Tag Archives: reality tv

Reality TV Week: Extreme Makeover Home Edition

Extreme Makeover Home Edition Logo

Shall we move a bus or two today? (Logo via abc.com)

I’d normally be writing a statistics post today, but given that this is our special reality TV week it seems right to do a very special opinion post instead. I’m talking about “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” today, a show which wrapped its successful 9 year run in January of 2012. Specifically I’m talking about the implications of this show’s premise, popularity and the criticism it has received as a reflection of our cultural views on real estate. We can learn some valuable things from this show about the American view of poverty, and how it’s interpreted through the lens of mass media. Equally valuable is the public’s reaction and what it tells us about our cultural view of profit via real estate.

Houses vs Noses vs Time

Lest their be any doubt at the outset as to where I stand on this show – EM: HE was, much like House Hunters and World’s Worst Tenants, created to sell appliances and home building supplies via mass spectacle. In this case it’s making a spectacle of the poor and unfortunate souls who were deemed pitiful enough to merit new houses. Back in ancient Rome those poor souls would have been fed to the lions or bears for spectacle. Now we tear down their houses and replace them with opulent mansions filled with Sears appliances and run up their utility bills into the five-figures in the process.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m all for helping out the less fortunate. EM:HE, though, was a frosting of generosity plastered thickly onto a cake of “let’s sell lots of furniture.” (more…)

Reality TV Week: World’s Worst Tenants

World's Worst Tenants Logo courtesy of SpikeTV

Time to get a little trashy.

So a property manager, a process server and a former Marine walk into an apartment. Sounds like the set up for either a joke or a reality series. When one of my coworkers brought the new show “World’s Worst Tenants” to my attention a couple of weeks ago my first thought was “Wow, how trashy can you get?” and the second thought was a bit of regret that I didn’t come up with the idea myself.

Regardless, I’m here to offer my thoughts on the first two episodes, which are all that have aired at the time of writing. (A third airs Tuesday evening but I’ll have to have this article in the hopper by then.)

The Premise

As best I can tell, they’ve got two burly property managers (who call themselves “eviction specialists”) and a wispy process server with at least some knowledge of the landlord-tenant laws driving around southern California in an Escalade. They visit a selection of the worst problem tenants and are shown alternately threatening, roughing up, busting and saving the lives of the more extreme examples of the rental business.

An excerpt for your viewing pleasure (or distaste) and then on to the analysis after the jump.

Full episodes are, of course, available at spike.com from the link in the first paragraph. I probably don’t need to tell you this but the clips are not safe for work. (more…)