Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Watching the sausage being made at HGTV

Anyone who has considered buying a home or searched for a rental has undoubtedly spent many a night watching the highly addictive House Hunters and House Hunters International. I know we here at That’s What She Fed have wasted many an hour watching strangers search for homes in places we will never visit. Despite constantly being outraged at the low cost of real-estate in fly-over states (we could live like kings in Missouri) we truly loved the show.

So naturally we were super excited when our friend, who recently moved to a certain island continent, applied for and was accepted to be on an episode of House Hunters International after a coworker said it was a good way to get a free flight back to the states. We were even more excited after receiving an invite to attend the official going away party for the show at a local restaurant (alas we didn’t make it in front of the camera and the scene was eventually dropped from the episode). I was more than a little confused by the logistics of the invite, after all we had already attended our friend’s official going away party a few months earlier and she already comfortably living on the island nation… Were parts of House Hunter’s staged? What all could they be fabricating?

Turns out a lot:
  • You need to already have closed on a house before House Hunters will agree to have you on.
  • Our friend and her roommate were just renting and already living in the house they ‘selected’  
  • The back story of the Hunters was loosely based on fact and mostly fabricated
  • The Hunters were fed dialogue to create a storyline for their episode, Who will get the master suite?? Oh look at those cute boys!
  • They had to use a home-owning friend’s house for the ‘leaving home’ shoot because no DC landlord wanted to sign the production company’s legal waiver
  • The production company had to find two homes for our friend to ‘look at’ on the island nation
  • The production company filmed one scene in their ‘new home’ then removed all the furniture to film another
  • There is a reason those going away parties always seem awkward. 8 people that have never been on camera trying to act natural while attempting to follow a producer’s guidance is going to look a little forced.
There is more that can be listed, but basically the whole show is a scam. I know there are many tricks Hollywood uses to make their magic, after all it’s pretty naive to think a camera crew would make an second international trip for 45 seconds of  the ‘2 months later’ footage. But I thought House Hunters was different than other reality shows. I thought they were special. Needless to say I haven't watched an ep since.

This brings into question all other reality programming that we like. Does the Hoarders production crew have a warehouse full of garbage that they pile into someone’s house before filming? Are the perps on Cops trained actors instead of drunk rednecks? Are all of the Real Housewives not lifelong best friends? Are the people on Antiques Roadshow given items at the door of the appraisal hall? Do the Kardashians not have talent? DID SHE ALREADY SAY YES TO THAT DRESS?!?!?!