Addicted! I cannot get enough of it! Every time I try to pull away, they suck me back in! I'm talking about the gaggle of renovation shows currently running on TV, led primarily by HGTV and it's sister channel, DIY Network.
To be honest, I've always watched these shows - way back when the only real option was This Old House on PBS. That was in the Dark Ages, when you actually had to look up showtimes in a small magazine called TV Guide and then sit in front of the TV and watch the show real time! No recording... although later you could record them on VHS, as long as the TV was on and you remembered to put a tape in (and remove the peanut butter sandwich your children had fed to it!)
Apparently there are a lot of people with this same addiction, and you can now watch renovation and home shows pretty much 24/7. Warning: once you start it is really, really hard to stop!
Several groups of shows are worthy of mention. The first is the Crasher series: started with Yard Crashers and now expanded to Bath, Room, House and Kitchen. All are based on a host/designer/contractor that stalks people in big-box home stores across the country, looking for someone (preferably photogenic and energetic) who will take them home and let them tear out a room and rebuild it, all in under three days! Oh, and the whole renovation is free!
As a spectator, these shows are really entertaining - funny and quick and a little crazy. They showcase lots of new products, which is no doubt how they finance these shows. Home owners bring equally fun, beautiful friends and relatives to help out and they learn new skills - and have fun with new powertools in the process!
You have to wonder what they will do next and whether they will get it all done in time. Of course, this is television, so Happy Ever After can be guaranteed, at least on camera! And a little stress makes for a better story - a crew injury with a power tool, a mis-measurement that causes a setback, sidebar camera comments that are catty or doubtful.
Here's the catch (isn't there always?): they choose everything - from knocking down walls to painting the room tangerine - you don't have a choice once you agree to do the show! OK, I suppose you could throw them out if they started taking down walls - but then you would be left fixing whatever had already been damaged! And make no mistake - they always start with sledgehammers!
As a spectator, it's fun to laugh or cringe at the tangerine walls - or the latest craze of 'textured walls' that (at least in my head) would gather dust, or worse - grease! - especially in the kitchen. And there are plenty of really great ideas and products to keep you watching. In fact, the more I watch, the more I really want to renovate - just not by stalking the aisles of big-box home stores! :)