If you are over the age of 25, you have most likely begun to dabble in HGTV.  Although I hate the slow torture that is the show HOUSE HUNTERS, I could very easily die in a house fire in order to finish watching a home renovation program.  One of my favorite shows, second only to PROPERTY BROTHERS, is LOVE IT OR LIST IT.  This brilliant show is expertly crafted in Canada like all programs on the network.  It features a mannish, British lady interior designer, and an irritating, asexual realtor guy.  The two of them find people who own an unlivable home, the woman remodels said home, and the man uses Craigslist (I assume) to find a better home.  Then, the homeowners decide if they will “love it” or “list it.”  My boyfriend and I get hype for this mild competition like it’s the Superbowl.

Oh! And when I tell you the homes are unlivable, I am not exaggerating.  They contain “unique” nonsense details like a closet with wood-panelling and no place to hang anything, or a fire-place instead of a kitchen sink.  The interior designer walks in and says, “Adorable!  They are definitely going to want to stay when I take down a few walls,” (“open-concept” homes are very trendy).  And then the realtor guy says, “This place is a shit hole and they should definitely move.”  I usually agree with him.  But still, shut up, dude (I’m on Team “love it” for life).

Who is designing these ridiculous little homes where you have to climb a ladder to get to the half-bathroom?  I imagine a good-natured, inbred mountain man, downing the Canadian equivalent of Natural Light Beer while he scribbles out the blueprints for a monstrous, death-trap of a house.  Proud and filled with a sense of accomplishment, he goes about the business of ordering 2,000 planks of wood-panelling and 100 square feet of shag carpeting…

Fast forward to the dimwitted homeowners who, after three years of living there and never unpacking, are miserable.  The sole bread-winner of the family makes a living writing a blog about pickles, yet they suddenly fancy themselves in a higher tax bracket: “We need six more closets, a five car garage, and 20 foot ceilings… I mean, we do have two children after all!”   They reveal their remodeling budget of a whopping 5 grand, and that they will only buy a house listed for 10 grand more than they paid for the current home.  IDIOTS.  The small budget makes the remodeling plan impossible, and they could only find houses in their budget in Greenland.  Every episode, the interior designer essentially folds their clothes and paints the walls, and the realtor shows them three homes they can’t afford in another county.  Honestly, it really isn’t about the hosts and their competition.  It’s about the homeowners learning to compromise, live within their means, and gain some perspective.  Their experience is expensive and traumatic, which is awesome TV.

Yes, my boyfriend and I are addicted to the Schadenfreude of HGTV.  We revel in it like people who watch The Real Housewives, except… we have souls.  We’re nice, but there is something so satisfying about watching an entitled suburban couple have their hopes temporarily squashed.  Of course, we are watching in a one-bedroom apartment that still had some of the previous renter’s belongings (and scent) in it when we moved in.  Our entire home could fit into the HGTV homeowners’ garage, and they complain as if they live in a hut. To their credit though, these people, unlike the Housewives, are as broke as we are, and they have managed to acquire granite counter tops, wooden bowls filled with apples, and CHEVRON THROW PILLOWS!  The program ends, and our gleeful hatred is replaced by a faint optimism.  Someday, throwing a tantrum comprised of middle-class delusion, we too could acquire mountains of unnecessary mortgage debt and have a model home of our own.  The Canadian Dream!


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