I Watched HGTV (And I Liked It)

by Matt Paproth

14 April 2010


Am I the only person who watches HGTV? My wife has dragged me into the world of HGTV very begrudgingly, and it is only after about a year of mostly scowling acceptance that I am prepared to, very sheepishly, admit that I am actually starting to enjoy it.

If you are not watching this channel, I would encourage you to at least check it out. It is filled with a variety of shows for viewers with various interests: homeowners will find shows advising them on how to improve their resale value, how to work on their landscape, or how to fix problems that arise; prospective buyers will find shows about people trying to decide what they value as they look for their first home; even renters will find shows about how to spruce up their rentals.
The brilliant thing about the shows on HGTV is that the titles could not be more explicit in their indication of what you will find on the shows. The show for renters is called For Rent—prospective homeowners should, you guessed it, check out “My First Place” or “House Hunters.” Oh, are you buying overseas—well, I’m guessing that’s what House Hunters International is for.

HGTV improves on its most direct competition, TLC, by featuring shows that are mostly 30 minutes in length. Unlike the endless, whinging episodes of TLC series like Trading Spaces (seriously, is that still on?) and that one where the woman with the horrible streak in her hair criticizes how people dress, the comparatively sleek HGTV series fly by. Also, most of the shows are Canadian imports, so you can play a drinking game where you spot the accents.

The best news is that, especially in the past few months, shows have been appearing which threaten the placid, serene calm that is HGTV’s trademark. Shows like Property Shop, Selling New York, and especially Real Estate Intervention (hosted by a guy who is both more homespun and more bald than Dr. Phil) bring a sorely needed edge to HGTV. It is no longer filled with unrealistically attractive real estate agents telling super-excited gay couples that the homes they bought two years ago have doubled in price.  here are series built around the housing disaster that show people dealing with the difficulties and often failing to overcome their problems. And, let’s be honest, isn’t that the reason that we all watch reality TV in the first place?

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