Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Thrill Is Gone ...

'Round about the time it became clear that the digital conversion would mean that I'd finally have to bite the bullet and get satellite or cable TV, I wondered how I would manage to get anything done in a home with access to the BBC.

I needn't have worried. My love for BBC America had vanished and I hadn't even noticed. Somehow – subconsciously, perhaps – I knew that my favorite shows had gone away. I'm rather fond of Gordon Ramsay, actually, but I don't want to watch him 20 hours a day.

No, my attention turned instead to HGTV. Design shows became my new love, the food for my visual soul. And "Holmes on Homes" with Mike and his integrity-fllled guns tearing it up and making it right.

But that was then.

And now?

Oh, HGTV, what are you doing?

First of all, "House Hunters," "House Hunters International," "House Hunters on Vacation," and "House Hunters Great Escapes"? This isn't "CSI," kids. This ain't "Law & Order." Stop it with the franchises already. Just stop.

And then there's "My First Place" and "Property Virgins" (that one I like because Sandra Rinomato is adorable), but my point is this: There are too many shows that involve people looking at houses. "For Rent" works because it's part apartment search, part design show. But honest to Christ, if I see one more person walk into a room of a prospective home and whine, "I don't like this paint color," I'm going to hurl a brick at my TV. No, I don't keep a brick handy. But I'll find one. Kindly tell your producers to tell would-be homebuyers to find something valid to criticize. Anything that can be fixed for $20 or less should be off limits. For the love of God, people, buy a freakin' can of paint.

Oh, and while we're at it, people who say they want an older home with character and then complain that the master bedroom is too small need to shut up, too. Guess what? Once upon a time, bedrooms weren't big enough to house an airplane. Do you know why? Because people used their bedrooms for sleeping. In their beds. And maybe to store the sane amount of clothes they used to own. Maybe the problem isn't that the room lacks a 300-square-foot closet, lady. Maybe the problem is that you own 200 pairs of shoes.

"House Hunters International" holds a bit of appeal because I like to see different cultures and parts of the world, but similar rules should apply to that show, too: If an American couple wants to buy a home in another part of the world, they're not allowed to complain that the new space is nothing like the space they're leaving behind. In my book, the realtor has permission to smack them and say, "You want an American-style bathroom? Don't leave America."

You know which shows I like best, HGTV?

The ones produced in Canada.

Uh oh.

As for most of the homegrown fare?

No, thanks. I'm not hungry.

Now, mind you, I know I'm not a designer. And I know it's far easier to criticize than to do. And I know that my tastes are my tastes and that other tastes may vary. But this is my blog, my take. And you, of course, are free to disagree.

But oy. Just ... oy.

"Home by Novogratz"? First of all, could the name of the show be more boring? I know that there's nothing catchy that rhymes with "Novogratz," but surely something could have been brainstormed that rolled off the tongue. Though beyond the name of the show, what are those people doing? Does anyone truly want to live in rooms that look like that? And how about scale? Does it not apply if your last name ends with a Z?

"Room Crashers"? Oh, Todd, yes, you were the hunky surfer dude on "Design Star" who filled the shirtless void left when David Bromstad decided to stay dressed. But for your final challenge, you put a giant cut-out of an octopus on the wall of what was intended to be a hotel suite. How did the the powers that be decide to give you a show after that? What was that Moroccan-themed living room about? Aside from not Moroccan? Why were there little benches on the wall on either side of an armoire? Just to fill up space? To provide seating for guests who don't want to interact with each other?

"My Yard Goes Disney"? Sigh. Aren't we hated enough already for our conspicuous consumption in this country?

"Secrets From a Stylist"? Emily, do you believe that anyone – anyone – who is not on your show is going to do every room in their home twice? What is that about? I'm sorry but "I painted this wall orange, but now I'm going to paint it blue!" is just stupid. Have you ever watched "House Hunters"? People don't want to paint a wall once, let alone twice.

And soon we'll be treated to "Donna Decorates Dallas." OK, I know that I was griping about the lack of originality behind "Home by Novogratz" but I have to ask: Was someone just going for alliteration here? Or are they intentionally playing off the title of a famous porno film? Earlier today, my mom asked me if I'd seen the promos for the show. "Donna's Floofy Bullshit?", I blurted out. Really, people? Really? Who lives in a home that looks like that? And, more importantly, why?

I do watch "Dear Genevieve," and I'm grateful that the letter-reading and thank-you-note-writing aspects have been cut from the show. Those were hammy. And I like "The Antonio Treatment," but for me, that's like watching an art program more than a design show, because his rooms are cool but beyond the limits of what I expect most people call "home." "Colorsplash" is fun and I'm glad that David was able to return to Miami. I like most of his designs and I marvel at the paintings he creates. I could watch him paint for half an hour. After all, Bob Ross is gone. And I tune into "Curb Appeal: The Block" from time to time because I like John Gidding and because the front of my house could certainly use a spruce.

But at this point, I've seen all the reruns, and four, 30-minute shows adds up to two hours of programming a week.

I need more from you, HGTV. We can't make this relationship work if you're never around.

It's like I hardly even know you anymore.

Later: I just saw a promo for "Dina's Party." Yet another show I won't be watching. Is it supposed to be celebrational or aspirational? I'd wager most people aren't blowing that kind of cash on parties in this economy.

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