I can’t help myself. Despite my intellectual leanings, I have these horribly pedestrian addictions which I simply cannot go without. One such indulgence is watching House Hunters International on HGTV. It’s a guilty pleasure; like drinking milk right out of the carton or drawing mustaches on the missing children on the side of the carton (it’s called age-progression, you haters).
The show’s based on a simple formula. A couple is moving to some exotic location. Sometimes due to to job transfers, sometimes because people just want to change their lives. To the best of my knowledge, they’ve never featured anyone from the witness relocation program. The English speaking realtor shows the couple three potential homes and then they choose one. The end of the show features a look into their new home some months later to see how well (or how poorly) they’ve decorated and acclimated themselves to their new country.
After watching entirely too many episodes, and having bought and renovated a few homes myself, I’ve developed some pet peeves which crop up repeatedly on the show. If watching H.H.I. is a guilty pleasure, then finding fault with it is surely my way of reconciling having squandered yet another half an hour of my life.
Here then, are some of the recurring annoyances from this addictive show:
- Twin sinks in the master bathroom – An amazing number of people have a strange fixation with having two sinks in the master bathroom. It’s as if they have a burning desire to share the bathroom with their spouse. Residential bathrooms are meant to be private refuges – whether you’re brushing your teeth or dropping a deuce – not a space for marital bonding.
- Paint color – People often have serious problems with the paint color of interior rooms. How inept do you have to be as a do-it-yourselfer to be stumped by painting a stinking wall? Would anyone who is about to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on a house really get tripped-up over something they can change for the price of a gallon of paint? Hell, if it’s that tough to do, hire someone to paint it for you – the labor’s probably cheap there. You can probably get the whole place repainted for a couple of chickens and a few of those funny octagonal coins with picture of the old woman on them.
- Will the dog like it? – Again, they’re spending hundreds of thousands of dollars and these people are worried about whether the dog will be happy there? The dog?! I know a fair amount about dogs, if they can sit somewhere and lick their own butts, they’re going to be pretty happy. If you’re really worried about Fido’s emotional well being, let him up on the furniture.
- 90% of the shows end with the couple picking house number 2 – This isn’t really the fault of the house hunters themselves, but the producers follow the same pattern far too often – 1st house = flawed, 2nd house = flawed but much better, 3rd house = less flawed still, but too expensive or a 90 minute commute from downtown Reykjavik
- This closet is fine – for me! Ha Ha Ha! The women in these twosomes love to crack this joke. They find a giant closet and proclaim it will be great for her clothes, the man is relegated to sharing the linen closet with the dog. Har dee har har!! You’re a laugh riot Alice! [Author’s note: In the event of a gay male couple, the clothes-horse gets to crack this joke while his partner peers into the linen closet with a look of resignation on his face. In the event of a gay female couple, there is no joking]
- Price change-aroo – After showing the 3 choices, the couple ends up buying the house which is way beyond their budget by offering substantially less than the asking price. How was the viewer supposed to know the seller was so spineless on or that the buyers were so shrewd? Who would have guessed that people who were such wusses about the paint color in the second bedroom could be such sharks in negotiations?
- Guest room fixation – People are constantly whining about limited guest space for all the visiting relatives who will be dropping everything and flying to Slovenia to stay with them. Simple answer; there are Motel 6’s all over the place, and if not, Aunt Sophie and Uncle Carl can damn-well stay home in Dayton.
- Kitchens in the tropics rarely have ovens – Where will they cook the turkey for Thanksgiving? My question; where do you get an 18 lb Butterball in Fiji? More importantly still, why celebrate Thanksgiving when you’re living in paradise? Go snorkeling instead! Do you need me to explain how to enjoy the South Pacific? How about I move there and you come stay in Jersey?
- Not enough room to entertain – Entertain?! It’s just you two and Mitzee the dachshund moving five thousand miles from home – who the hell are you going to entertain?! Do you guys think that you’ll be any more popular than you were back in the U.S. of A.? You don’t even speak the language yet! It never fails that the entertainers always have guests over for the final scene of the show, and by “guests” I mean the realtor and his strange looking girlfriend.
- Dwellings in many countries outside the US often have empty, unfurnished kitchens. Buyers are constantly surprised by the lack of cabinets, appliances or even sinks in kitchens. I know that this is often the way homes are sold abroad, just from watching TV. Why aren’t these people aware of this? They’re the ones who are actually moving to Turkey and they don’t have a clue! If there’s even a slight chance you could be transferred to the Istanbul office, you should be watching this show and taking notes! Do a little research, you dolts! As long as we’re on the topic, why not consider going a little light on the kitchen cabinets so Mitzee has a little more room to run around?