The issue of unrealistic time compression for shop projects is something that I have written about before. But I come at it from the point of my concern for shop safety. I am often frustrated by the amount of time that it takes for me to do some of the most basic shop operations. My main frame of reference (at least in my head) is the visualization of Norm (and others), zipping through the most demanding of operations ... and all in 27-minutes. On a rational basis, I know that Norm is using staff, video production pasting, etc. ... not to mention that he is always showing us the one that he builds the "second time" (remember, he always first builds the "prototype").
I think Norm's brads are kind of like dissolving stitches, right? They just absorb into the wood.
I just finished up the Chest of Drawers series for the Guild today. Now this project would normally take me a week or two at the most to build. But because I filmed it over the course of 12 videos, the actual time was about 2 months! On the web, I have the luxury of producing very long video presentations. On television, there are a whole host of reasons for condensing an entire build into a 30 minute time slot......its just the nature of the beast. So I would never use a TV show to gauge things like time because you'll always come away with the wrong impression. Video content on the web (and some DVDs), however, will give you a much better perspective for how long a project will take in the real world. As nice as a well-produced TV show can be to look at, I don't think they provide the best service to the viewer in terms of setting realistic expectations. But its a great format for inspiration and general tips.
Even with this awareness of the un-reality of the "visualization of TV furniture building," the "zip-zip-zip" of the flow of these videos affects my expectations in my own shop. I am always telling myself to "slow down, you are not on TV!" I hope that I will keep saying that to myself ... and that I will keep listening. Still have all my digits and hoping to keep 'em!