The unexpected joy of renotainment
Over this long winter, my mom and I have found ourselves spending much of our time with HGTV. Our most-watched shows are “Property Brothers” and “Love it or List it.” Both shows focus on families who have been lucky enough to have professional contractors, designers, realtors and TV personalities help them renovate their homes.
“Property Brothers” stars Drew and Jonathan Scott, brothers and business partners. Drew, a realtor, helps families find rundown homes at a low cost that, with a little bit of money and elbow grease, will become their dream home. Jonathan, a contractor and interior designer, is the elbow grease.
“Love it or List it” also features a realtor and a designer, David and Hilary, respectively. In every episode, one of the homeowners hates the house they currently have and the other loves it but acknowledges it needs some improvements. David shows the families new homes that are more conducive to their lifestyles while Hilary attempts to modify their current home to match their needs. At the end of the show, the couple either “loves it” or “lists it,” either stays in their house or buys a new one.
Both shows are incredibly formulaic. If you’ve seen one episode, you’ve seen them all. The homeowners on “Property Brothers” will always have extremely high expectations for their budgets and will always try to change Jonathan’s design at the last minute. Hilary will always run into some unexpected problem in the house that drains the budget and David will always either go over budget or outside the desired neighborhood. In any case, the homes are always beautiful.
The predictable nature of the shows is part of what makes them so appealing. They are wonderfully uncomplicated. There is no real plot to follow and this sort of show is almost always on, even if it isn’t one of these specific shows. They’re good background news, basically, like white noise. The first three seasons of “Property Brothers” are available on Netflix. I like to fall asleep to them.
Maybe it’s weird to be praising a show that I can admittedly fall asleep watching. But I like sleep and I like background noise. I also like home décor, and when an episode I haven’t seen comes on, these shows have my undivided attention. They make home renovations look unrealistically, blissfully easy. I’ve seen Jonathon “reno” a whole house in four weeks.
To put that in perspective, four weeks ago my mom decided to remodel one of the bathrooms in our house and we haven’t even hired a contractor yet. This isn’t the first renovation project my mom has taken on since our fascination with HGTV started. The others were relatively minor, painting the walls and ceilings, patching drywall. The most elaborate thing we’ve done so far is swap out the fixtures in a half-bath.
Now we’re facing new paint, new floors, a new bathtub and shower, a new toilet and new hardware. HGTV has given us so many ideas for what makes for a well-designed bathroom and what helps resale value. It has given us inspiration and motivation to tackle bigger projects. We’ll see how it turns out before we decide if that’s a good thing or a bad thing.