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Reality Based Home Improvement Shows


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Hi All,

One of my favorite Sunday night diversions is sitting down to watch ABC's Extreme Makeover Home Edition. I'm just amazed that anyone is able to coordinate everything needed - people, materials, permits, etc. - to build a complete home in 7 days. Plus, it always gives me a warm and fuzzy to see them helping out people who's luck has turned or someone who is truly deserving.

Well, last night I found a new show that promises to keep me similarly occupied, except this one is liable to keep me in stitches. It is Mobile Home Disasters.

Last night I was thumbing through the TV paper for something to watch while I did my hour on my NordicTrac and I saw this title - Mobile Home Disasters. I decided to watch it - figuring that it was a sort of Discovery Channel type of show about the damage done to mobile homes in Florida and other storm-prone locations during the past hurricane season.

Well, what I found was a show that kept me in stitches. It seems Mobile Home Disasters is a reality based home improvement show based on ABC's model that deals with folks in, of all places, trailer parks.

Yup, you heard it right, trailer parks. The host is this folksy fellow with a good-ol-boy drawl that drives up in a huge, gaudy monster-type truck, knocks on the door and then announces to the target home's residents that they are going on vacation for five days while his team remodels their trailer,..er, mobile home.

Like ABC's Ty Pennington, he spends some time going through the home with the owners to find out a little bit about the family and then they are whisked off by a huge limo for a 5-night stay in a luxury hotel to await the outcome of the design team's efforts.

Back at the trailer park, the host and his crew - a pair of beefcake identical twin carpenters, a grouchy interior finisher, and an interior designer with absolutely no clue as to how these folks actually live go to work on the home.

While the home is being transformed from godawful ugly duckling to mere ugly duckling, the host, who is obviously not hired for any carpentry talent, so much as for his good 'ol boy drawl and ability to formulate comical cracks about the 'parks' denizens, generally gets in the way of the carpenters and makes a pest of himself wandering around the trailer park to find interesting trailer folks to get on camera.

At one point he stares quizzically at a pair of toilets sitting side-by-side and tells the designer, "Now, this is interesting," at which point she explains that one is for one new bathroom while one is for another. "Oh, I get it," he exclaims, "I thought they were his and hers. Heck, it would be kind of handy. They could sit together and read the same newspaper (I would have done that.)!"

Back at the hotel the family is chaperoned by an elegant and very refined hostess who constantly shuttles them from one new fish out of water experience to another - Sushi Bar, Art Museum, etc. Yep, there's nothing like seeing a family of six kids and two adults sitting down to eat sushi, seeing the father take one bite and then regurgitate the "bait" and then they all leave to find a Taquerio stand and the shot fades to black as they're chomping on burritos and a loud fart is heard.

Then comes the day of the unveiling. No bus for these folks. The twins climb up on two step ladders and stretch a rope from which the family's laundry has been hung to block their view. The family gets out of the limo and the wife begins weeping while the folksy host stalls for time by alternately talking nonsense and peeking through the laundry to see if the crew has finally completed the project and vacated the house.

Finally, the laundry is dropped and the family gets to see their new, tangerine orange "house" with a new roof framed over the top, a new addition on the back, a new porch on the front, completely spiffied up inside with all new furniture, appliances and - you know it - a plasma TV!.

Just like ABC's show, the family is shown one new thing at a time, while the wife never turns off the tears. "Oh my gawd," she says, "This is everything I've ever wanted in life," and the husband says, "I'm king of my own castle now. I yewsta be king of my own, uh, trailer."

Then there's the piece de' resistance - the husband's new tool shed, inside of which we see his new soda (Yeah right - can you say beer?) machine. "Hey Honey, look I got my own soda machine," he says, and the wife, absolutely ecstatic, comes running. "Oh my gawd, oh my gawd, your own soda machine?" and they embrace, looking positively transported, while the screen cuts to the folksy host who, says sardonically, "Man, they were more excited about that soda machine than everything else we did!"

Finally, we see the family of 8 standing in front of their 'new' trailer thankfully waving at the camera as it and the cameraman are withdrawn by a cherry picker and the host and his Billy Bob truck depart.

I gotta tell you guys, it was a hoot. At one point I started laughing so hard that I had to get off the NordicTrac.

The shows perceived premise - bringing small miracles to those in need - is worthy, but the presentation was carefully scripted to present things comically - sort of the way that Jerry Springer presents some of his guests - seriously, but at the same time highlighting aspects of their lives that says 'trailer trash'.

Ironically, I think these folks probably were more in need of a home makeover than some of the folks who have been the normal fare on ABC's EMHE, so I was glad to see them benefit, I just wish it would have been done in such a way as to afford them a little more dignity.

That said, I gotta confess that I'll probably be watching this every Thursday night from now on. Like a car accident, I know it isn't something that is good, but I'm not going to be able to help myself.

When I die, I'll probably have to answer for being such cretin.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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I'm taking bets on how long it will be before some smart show-biz type decides to lump all of this certain genre onto one channel for fun and profit. "Coming soon, the all-new WTN, the White Trash Network!" Hell you can put on Cops, Monster House / Garage / whatever else you can think of, Dog the Bounty Hunter, Jerry Springer, Growing Up Gotti, and on and on and on.

The ideas and materials are unlimited, 'cause white trash is everywhere! How about a show called "Wanna B", where young white trash boys try like hell to belong in the African-American community by dressing, talking, and acting like rappers?

Or maybe "Running The Bases" where we follow white trash girls on their dates to see how far they'll let the boys go after 1 date; then 2; then a third and final date where they must score or "strike out". Ah, the suspense is killing me already.

And for good ole' point-n-shoot simplicity we could have "Juke Joint", where the host and crew would visit a different beer joint / bar / tavern every week to film the patrons drunken antics (fights, lover's spats, arrests, etc.). I nominate Jimmy Morrison for host of that one. [:-dev3][:D][:-dev3]

Brian G.

I Got a Million Of 'Em [;)]

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This reminds me of a TV show I & the buds imagined years ago when Bob Vila was making his name.

We wanted to call it "This Flop House"; it would be a basic collection of crap houses & the idiotic stuff folks do to keep them all glued together.

Personally, I've yet to sit through ANY "reality" TV show, even the home repair type. Zero, nada. They all drive me nuts, expecially the Extreme Makeover type. They reinforce, more than anything, the idea that this stuff is simpleton & happens in an eyeblink. I'd like to see some of these houses that get built in a week in about 15 years. I gotta believe that at least a few of them are going to be a mess.

I'll grudgingly admit to being mildly interested in the trailer trash segments though.......

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The only one I used to watch was "Cops". I thought it was very educational in terms of the mind-boggling variety of crap our poor police officers have to put up with, and the very real and totally unpredictable dangers they face. Whatever they get paid, it ain't enough.

The one I wouldn't watch if you paid me is "Growing Up Gotti". I'm personally embarrassed as an American that a show like this can succeed in our society, enhancing the celebrity of a family whose fortunes are built on the blood and suffering of their countless victims. My God, have we no shame or sense of right & wrong left? None? [:-ashamed

The best white trash show on TV is actually a redneck show, and isn't reality based. "Blue Collar Comedy" celebrates the redneck in all of us poor, uncouth working stiffs, without all of the negativity or the gawker mentality. My personal favorite "Foxworthyism" is "If your front porch caves in and kills more than 3 dogs, you might be a redneck." [:-doggy][:-doggy][:-doggy] [:-skull]

Too bad we can't have more programming that's really funny, eh boys? We need to laugh a lot in this world. [:-jester]

Brian G.

World Critic At-Large [^]

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Hi Steve,

Too funny and actually true in my case. When I was in the Army it was the only way I could keep my weight under control - even daily PT didn't help. I got on that thing faithfully every night. Hell, I even paid a full fare extra on an airline to hand-carry the thing to Korea when I transferred from Europe, so I wouldn't have to wait 2 - 3 months for my household goods to arrive.

When I finally retired I swore I'd never do another second of PT again and it sat in the corner of the extra room for nearly 8 years and my wife used to hang clothes on it.

Then, 11 months ago today I had to break my word to myself and finally decided that my doctor was right and I had to get the extra weight off, and I got on it again. Don't know what it is about that gizmo, but it's the most effective thing I've ever used for keeping in shape without practically killing myself. I'm down over 60 lbs. but that last 15 lbs. to my goal is a real struggle.

Nuff said or Brien will have a segment on his WTN featuring balding fat guys sweating away at various devices they saw on TV commercials. (That reminds me, I haven't seen a NordicTrac commercial in about 6 years. Do they still make 'em?)

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

(And once more O'Handley takes thread drift to a new dimension.)

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My wife loves Extreme Makeover. I've watched several episodes and can do without it. I'm sure we're not seeing all the goings on behind the scenes. I've watched them build at leat two of those homes in the rain. I think one was in New Orleans and the other was in California. Who handles the warranty claims? Can't imagine pouring a slab in the rain and start framing within a few hours...oh wait...they do that here.

I'd also like to see these homes in 5 years and see what kind of condition these homes are in. I think it would be eye opening.

There is one show on HGTV that my wife watches where an agent will come in and walk through the house telling the host why the home is not selling while the homeowners watch from a closed circuit TV in the neighbors house.

They then do a "mini" makeover for under 2 grand. It's kinda neat seeing what they get rid of and what they change to make the home more likely to sell.

I'm also Tivo'ing Discoverys new series "Deadliest Catch" and my old stand-by "24".

I like the Blue Collar Comedy show, but IMHO Jeff and Bill are not near as funny on that show as they are on stage. And even their stage stuff is getting a little stale. As for Larry the Cable Guy, he can bring tears to my eyes in record time. The bit about shooting the horse with a sore foot has me rolling on the carpet.

Get-R-Done

Donald

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