I?ve been having trouble sleeping since the new fall line up began. I blame Ty Pennington. The man has been in my dreams. And not because he?s good looking. Well, not just because he?s good looking. Truth is, I?m mad at the guy. And not because of his DUI. My favourite show has been cancelled and I blame Ty. And I will tell you why. Hey, those last four sentences all rhymed. Just thought I would point that out. But I digress.
Trading Spaces was not only my favourite renovation show, it was the show that gave Ty his start. And what did he do? Turned his tanned back and left it all behind for the glitz and glam of Extreme Makeover Home Edition. Which isn?t Extreme Makeover at all. It?s simply Build A Brand New House With Endorsement Dollars. How is that a makeover? It isn?t.
Let?s compare the two shows, shall we? Trading Spaces took a set of homeowners, put them in each other?s houses and gave them a thousand dollars and 48 hours to work their magic. Let me tell you something about today?s homeowner. They work two jobs, have little expendable cash and even less free time. They?re not all that handy with a hammer. The show spoke to them. A limited budget, a weekend and we were amazed at what could be accomplished with a little paint and elbow grease. When the show was over, you could flip off the remote and easily incorporate the makeovers into your own home.
Now let?s take a comparative look at Extreme Makeover. Here you just need to get yourself a bulldozer, a crane, a wrecking ball and knock your house over. And then haul it away. And then rebuild it. Seven days later you have a mansion worth at least 5,321 exclamations of, ?Oh my God!? (but who?s counting?). It will also cause you to scream, cry and hug people. There is just one problem. Unless Ty shows up on your lawn with his bull horn in hand, there is no way you are going to be able to afford this kind of makeover.
With Trading Spaces if you saw something you wanted to copy you said, ?Honey, make a list. We?re going to need two colours of paint, a sponge and some plastic.? With Extreme Makeover you have to say, ?Honey, make a list. We?re going to need a wrecking ball, a bull dozer and a new house.? Sounds similar, but upon closer inspection, it?s really not the same, is it?
Extreme Makeover is all about entertainment. It?s a feel good show, not a do that show. Don?t get me wrong, I am happy for the people and from the way I bawl during the back story at the beginning of every show, they certainly could use a little good fortune in their lives. But having said that, I?m not even sure it is a feel good show. Oh sure, they take a deserving family down on their luck and give them a beautiful house, but what happens after they leave? They?re already struggling to make ends meet in a 900 square foot home – how are they going to manage a 9,000 square foot home? How are they supposed to pay the utilities? Or the fire insurance? Or the property taxes? And what about all those jealous neighbours? Something tells me they will be emitting a few more ?Oh my God? flavoured exclamations in the near future.
Oh sure, they can sell it. Which is probably what most of them end up doing. But then that sort of defeats the whole purpose of giving them a custom built home in a familiar neighbourhood, doesn?t it? And that?s another thing. The custom part of it. It?s all Jim dandy to give a six year old a $40,000 bedroom complete with a real fire truck embedded in the wall, but what happens two years down the road when the kid decides he?s outgrown fire trucks? Have you ever tried to remove a fire truck from your bedroom wall? Well, have you? It?s not that easy.
I guess what I really want to say is that Trading Spaces was a do that show, they shouldn?t have cancelled it and I want it back. And now I have.
Shannon McKinnon is a humour columnist from the Peace Country.