Why Mike Rowe Says It’s ‘Unsettling’ Watching Old ‘Dirty Jobs’ Footage

Dirty Jobs is coming back on Jan. 2 at 8 p.m. ET. And Mike Rowe is definitely celebrating (Discovery will hold a marathon earlier that day to mark the occasion). But he’s also a little bit unsettled by the footage of himself from the old episodes that have been airing.

The show first aired on Discovery from 2005 to 2013. Now, nearly a decade since it went off the air, Discovery is bringing Dirty Jobs back. The upcoming season will reportedly focus on essential workers, and Rowe is back as its host.

In the meantime, Rowe has been fielding questions from fans, including a recent one about watching a younger version of himself in old episodes. Rowe answered it emphatically in an Instagram post Monday.

“Hell yes, it’s weird,” Rowe said of watching himself on television a decade back. “Very weird. It’s not just that I’m younger, it’s that in many cases, I have no recollection of a specific scene or moment. It’s unsettling to see a version of yourself on the tube, and have no idea what you’re about to do or say…”

Why Rowe and Discovery Are Bringing Dirty Jobs Back

Meanwhile, in a video accompanying his post, Rowe said a bit about why Dirty Jobs is back and what the essence of the show boils down to for him. He said it’s a love letter to workers and a meditation on the nature of labor.

“When we started, it was all about, ‘Who’s out of sight? Who’s out of mind? Who’s doing the important work?’” Rowe said. “Who is essential, in other words. That’s, I think that’s why we’re back on the air. Essential work is headline news, and so this show came to mind. But the truth is – for me, anyway – Dirty Jobs is still a celebration of essential work, but it’s also, not to overthink it, but it is a rumination on work in general.”

“I think if we do the show right, there’s something in it for everybody,” he added. “It doesn’t matter what you do for a buck. It doesn’t matter if you’re blue-collar or white-collar or—the color of collar doesn’t matter. What matters is, are you engaged with what you do? Are you able to support yourself? Are you able to take care of your family? Dirty Jobs is a love letter to all the people who are able to do those things.”

And the new season of Dirty Jobs will be delving deeper into the day jobs of the workers who are trying to get this country through the coronavirus pandemic. It promises to be a no-holds-barred, down-and-dirty look at essential work. So tune in to Discovery to catch a slightly older version of Rowe leading the tour through America’s pandemic-era workforce.

Watch Rowe’s explanation of his return here.