Why House Hunters being fake matters!

House Hunters is my dinner time companion, the show with a simple concept- a couple looks at 3 houses and picks one. But it was my escape, seeing beautiful houses in Maine to Chicago, to vacation homes in Belize and Sao Paolo.

But this week, the big debate in the newspapers, blogs, and magazines broke my blissful dream- one of the couples that appeared on the show announced that they were signed by the show only after they closed on the house, and they went to see houses that weren’t even on sale (in fact they were houses that belonged to their friends that were staged).  The show admitted that they consider couples that are further along the apartment hunting process.

Most people’s reaction would be reality shows aren’t real anyways? I mean think about it- would you really believe that rich and successful women from Real Housewives of New York would fight about hangers on a vacation in Morocco? And would you believe that 15 young, beautiful and successful women would all be crazy about one guy they barely know, work on getting his attention even as they know the other 14 women are doing the same thing, and cry about his rejection on a show like the Bachelor? The level of drama on contest shows like Amazing Race and Survivor makes you believe they hunt for the most extreme personalities.

So yes, I know all the reality shows aren’t real, so why does the story about House Hunters bother me? I am surprised because it was the one show that didn’t have any excess drama, it didn’t have the theatrics of all the other shows so I believed it. It was the one few pleasures on the otherwise overly dramatic television channels. I am not looking at the show to learn data on housing or learn how to buy houses, but it is the simple pleasure of weighing in what the couple would choose, what they would compromise on, and whose opinion would count while deciding! It is actually my window in to how couples interact, and decide- a newly married couple who want to buy a home in Chicago can’t decide on whether they should buy an apartment in a skyscraper (his choice) or town house (her choice), so who gives? and why? Isn’t it fascinating to get in to the minds of people-how they got from building their expectations of their dream home, to adjusting their expectations after seeing a few apartments, to what they compromised on eventually while making the choice?

So why would HGTV play with my emotions- why would they play such a simple interaction? Why couldn’t you have let this be a real show- about real apartment, real people?

Alas- I might still watch the show, but I will not be as involved or touched by the apartment hunting or decision making, it will slowly move to the same box as Real Housewives or Kardashians! What a pity!

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