As addictions go, mine’s pretty benign, albeit plenty frustrating.
It’s HGTV. I can’t stop myself. And I need to HGTVent.
I have no idea why I watch this channel. Every show is pretty much the same thing, as near as I can tell. The host or hosts appear to be beautiful models, perfectly dressed, the fur-trimmed females made up as though they have just left the makeup counter at Younkers, the men in trim-cut GQ cover checkered shirts and sports jackets with just the perfect amount of fashionable stubble for masculinity. Yet somehow, these models channel all the accumulated wisdom of a thousand Bob Villa’s. They can destroy a shabby shotgun shack and within half an hour rebuild it as the Trump Towers. They seem to do every task themselves, without ever getting a speck of dust or a cobweb on themselves, or having a single strand of hair out of place. The plot of Scooby Doo is more plausible.
I don’t remember the last time I watched network TV. Give me ESPN, Discovery and History Channel - and all of my needs in life should be met.
However, no matter how much I try to concentrate on Top 10 Plays or Pawn Stars, I always find myself helpless to resist clicking back to my old nemesis.
Oh, I tell myself I watch in order to plan projects for my own humble hovel, but truth be told, I’ve watched thousands upon thousands of homes completely made over on television during the past decade, without so much as changing out a lightbulb to one of those efficient squiggly ones myself.
It’s because of HGTV that I suffer from feelings of inadequacy. I have zero turquoise accent walls, no recessed lighting, no rainforest showerhead, not even a coy pond - whatever a coy may be.
I have carpet made of 100 free carpet samples, all different colors.
Does anyone else wonder about those shows?
The ones where people are choosing between houses to buy make me wish to silent scream like the famous Edvard Munch painting.
Husband and wife seem to be going on 24 years old. He’s an assistant secretary to the assistant designer of clown shoes. She’s a stay at home mom who isn’t technically a mom yet to anything but a schnauzer with a wardrobe of dog sweaters, but is working toward what she is certain will be a lucrative career in sand art.
And somehow, they are upgrading from the horrible squalor of their absolutely perfect luxury condo in the Chicago suburbs to beachside castles in Maui. Times are tough though, they have to stick to their three million dollar budget. I actually have a real job, and would have to take out a loan for a Value Meal.
In what world do 24 year olds hipsters who aren’t rappers, Rockefellers or drug dealers have millions of dollars to buy mansions? The SUV they’ve somehow gotten to Hawaii cost more than your house did.
But what really gets me is how damn picky these people are.
They are shown fabulous house after fabulous house, and find something deal-breaking with each one. The Italian tile on the bottom of the swimming pool clashes with his eyes. The granite countertop isn’t from the precise quarry in Patagonia that she requires. This just won’t do.
And if I have to hear one more spoiled yuppie utter the word “mancave” among his must-have desires, I think I shall throw up things I haven’t even eaten.
They’ve even put the term into the Merriam-Webster Dictionary. No. No no no. It’s a basement, people. And news flash, plenty of non-males like to play pool, watch football or drink beer, and yet they don’t ask for shecellars to hide from their families (though Muffy will need a 500 square foot studio with an inspirational waterfall for her sand art.)
I die a little every ridiculous minute of it, and yet I can’t stop watching.
The meat and potatoes of HGTV, of course, is to convince homebuyers to spend their life savings on a house they don’t like at all, so the model/hosts - those twin fellas who can’t stop squabbling like 6-year-olds or that couple from Texas who are so cutesy-lovey you nearly become ill, can totally rip it to shreds.
They swing the sledgehammer for the mandatory pulverizing of walls and fireplaces and windows and cabinets that are perfectly fine, better than 99 percent of the people on earth could ever hope for.
The rest of the day, you wallow in the knowledge that your color palette is woefully inadequate and you will never, ever have a cedar-fired pizza oven in your kitchen.
I realize, now, that the channel isn’t popular because people are planning to improve their homes. It’s a cheap fantasy, like buying a Lotto ticket - you know it’s not going to happen in your life, but for the cheap price of a half hour of your life, you get a dream.
The outcome of every show, every day, is always the same. The couple sheds tears of joy over the grand reveal, and spend the last segment kissing the supermodel/remodeler’s pert butt. Oh, thanks for giving us more reno than we ever could have imagined we wanted, and for charging us a hundred grand or so in order to have a mudroom.
Everybody satisfied to tears, every time? Come on.
Just once I want to hear it, oh please, just once.
Host, with self-indulgent confidence: “Okay, open your eyes!”
Resident: “Ewww, it’s awful. I hate it. This isn’t what I had in mind at all. I want my money back. I want my crappy old house back.”
I’ll keep watching until the day that happens. I won’t have any choice