Hooked on HGTV shtick

August 14, 2012

This summer, I’ve grown hooked on home shtick TV. HGTV has mastered the art of turning real estate decisions into prime-time worthy drama. I’m especially fond of Property Brothers and Love It or List It.

The hunky hosts of  Property Brothers  are real estate-agent-brother Drew Scott and contractor-brother Jonathan Scott.  However, their shtick is cooperation–they work with each other to help the couple du jour get the unattainable house of their dreams by buying a low-budget house of horrors and then renovating it to their Dreamsville specifications.

But the shtick is competition on  Love It or List It,   where designer Hilary Farr faces off with real estate agent David Visentin to see if the couple du jour will love Hilary’s renovation enough to stay in their existing home…or list their home despite the renovations because David showed them something even more enticing.  At first, I watched Love It or List It thinking that the chances of the couple staying in their existing home were roughly 50/50. But regular viewers quickly learn that the odds are always stacked against Hilary. Here’s a typical plot summary of Love It or List It:

  • Couple du jour have (grown tired of /outgrown) their existing home as it is.
  • Hilary and David swoop in.
  • Hilary learns the couple’s must-haves to stay in their home after renovation.
  • Hilary promises them the sun, moon and stars for the budget the couple has allotted…usually $50K, give or take ten thousand.
  • David learns the couple’s must-haves in order to move from their existing home.
  • David promises he’ll get them to move by checking off all the boxes on that must-have list.
  • Hilary blithely starts renovating…then hits a major issue with the structure or utilities in the house.
  • Hilary is faced with making sure the house doesn’t fall down…or renovating the basement or bathroom.
  • Hilary has to drop one or two must-have projects…the couple are upset.
  • The couple don’t offer to increase Hilary’s budget to account for the fact that she is saving their house from structural collapse.
  • David shows the couple two or three unsatisfactory listings…then strikes gold on the last listing.
  • Hilary does wonders with what money is left from the budget.
  • The couple love what she did.
  • David tells the couple that Hilary’s work added more value to the home than the budget they had allotted to her.
  • The couple decide that the added value to their home from Hilary’s work will allow them to buy the last home that David showed them.
  • They choose to list it.

I know it’s all formula…whether I’m watching Hilary versus David or the Property Hunks. But I can’t stop watching.

I’m hooked.


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