Like so many others, I’m addicted to HGTV. In part because I enjoy fantasizing about all the upgrades we could make to our own place (time and money permitting), but mostly because I like to yell at all the people on these shows:
“Becky, you’re seriously going to pass on that house because it doesn’t have granite countertops?”
“Take the mud room option, dummies!”
“David, you knew the house would be tiny; the show is called TINY HOUSE HUNTERS.”
But there is very little reality in these so-called reality shows.
First, why does everyone seem to get along so perfectly? I do one DIY project with my husband and I’m basically ready to file for divorce. Imagine trying to put IKEA furniture together, indefinitely. I don’t believe that Chip and Joanna Gaines don’t want to kill each other at least some of the time.
Second, anyone who has had any kind of home renovation knows it’s not near as easy as it appears when neatly wrapped in a 22-minute TV segment. Home reno projects always go over time, over budget, and everyone is cranky in the process.
Here’s a look at what our favorite HGTV shows would look like if they were realistic:
Chip and Joanna are arguing about shiplap (again) while their children run and scream around them. The kids use excessive profanity that they’ve picked up from their parents’ frequent fights.
“Why does it always smell like literal shit in here?!” yells the oldest child, referring to all the goats and chickens.
“Maybe it’s all that crap that’s always coming out of your mouth, kid!” hisses Joanna before she goes back to arguing with Chip, this time about a pending lawsuit regarding a bed bug infestation which can be traced back to one of her many flea market finds.
Beachfront Bargain Hunt
Let’s change the name of this one to HAHA, Just Kidding, It’s Still Expensive AF.
A couple wants to buy a house. The husband (a retail employee) wants a house that is close to the city, with a short commute and vintage feel. The wife (a student/goat herder) wants something in the country (probably because of the goat herding), but also wants a house that feels modern with an open concept and plenty of room for entertaining.
They look at three different houses and fight over everything from kitchen space to accents made of reclaimed wood. Then they suddenly realize they don’t actually have a budget of $2 million because neither of them makes any money.
They have to get a loan for their new RV — the only option they can afford. Neither of them really cares for it, but in the long run that won’t matter because they both seem like awful humans, and they’ll probably end up selling it in their inevitable divorce.
Tiny House Hunters
People go on a show, looking to buy a tiny house, but then complain about how small the houses are and how claustrophobic they make them feel.
Oh wait, that is already exactly what happens on this show.
Twin brothers, Jonathan and not-Jonathan, convince a family to spend $40,000 on renovations in hopes of selling their house for about $40,000 more than they originally planned.
The renovations go over budget and their first contractor quits, taking their deposit with him. That same contractor puts a lien against the house when the family refuses to pay him the remainder of his fee, even though he quit.
A one-month project quickly turns into an eight-month project, all while the family lives out of boxes, cramped together in the one room Jonathan deemed presentable. The family ends up barely breaking even.
Jonathan finally decides to go into business for himself, without not-Jonathan, once he realizes that he does all the work on the show.
At the end of the day, HGTV isn’t reality TV at all. It’s fantasy TV, and maybe that’s just the way we like it.