I honestly don’t watch much TV these days. Don’t congratulate me; the tally of my lifetime viewing, thanks to a childhood spent plunked in front of our black-and-white set, is still quite high. Of the small amount I do watch, only about 1-2% is “reality television.” Never have I ever seen:
The Bachelor (or -ette)
Queer Eye for the Straight Guy
And the list goes on. Years ago, I went through a brief Real Housewives stint, but I have recovered. The television habits of the other Apel Ave. inhabitants are equally reality show-free. Or at least they were.
Imagine my surprise when Aiden and Peter discovered Instant Dream Home while playing at a friend’s house one day, and were totally hooked. For the uninitiated, Dream Home is a house makeover show on steroids. The entire rehab has to take pace within 12 hours, the homeowners (who are nominated by friends as deserving of help) are not told about it until it’s unveiled, and in general the pace of the proceeding is frantic. These are not small tweaks, either—decks are added, gardens are planted, kitchens are overhauled, bedrooms are enlarged. To add to the drama, something really important always either a) breaks or b) doesn’t arrive at the site on schedule. The team is amazingly chipper for the most part, led by cheerleader/actress Danielle Brooks who, when she’s not jumping around the work crew shouting encouragement, is a serious performer (Orange is the New Black).
Of course, even if the glass-topped table shatters, and the special imported bathroom tiles are the wrong size, everything turns out great in the end. The homeowners get back at the very last second, and the job is always perfectly completed. There are tears shed and shrieks of joy and hugs all around, and our merry band of workers packs up their tools and calls it an episode.
While I am more than a bit skeptical that this could really be accomplished in a mere dozen hours, I definitely see the appeal of the show. The adrenalin rush as the work crew races against time is comparable to watching the Indy 500. It’s super satisfying to watch experts pull down shabby curtains and pull up crummy old carpeting, and replace them with spanking new window and floor coverings, lickety-split.
But there’s more to it, I think. We all want the broken stuff in our lives fixed, right? And we’d all prefer not to do the fixing ourselves (I’m speaking for myself here). Who among us hasn’t dreamed of getting in great shape, or mending a troubled relationship, without having to hit the gym, or pick up the phone for a tough conversation?
It’s pure fun escapism, that show, and I have no problem with the boys enjoying it. They’ll learn soon enough that all worthwhile endeavors do take effort, and that there’ll always be something to work on.
For now, though, they’re still kids, and life is but a dream (home).