I love these programs. Why? Because the plot for each one is repeated every show. That means I can do some serious multitasking and never miss an important development. Like writing to NASA demanding Pluto be put back on the list of planets in our solar system.
In case you haven’t seen one of these programs, here’s how each episode plays out. A beleaguered couple needs a bigger home, but doesn’t want to pay top dollar for a newly renovated house or new construction that meets their needs. So, they decide to buy a dump and fix it up. In come the HGTV re-modelers. The re-modelers take the couple on a tour of several falling down, rat and bug infested wrecks. The couple picks one and buys it.
The re-modelers create a computer model of how they will improve the ruined property. Every computer model for every beleaguered couple includes the following:
* A completely open floor plan for the entire first floor. “Open” means no matter where you are on the first floor, you can see the dirty dishes and pots and pans stacked up in the kitchen.
* Absolutely, positively, hardwood floors must be installed throughout. Carpet is never, ever mentioned. By anyone, as in, “Gee, I prefer wall-to-wall carpet. Maybe a nice burnt-orange, shag.” Not a possibility.
* The kitchen must be gutted and completely redone. Nothing can be saved and reused. Perfectly good cabinets that could be repainted always end up in the dumpster.
* Subway tile is the de facto tile standard. Why the new owners would want to be reminded of what it’s like standing on the subway platform waiting for the Number Six train in Manhattan as dog-sized rats run past in the tunnel is beyond me.
* Some shade of the color gray is a must on most of the walls and in most of the fabrics.
With very few exceptions the project takes seven weeks to complete, no matter how complex. The number seven must be part of the reality TV re-modeling show script writers’ union contract.
Next up, the budget is set for the redo and, although there is always some disaster discovered during reconstruction, no money is put in the budget ahead of time for unseen problems. Why? Because if there were contingency funds, there would be no ensuing Emotional Trauma.
The Emotional Trauma always arises at the half-way point in the broadcast. Without fail, things like rusted-out plumbing, asbestos, code-breaking wiring, termites, a sinking foundation, or a leaking roof is discovered. Thankfully the producers have avoided including the discovery of decomposed bodies behind false walls. The new owners are thrown into a tailspin. Tears and long faces all over the place. Now they must give up something on their wish list to pay for the repair. They don’t have another nickel to put into the project because they’ve spent any remaining cash on outfits and hair-care for the show. The give-up is something like a walk-in wine cooler complete with a travertine tile bar, heat-massage bar stools, and a thirty-eight-speaker sound system. Or a man cave in the former garage with a gun range, 3-D theater system, and a retractable roof for star-gazing. More tears. So much so the new subfloor is getting squishy.
After a break for an ad touting the benefits of Kevlar-based home siding for urban dwellers remodeling in newly gentrified neighborhoods, a solution is at hand.
The re-modelers figured out during the break that if they just moved the downstairs powder room two feet to the left they wouldn’t need a thirty-five-thousand-dollar steel beam holding up the center of the house.
Finally, the end is mercifully at hand. The couple walk in the front door and are hugely impressed. The home is now reconfigured as well as completely furnished and decorated by the re-modelers and it’s all a surprise to the couple at the Great Revealing. Tears of happiness this time. Another success. Wonderment abounds.
Now that you know how these shows play out, set your TV to HGTV and start multitasking. Like writing to the Food Channel and demanding a new series devoted to the creative uses of Velveeta Cheese in haute cuisine.