House Hunters

One of my favorite things to do when vegging out on the weekend is to watch House Hunters on HGTV for hours.  Not because I love seeing the houses, but rather yelling at the TV over the ridiculous things the couples on the show say and do.  I mean, you’re not going to pick this perfect-for-you house because you don’t like the paint color? And you DO pick the house that’s oh, say, rotten with termites but has granite counter tops??? REALLY? It makes me NUTS and I love it. Andrew and I can be found many a Sunday yelling at or TV “Wrong house, you idiots!!!!” or “Your husband is a jerk, lady! Run!”.  Of course, as many have found out, the show is rigged. They choose couples who are already in escrow on a house and stage two others to “choose from”. So now when I watch I try to figure out which house they already bought and when they are faking it. Regardless, it’s great fun. And I know I’m not alone in my love/hate relationship with the show. This student artist did a HILARIOUS installation of House Hunters quotes painted over old cheesy landscapes. SO TRUE!







  1. “The master bedroom is kind of small” gets me every time. What the hell are you planning on doing in there??!!

  2. Ugh! I didn’t know it was rigged. Thanks for sharing this. I don’t think I can watch it anymore. More time for reading some of those books you posted about :) !

  3. I’d read a while ago about fake shows which includes “Love it or Leave it”. People sign up to do the show just to have Hillary redo their house for them … so all their whining is faked. Thank goodness. Now I just watch it with the mute button until the reveal. I’m a sucker for reveals.

  4. My favorite term, it has a “stand up shower” as opposed to a… sit down shower???
    We’ve played a drinking game to this show. Every time they complain of something being too small you have to take a drink. I don’t recommend this on a regular basis, you will be crap faced evey time you watch it. We try to pick the one they’ve already purchased as well. Hate the first time buyers. Their Cristal list of wants on their Pabst Blue Ribbon budget is too much for me to watch.

  5. Hilarious! I also can’t stand that EVERY woman on the show makes the same joke about how the master closet is hers and the husband will have to put his clothes elsewhere.

  6. I hope I don’t spoil your fun, but the house that they pick is usually the one that’s empty (read an article somewhere). The ones with furniture are the dummy houses. The phrase that gets me every time is “open concept floor plan.” My favorite part of the show is groaning about how huge and cheap everything is compared to Los Angeles where I live.

  7. That totally makes sense that one of the houses would be in escrow…but I SO did NOT know this!! I feel like it is totally different for me now :P

  8. The episodes I love best are the Atlanta ones where it’s a just-married couple who “need” at least five bedrooms!! They must think us New Englanders (gasp–only TWO bathrooms and NO garage!?) live in squalor!!

  9. It makes me cringe to see people act like living with a countertop that’s not granite is camping, and then they pick a house with a crappy builder grade kitchen with no cabinet space instead of installing stone tops in what is clearly a better house with more potential/space.

    My friend’s sister was the second-opinion-friend on House Hunters International and it’s completely staged. Some of the furniture in the apartment they chose belonged to her friend and they just pretended that it came with the place. :)

  10. It drives me crazy when women won’t pick a house because it has a formal dining room! WTH?!?! You do realize you can make it anything you want right???

  11. LOL, my niece told me her and her friends made a drinking game based on the standard comments… granite?? walk in closet?? open floor plan? every time the “potetial” homeowners makes the comment, time for a sip of the drink. I like to think is a more sophisticated version of quarters.

  12. How about that the “neighbors are too close” (e.g. another house in sight)? What are you doing that it’s unacceptable to have your house be visible, period? My favorite, though, is when people talk about how much they “love to entertain” and then at the end they show them in their new home serving Kraft singles and grapes to a few friends. People love to say they love to entertain, but … no. These friends will obviously never be over again. And, of course, every time the word “man cave” comes up I want to punch someone. God I love that show.

  13. Yes, it’s rigged. And the final house is usually the one with some furniture still in it (bc it’s too much of a pain to move out for show)….esp. in the International ones. We were asked to be on the show and we would have had to move all of our furniture out of our current apt., fly back to the States and pretend to be packing up and moving…all for little compensation. No thanks. And, I’m sure they’d make us say those terrible one-liners…like “oh, we love to entertain”.

  14. This is our guilty pleasure as well. My husband has taken to judging the potential of the marriage lasting by the way the buyers interact. When I hear “It’s not gonna last” in the first minute I know they’re doomed…

  15. Oh, and let’s not forget House Hunters International, which finds homebuyers dumbfounded by the placement of washing machines in bathrooms and – God forbid – bidets!!!?? in France!!!???

  16. Yes! I especially love House Hunters International, where you’ll have a family moving from a 6000 sq ft McMansion in Texas to Europe and they just cannot seem to get their heads around the fact that Things. Are. Smaller. – rooms, fridges, etc. It has to be staged, because if not they really should have done the tiniest bit of research before packing up everything and moving across the world…

  17. The artist’s cheesy backdrop for the quotes is a perfect metaphor for the show. All I can say is that HGTV must be producing a ton of garbage on a shoe string these days.

  18. I second or third the man cave comment. HATE that phrase/meaning or whatever. My husband loathes it too. Another one is when looking at the master closet, the woman always says this will do…for her stuff, while their man can have the closet in the hallway or another bedroom. I’ve watched so many episodes but love it. If nothing else is on TV but that, I’m good. Not as much of a fan of House Hunters International though.

  19. You REALLY hit the nail on the head with this post. I spent a large part of my Christmas break watching HGTV and was continuously dumbfounded at the idiocy of people who are shopping for houses. The complaints about carpets and paint colors always elicit my biggest eye rolls. Also, my husband and I constantly joke about references to “open floor plans.” People, your houses are all going to look dated in 5 years!

  20. Love this post! My husband and I were on the show about 10 years ago and yes, you got it right – we were already in escrow on our selected home at the time of filming. My funniest memory of the show was the fact that they wouldn’t let us say “bar stool” because of the word “bar” (too risqué for middle America??). So instead we had to say “stool” which, during the seriousness of filming, my husband and I found incredibly funny because we kept conjuring up images of um…stool.

    The other thing I vividly remember is the producer trying to locate and secure rights to film in two ugly duckling homes. Somehow at the time I couldn’t understand why our friends wouldn’t agree to allow us to film their house as the unchosen ugly duckling.

    When the show aired i was really surprised to learn that every shirt I owned was embarrassingly tight and revealing.

    It was extremely time consuming to film but still a really fun experience!

  21. My other favorite is The Property Brothers..I’d like to know how they get a whole house done, kitchen baths, basement, bedrooms for 50K. Where is this contractor, I want to hire him.

  22. I always love your posts but I have to say: this one had me rolling! It makes sense they’re all staged as they always get the house they decide on even after inspections etc. I’m liking the HH Renovations show a bit more now; the people are open to finishes other than granite and stainless steel!! My particular favorite for classic House Hunters is when the woman is completely shocked about what they can actually afford and feels the need to pick everything apart while the man just looks nervous. Awesome!

  23. Ugh, I really dislike that show but I find the international version al little more tolerable.

    Yes, I heard they contact the real estate agent first and start with a house that is sold. They then go back and film two empty houses.

  24. I was watching the show last night and thought the same thing! The people want the weirdest, most expected shit. And god forbid there’s character (mistaken for flaws). The HGTV voice over lay drives me crazy too.

  25. agree agree agree agree!!! with everything everybody said. i love to watch this show and i LOVE the international one! and now there’s the one in hawaii – redic

    i also love rehab addict with the cute blonde that remodels old homes.
    if i hear “open concept” one more time…..
    also, i cannot BELIEVE that people pay $500,000 for some tiny little old house, in some areas…..that would buy you a mansion in RVA!

  26. I so agree. I participated in one of the knock-off shows on TLC and the person wasnt even in escrow, she had owned it and lived there for 6 months when they filmed. They actually came in and moved her furniture out and shot around those areas that would show changed in the “after” part of the show when she talks about how much she loves her new home. Many of the homes we supposedly looked at we only walked in the front door, counted to three and walked out and then made up stuff about why it would not work. So fake! But fun, I guess.

  27. A friend of my brother suggested a “House Hunters drinking game.” No one would stand a chance of sobriety when the “magic drink words” are……. Granite, stainless, open concept, hardwoods,
    Double shots for bad paint, bad carpet, too small etc. Could be a fun Saturday night?

  28. My pet peeve is “hardwoods”. What the hell is that?
    I believe they are referring to hard wood flooring.

  29. My husband and I watch the Hawaii edition, and find ourselves laughing over the typical comments. We had no idea the show was fake. This knowledge might have spoiled the fun, had I not read in the comments about the drinking game, which we will have to try next time! The paintings were the perfect complement to this post. Thank you for a good laugh.

  30. The other show that gets me is “Love It or List It.” Without fail, Hilary comes up against one major issue that results in the couple not getting everything on their wish list for the renovation of their current house. And the couple is always equally divided about staying or moving. I’m such an analyzer that they’re just too contrived for me to watch any more.

  31. We have always loved the show as well and were equally guilty of making fun of people, so when we were approached to do our own international episode, we were a little nervous about saying yes. Was Karma going to bite us in the rear? People seemed to like it and we thought it was good fun, but I have a new appreciation for the couples who do it because the hours of filming are crazy long! :-)

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