the deck boss and engineer. That’s the way it is. I take orders from him, whether I like it or not. He’s my boss.
“We catch crab. He knows what he’s doing, and to turn the tables, he trusts me to keep his boat running and keep the operation going smooth and keep the guys in line. You really don’t have to like each other to work together, you just have to respect each other.”
In case you missed the episode, click here to watch the whole thing.