Drew Barrymore could read the phonebook and we’d watch. And at this point into The Drew Barrymore Show’s run, we’re kind of surprised they haven’t tried that yet. On Wednesday, March 31, in the sort of segment that sets The Drew Barrymore Show apart from the rest of daytime TV with its high-gloss tricks, Barrymore changed a light switch. That’s it. For six minutes, Barrymore unscrewed a light switch, replaced it with a motion sensing switch, and tested it out on some decorative sconces. That’s it, and it was riveting. The segment was part of Barrymore’s interview with Tonya Hicks, a female electrician, which makes her as remarkable as any old celebrity, because she’s “the first African American woman to be accepted in the Mississippi Electrical Union” and one of the first few African-American women in the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. Hicks speaks about her passion for working in electrics, and how when she started her own business, “I would go to job sites and they would think I was a cleaning lady,” and when she corrected her clients, “they automatically thought I owned the company with my husband. I wasn’t even married!”
Hicks then walks Barrymore, dressed in a safety vest and dirty loofah, through the steps of replacing and installing a light switch: the sort of knowledge that often is not passed down to women. It feels like watching an episode of Popular Mechanics for Kids: safe, educational, gentle, wholesome. When the deed is done, Barrymore says, “If I walk by a light switch now, I feel like I know what’s inside, I know what to do, I know what wires to match, and I feel like I’ve seen something that was completely mysterious to me before.” Way to keep reinventing what entertainment can be, Drew & crew.