Disney Adds a New Comfort Show To Your Bad Day Queue With ‘Rennervations’
Do you love HGTV and Food Network, but want a little more geek in your “Comfort Queue”? Rennervations on Disney+ will give you all the happy feels without dipping into the kind of exploitative inspiration that makes you feel icky.
Editor’s Note: Disney provided me with screeners and press materials for Rennervations. Opinions are my own.
We all have those days when we absolutely cannot bear one more ounce of stress, even in our media. Those are the days when you need your Comfort Queue: shows that can make you feel good about your life and the world without demanding emotional labor from you. Don’t get me wrong, I love emotionally scarring myself with media (who doesn’t?) but sometimes I just want to watch problems get solved and people be nice to each other. That’s what you get with Rennervations, a new collaboration between Disney and Hawkeye actor Jeremy Renner.
If you’re like me, the most recent thing you’ve heard about Renner is how he almost died in a snowplow accident back on New Year’s Day. He was in pretty rough shape… which is why I was surprised to see a new show from him come across my desk. He obviously filmed it before his accident, and production timelines mean it’s just coming out. Still, he’s putting way more work into the press tour than you’d expect from a guy who broke more than 30 bones four months ago. (My personal favorite is his Kimmel appearance, which you should definitely check out.)
Rennervations centers around Renner’s twin loves of working on vehicles and helping kids. Each episode takes him to a different part of the world where his team builds a vehicle to solve some problem affecting the local kids. In Chicago they design a music production studio for a group of at-risk city kids to help them focus on their art instead of getting into trouble. In India they make a mobile water treatment facility so a community can treat their groundwater instead of paying to truck in clean water from outside.
These are, as far as I can tell, vehicles from Renner’s personal fleet. He has a fleet?? Like a whole lot of vehicles he just buys because he hates them going to the junkyard??? I guess restoring vehicles is a thing he just… does.
Pretty clear why Disney decided to make a show out of this. Oh, they do jazz it up with graphics and some guest stars for the Big Reveal days, but the heart of Rennervations is Renner and his team. The energy is playful, chill, and low-key positive without shoving it in our faces.
The crew have such a well-established camaraderie that I did have a few moments of disorientation while watching. As in, I kept feeling like I should know who Rory Millikin (best friend and business partner) or Merri Oswald (build crew member) were because they have such big characters. Everyone seems to be having so much fun and to have such a fond tolerance of Renner’s ambitious ideas. I want to know the backstory of all these in-jokes. We only get four episodes, so maybe this is an artifact of being dropped right into a well-oiled machine.
As far as criticism goes, that’s a pretty small one. It’s really the only one I have, too. I thought going in that I’d feel like using vehicles was gimmicky and would feel contrived, but each episode makes a casual case for why the thing needs to be able to move. Then we just get to watch the team figure out logistics. They come up with some pretty impressive solutions to problems like quiet power supplies and soundproofing a bus.
Rennervations is fun. It’s inspiring. Most of all, it’s a lovely little drama-free way to unwind at the end of a stressful day. 10/10 can recommend.
Catch Rennervations on Disney+, where all the episodes dropped today.
Khai is a writer, anthropologist, and games enthusiast. She is co-editor (alongside Alex DeCampi) of and contributor to “True War Stories”, a comic anthology published by Z2 Comics. When she’s not writing or creating games, Khai likes to run more tabletop RPGs than one person should reasonably juggle.
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