There’s two kinds of TV shows in the world. Shows that you watch, and shows that you let happen. The former is everything you’re actually comfortable touching your brain and eyeballs: programs that are funny, interesting, smart, sexy, or really any positive adjective you can come up with. Then there’s the shows you let happen. This is the kind of TV you put on when you’re cleaning the house, trying to nap, or reading your favorite Thought Catalog author who happens to be both hilarious and strikingly handsome. The main thing you’re looking for in this kind of show is that it produces sound and light, and allows you to pay attention, at most, once every ten minutes. Basically it’s for when you don’t want to feel alone, but don’t want to deal with the demands of actual, you know, other humans. Which, incidentally, describes nearly every waking hour of my life — so I’m a bit of an expert. MTV is an entire network of TV that you can let happen. Twenty-four hour news channels also work, as does anything on Lifetime, Hallmark, or anything featuring Howie Mandel. The real goldmine of pointless broadcasting however is the Home and Garden Network.
HGTV is an entire station built around the question, “Real estate, am I right?!” It has a few different shows about renovations and design ideas, but for the most part it focuses on people selling or buying homes. Home and Garden’s biggest show is House Hunters, which follows buyers as they look at three different properties, then
decide which they’re going to take. Honestly, it’s the kind of thing you leave on in a coma patient’s hospital room, just in case they can still hear the outside world. I mean, you’ve searched for apartments before right? At any point during the process have you thought to yourself, “You know what? This would make a great TV show!” But it’s
oddly comforting in its simplicity, so I leave it on when I’m writing or knitting a sweater for the grandkids. Over time though, I’ve realized that House Hunters is not so simple. It’s a universal experience, home buying, and it turns out we all approach it in a pretty universal way. There are some interesting life lessons hiding
in this humdrum little show, here are a few that I’ve learned when I was supposed to be working.
1. It’s impossible to look at a closet with your mate and not joke, “But where are your clothes gonna go?” Seriously. This gag is said 100% of the time. By all ages, races, and sexual orientations. They
open a closet, look at all the shelves, get a wry look on their face and then zing the living shit out of their spouse/the entire world. “It’s great for me, but what about your stuff, honey?” Boom. Drop the mic. White lady out.
2. Couples are insufferable. I mean, we all kinda knew that, right? But honestly, you have not been annoyed by a pair of people until you‘ve seen them search for a home on camera. The amount of cutesy baby talk, awkward joking, and petty arguing that occurs is insufferable. First they’ll do the closet gag, then they’ll bicker
about how important granite countertops really are anyway, then they’ll check out the master bedroom and make coy little eyes at each other. Yeah, we get it. You’re gonna fuck in there. Congratulations. We fuck too! Sometimes. Probably.
3. People say incredibly mean shit about your house when you’re not there. Many of the homes for sale are still being lived in, so prospective buyers get to see, and comment on, the owners’ design choices as they look around. And let me tell ya, they are not kind. Earlier today I saw a sweet housewife from Illinois compare a home’s perfectly reasonable chandelier to “dead deer antlers,” then say that their bathroom tile looked like “roadkill.” Damn! You know the family who owns the house is probably gonna watch this episode, right? “Are the
owners blind?!” is another commonly asked question. Well, what if they are blind, Jennifer, then how are you gonna feel? Like a real jerk. Also, you’re wearing a Christmas sweater, so how about we take the judgement down a notch?
4. Live somewhere undesirable. Every time I see a six bedroom, four bathroom house with a swimming pool and a gigantic lawn in Nebraska go for $200,000, my heart breaks a little. I mean, not to the point where I consider actually moving to Nebraska, but still. Living in a major city has its drawbacks. Sorry if you’re from Nebraska. I know I’m a dick.
5. People make huge life decisions based on football. Men force women to buy gigantic, heavily leveraged homes just because they have finished basements that will make “totally sweet” man caves for football season. That’s 16 Sundays, dude. You’re choosing your future based on like 5% on the year. Not cool. Especially if you’re a Jets fan.
6. Everyone has at least one room that’s painted horribly. Pink and lime green stripes, people. Pink and lime green stripes.
7. People still do Austin Powers impressions. You wouldn’t think someone would discover a charming little sunroom in the back of a house and yell “Yeah, Baby!” at the top of their lungs. But they do. They totally do. “Shagadelic” is also still a thing that’s said. As is, in a particularly uncomfortable moment for the real estate agent, “Do I make you randy, baby?” How would we know this without HGTV?
8. I need to buy a house. What kind of a mortgage do you think you can get on a blogger’s salary?