Note: The "Trooper" in question is not actually in the military. It's a metaphor, people.

February 19, 2008

This Open House Is Now Closed

Since I've been homebound the last 6 weeks, I've indulged in a lot of frustrating channel surfing. You know the drill - 80+ channels and nothing's on. Unless, of course, you prefer game shows that take no skill, b-list celebrities making asses out of themselves, crime shows, talking head pundits that just scream at each other, or various forms of celebrity stalking disguised as "news."

At one time or another, I did probably enjoy one or all of these genres of television. But that was before I had many painkiller-numbed hours to waste in front of the TV post surgery. After two weeks of this, I realized that most of what was on TV made me want to jump off a building out of despair for a society now dead. (If you haven’t seen the movie Idiocracy, please do because it demonstrates - in a hysterical way - what I'm talking about.)

OK, I digress. The point of this entry was supposed to be about the TV channel that has lured me in to a point of obsession. I can (and do) leave it on for hours at a time and will just watch, and watch, and watch.....It's become an addiction. So much so that after an incident this weekend, Wine Guy has asked me to "cut down" on watching it. So what is this evil, corrupting channel? HGTV of course.

I first started off years ago watching TLC's decorator programs like Trading Spaces (mostly because I thought Ty Pennington was the hottest thing I'd ever seen. But please know this was long before the hokey Extreme Home Makeover show, his job as a Sears spokes-hole, or his scary, skinny phase). But this was a habit I could easily keep in check because TLC airs all kinds of other crap I can't stand in between (particularly all those sappy baby shows which make me want to jump off of a high-altitude aircraft instead of a mere building).

But recently I discovered that my channels went even higher than I thought. And that's when I found HGTV, which is essentially 24/7 (excluding overnight infomercials) of only the good stuff (including carpenters far hotter than Ty Pennington).

And it’s not just the artsy design stuff I like. In fact, I'm not all that girly when it comes down to it. When I lived with Only Child, I happily let him be the design visionary (his theme was anything "Spanishy"). Nope, I like the channel's whole package. The shows that deal with color, organization, landscaping, home purchasing, home selling, wallpapering, whatever they dish out.

I also love the personalities - whether it's the Midwestern couple with the "country kitchen" design sensibility, the uptight urban gay couple ready to move to the suburbs, the too perky designer paired with the scruffy yet huggable carpenter, or the spoiled 27 year old who very mistakenly thinks she can buy a brand new condo downtown for $200K. Whatever it is, each show is tasteful, not too noisy or overly edited and usually only 30 minutes. What more could I ask for?

So what's the problem? It's screwing with my patience levels -that's what. Seeing all these couples playing house makes me want to jump ahead to cohabitation with Wine Guy starting tomorrow. There are so many adorable houses for rent around town now that the real estate market is crap and everyone is renting out the homes they just can't sell. I can just picture Wine Guy and me in an adorable 2 bedroom cottage near the beach with a yard for the dog I have yet to get but already have picked out in my head (a Shiba Inu named Sake if you're wondering).

Just this weekend we went for a drive along the coast and I made him stop at every Open House sign "just for fun." Luckily Wine Guy likes to look at properties almost as much as I do so he didn't seem to mind. But as I got more and more excited about the places we saw, he eventually made the not so helpful suggestion that perhaps I should "cut back on that HGTV."

And to answer the question, yes we have talked about moving in together but we both agree that it is a) not quite the right time for us financially and b) we should be as close to "engaged" as possible - if not actually engaged -before we do so.

Basically, HGTV is giving me a bad case of "The Shoulds."
1. We should be living together.
2. We should have enough money to actually buy something (we don't).
3. We should be thinking about our design sensibility as a couple, not whose house we are sleeping at tonight.
4. We should not be throwing our money away on rent.
5. [Insert foot stomping, temper tantrum tone here] It should be my turn to have what I want already!!

Judging by the people featured on these shows and the ads that run between them, I can see the demographic HGTV is aiming at - upwardly mobile 30-something couples with money to spend and a healthy lust for MORE STUFF to justify their existence. Well, that ain't Wine Guy and me - both the money to spend and the healthy lust (well, a slight sickly lust maybe :-). We aren't materialistic people and don't ask for much. But even with a crappy housing market, San Diego home prices are still way out of our range.

I am fully aware that most of what I say here is a bunch of bullsh*t whining. I hope you will believe me when I say that in my normal, non blog-venting life, I'm actually pretty happy with how things are going. Not just with what I have (great friends, a solid relationship, my mom, a job I like, a cat I adore, my health, etc.), but with who I am (someone I like a hell of a lot more than I did ,say, 10 or even 5 years ago). But that's the whole point of this post. After a few episodes of "Designed to Sell," "HouseHunters,"Hidden Potential," "Property Virgins," or "Divine Design," I seem to turn into this whiny brat who feels entitled to property ownership.

I guess now that I think about it (and re-read this entry), I just proved that their advertising/programming model is working:
Make 'em want more, more, MORE! Even if they didn't know they wanted it in the first place!

So, I suppose I have to boycott HGTV - at least for a little while. It should be a lot easier now that the damn writer's strike is over. Maybe in the near future, when/if I am ready to have a place of my own, I can travel that far up the dial again to get some helpful tips. In the meantime, perhaps someone will come up with a channel for renters (call it LeaseTV). How about these shows? "Landlord Nightmares, "I Need Laundry Quarters," "Unleased," "Ikea or Bust," and "Pets Negotiable."

Thanks for listening. Dismissed.


Samantha said...

I TOTALLY get sucked into HGTV too. It's so addictive...

Melissa said...

The first step to recovery is admitting we have a problem. I totally agree with you that we get sucked into their marketing scheme to convince us we need more, MORE! I love that kind of program, too, but after owning a home for the last 8 years, I've learned that a new pair of curtains does not lead to happiness -- only debt. Good post!

mimi of sexagenarian and the city said...

DT,on another subject altogether:
at what point in yr relationship did you tell WG about yr blog? i remember reading it at the time but can't remember when. please check out the comment on my current post and add yr advice. i feel i have to tell Plan C sooner or not want to keep any important secrets from him...

Jay said...

Wow, that's a lot of house shows. Who knew that so many could exist at once?

Anonymous said...

Let it go! My mom started watching HGTV all the time. $5000 later, she has completely redone her living room, bathrooms, and has started eyeing the bedroom. She has gone NUTS, and I am convinced it is in the programming. The subliminals are overpowering.

Anonymous said...

I LOVE HouseHunters. I tivo them and knock out several in an evening when I have some time. But have you noticed with some they tell you where they are and how much, while with others, they don't give you any info. So frustrating, I need to know where and how much (why? don't know, we are happily settled and recently bought a new house)

Dating Trooper - Dating is Warfare said...

That drives me nuts too! What's the point if you don't know where the property is?!! I always think I just missed the part in the show where they tell you that but it sounds like I'm not the only one with this complaint...Oh and by the way, I lied. I have totally been watching the channel since I wrote this entry. Hey, it's hard to break an addiction!

Anonymous said...

And one more thing about HH... the other night they had a family in ATL that needed more room and it was a family of 2 moms (lesbians) with one kid and one on the way. I was totally impressed with the normalness in how it was presented and applaud HGTV for showing all kinds of families.