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Does Anyone Care HGTV's 'House Hunters' Could Be a Farce?


"Shock and horror! Producers made something more interesting!?"

A couple days ago, a woman who had appeared on the popular "reality" TV show "House Hunters" on the cable channel HGTV, revealed the show, at least for one couple, was a setup. After a couple days of letting the news sink in, fans have come out to say they don't really care.

The show, where many prospective buyers choose one of three options within -- or slightly outside of -- their budget, can get addictive to the real estate junkie audience.

The blog Hooked on Houses recently interviewed Bobi Jensen, whose family of four went on "House Hunters" six years ago to find their new home. Jensen explained how her actual story of "getting a bigger house and turning our other one into a rental" was deemed "boring and overdone" by producers. She says they instead angled the show to focus on how the family with growing children needed a larger space. Technically, this is the case, but Jensen writes that she and her family "lived in an even smaller house quite comfortably" and she now cringes when she watches the episode dramatizing their "desperate" search for a larger home.

That's not all:

They didn’t even “accept” us being a subject for the show until we closed on the house we were buying.  So then when they decided to film our episode we had to scramble to find houses to tour and pretend we were considering.

The ones we looked at weren’t even for sale…they were just our two friends’ houses who were nice enough to madly clean for days in preparation for the cameras!

When I watch other episodes of the show now I can usually pick out the house they were getting based on hair-dos alone.

Watch the Jensen's episode of the show:

Given the popularity of the show, a few mainstream blogs have been writing about this news break. But are they surprised? Not really. Will they keep watching the show? Probably.

As the Consumerist puts it "most of us have known the show is at least partially staged." Jenn Doll for the Atlantic writes that at least part of this isn't even new news. Sometimes to speed things along, the show revealed in 2008, it chooses home buyers who have already settled on a choice and stages some of the rest. She sarcastically continues:

Shock and horror! Producers made something more interesting!? Producers made real people do things over, or fake them, for TV!? The nerve. Except, how is this different than any scripted reality show or, you know, plotted television shows in general? Are we really mad that the people on The Bachelor may not be there, actually, to find true love? Are we pissed to find out that a Tough Love contestant ostensibly there to find out what she was doing wrong in relationships was actually married? Or that in Top Chef, there were re-takes, or Tom Colicchio may have exaggerated how good or dreadful the food actually tasted?

Of course not. She writes in today's day-in-age "we are smart enough to know that 'reality' is not the same thing as truth with regard to our entertainment." This is why most people, including Doll, will probably choose to forget or ignore these newly revealed details about the show and continue on watching an episode -- or three -- of this guilty pleasure.

Jensen on yesterday wrote a follow-up on her own blog that she had an interview with USA Today and was surprised at the "uproar" that was caused by her keeping this "secret." She emphasizes here that she never really considered it a secret as she always was open with anyone who asked about the experience. She also wrote that she loves HGTV and in no way sought to discredit them.

Putting those truly upset over these revelations in their place, she writes" NO ONE looks at 3 houses and then picks one and 'gets the call' that it is theirs!, without at least a little more drama. I assume people know this. How could HGTV afford to keep flying the producer out, etc?  I think people just haven't realized this is purely entertainment and have a lot of expectations of 'reality' for reality TV that would be nearly impossible or unaffordable to pull off."

(H/T: The Stir Cafe Mom)

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