Here’s a truth we should all probably learn to accept sooner rather than later: Reality TV? Not all real. So the recent claim that HGTV’s incredibly addictive “House Hunters” might actually be staged (gasp!) shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise.
According to a reader of the site HookedonHouses.net named Bobbi, she and her husband appeared on an episode of “House Hunters,” but their reality was much different than the one portrayed on TV. For starters, they were only cast after they had closed on their new house, and then producers made them change their reason for moving from “wanted to use old house as a rental property” to “wanted more square footage.”
This is not the first time someone’s come forward and said something similar about the reality hit, but it’s certainly gotten more traction than ever.
HGTV responded to the kerfuffle in a statement to Entertainment Weekly: “We’ve learned that the pursuit of the perfect home involves big decisions that usually take place over a prolonged period of time — more time than we can capture in 30 minutes of television. However, with a series like ‘House Hunters,’ HGTV viewers enjoy the vicarious and entertaining experience of choosing a home — from establishing a budget, to touring properties and weighing the pros and cons of each one. We’re making a television show, so we manage certain production and time constraints, while honoring the home buying process.
The statement continues: “To maximize production time, we seek out families who are pretty far along in the process. Often everything moves much more quickly than we can anticipate, so we go back and revisit some of the homes that the family has already seen and we capture their authentic reactions. Because the stakes in real estate are so high, these homeowners always find themselves RIGHT back in the moment, experiencing the same emotions and reactions to these properties. Showcasing three homes makes it easier for our audience to ‘play along’ and guess which one the family will select. It’s part of the joy of the ‘House Hunters’ viewing experience. Through the lens of television, we can offer a uniquely satisfying and fun viewing experience that fulfills a universal need to occasionally step into someone else’s shoes.”
Any person with common sense knows that there’s an inherent element of deception in any reality show. Can you really capture someone’s genuine reaction to something with gazillions of cameras pointed in their face?
The real question is: Does it matter? For many, reality TV is all about an escape. With “HH,” there’s the added curiosity factor of peering into other people’s houses. But there’s also the educational factor — this is the first time many people are exposed to the home-buying process, so should there be a responsibility to make the show as true-to-life as possible?
Honestly, it could go either way. What do you think? Are you surprised about the allegations? Do you care that parts of “House Hunters” are staged?