The fall of the House of Eeeeee

Posted July 30: I always found ABC’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition hard to sit through. In hindsight, the show is the epitome of ’00’s excess, albeit clothed in altruistic robes. Pick a deserving family, struck by terrible health misfortune or just simply down on their luck, and “gift” them back into relevance with a spanking remodeling of their inadequate homespace. But not just home improvements; rather, lavish new palaces of conspicuous consumption — the kind of houses that most Americans need to seriously tax their plastic in order to achieve (and apparently have, in great numbers). Top it all off with a public unveiling as hundreds of friends, neighbors and bystanders-trucked-in gather around the front lawn and erupt into orgasmic screeches and delirious applause. Eeeeeeeeeeee!

It wasn’t so much the garish redecorations that got to me (to each his own), but rather those highly choreographed and obligatory mass screamings at the end. You also see this ritualistic excitement during Oprah’s potlatch giveaways and on other similar talk shows. The “Big Give.” Someday, anthropologists are going to look back on this show, and those final moments of each episode in particular, and give a serious glance askew at this weird hypnotic behavior that Americans were engaging in at the time.

Anyhow, my prompt for this post was this story about one of the lucky families who were McMansion-gifted by Extreme Makeover. Reportedly they turned around and borrowed against their new Atlanta house (worth $450,000) and sank all their money into a construction business that failed. Now the gift-house is in foreclosure. (As kaput, it would seem, as the new-home construction scene in Atlanta. Maybe this annoying and borderline bizarre show will go off the air as well.)

Updated: Maybe I had a psychic vision here because it turns out that Extreme Makeover is coming to CNY. Quite possibly because CNY pretty much avoided the housing bubble, and homebuilders in other parts of the country have already gone bankrupt.

(I have a feeling I know who the lucky recipients are — the homebuilder’s location is a bit of a hint. If it’s them, they are indeed extremely deserving, and I hope they get something appropriate for their needs, with a minimum of disruption to their lives.)

7 Replies to “The fall of the House of Eeeeee”

  1. “clothed in altruistic robes”

    Well put … the real altruists in our society don’t make a big deal about the good things they do for people.

  2. Just say no to TV!

    Easier than you think, and good for your health, too.

    Now, radio is a different animal entirely. Check out this one from Alternative Radio, which aired this afternoon and will be repeated at 7:00 pm: http://www.alternativeradio.org/programs/BEZS004.shtml

    But, yeah, the story about the McMansion-in-hock being foreclosed on and the poor family borrowing against it trying to make a buck in the kaputt housing industry is ironic, I’ll grant you that. If you aren’t careful how much you watch, though, I think America WILL make you crazy!

  3. I read somewhere about the complicated legal gymnastics that the show has to go through in order to not saddle the homeowners with a whopping big property tax bill that they cannot afford once the new appraisal comes roaring in. For that reason, I’m surprised the couple could even borrow against the home.

    Another thing against the show. It was a spin off of Extreme Makeover, where they sent people through radical plastic surgery so they could feel better about themselves. One of the most horrific and ghoulish shows ever put on network tv.

  4. Property tax, they probably can’t avoid, unless ABC’s carrying that through some form of nonprofit or something? Maybe Gift Tax…that’s a huge hit.

    I agree completely about Extreme Makeover and its progeny. Ghoulish and a material sign of where our culture has gone.

    At least the couple borrowed to start a new business. I could think of much worse. If I didn’t need a Disney home, in their circumstances, I might do the same, especially to start a business.

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