Flipping the channels, I stumble across a commercial for Extreme Home Makeover. No mistaking it, there's Ty Pennington's mug exhorting me to tune in as he turns a tar paper shack into a 5-story mansion complete with heliport and escalator.
No thanks, I won't be tuning into that program. First of all, why would I watch a home building program hosted by a carpenter turned model turned reality host?
Second of all, I have no need to watch a show that, to me, epitomizes what went wrong with our economy.
You take a family that should be happy with a nice modest home and you convince them that they are entitled to a palace.
Yep, that show just reinforces the go-ahead and get it because you want it, not because you need it mind set that has brought us this far.
This feeling isn't limited to just the extreme makeover shows. It is getting so I can't even stomach This Old House anymore.
Previously, I could watch that show and appreciate the work that went into to restoring a house.
That was when the program was about restoring homes to their former grandeur. At some point, the show became a competition to see how many new and innovative (i.e. expensive) products you could stuff into a house.
Yes, as time wore on it became less about restoring a house, and more about creating some bloated, blinged out monstrosity.
I think the true tipping point for me in terms of thinking the people on This Old House were nuts was when the carpenters were discussing how the home owners wanted the finial on the last banister to resemble a dollop of cream. WTF?
At least on This Old House when the homeowners picked the hand-mined diamond encrusted one of a kind counter tops they were spending their own money.
Although, in light of the recent financial meltdown it appears that ultimately they ended up using my money and your money.
On the Extreme Makeover program, they use donations and some sort of sob story competition to give people homes that are so outrageous it should be a crime.
A family that needs their home retrofitted to be wheel chair accessible ends up with an indoor racetrack and a retractable roof.
At some point, the show people have convinced them that they have been missing out all these years because they didn't have an indoor putting green.
So the people agree to it, and before you know it they are left with the same lives they had before but now they have this giant house, with a bowling alley.
I am by no means saying that families in need don't deserve to be helped, not at all, I am just saying there are better organizations out there.
Although, I realize that Extreme Home makeover isn't an organization it is a "reality" show. I am just not sure whose reality it is.
My problem is I suffer from "unfairness syndrome". Perfect example, when I was a child I watched Tom and Jerry and after awhile I got so upset that the cat never won, I had to stop watching the cartoon.
I still get mad that the Trix rabbit never got any cereal.
Extreme Home Makeover provokes those same feelings in me. Yes, the people who get the houses deserve to have nice, accessible homes and so do many other people.
We need to do more for the families that would be happy with a house, any old house instead of the car that they are living in now.
Why does no one have an interest in watching Extreme Habitat for Humanity?
This would be a great show; you would watch people working hard to build their own serviceable but not Ginormous homes.
I think it is time to make over Extreme Makeover. Unfortunately, if we can't put a revolving rooftop on it and a Starbucks in the bathroom no body will want it.
Jennifer Flaten lives where the local delicacy is fried cheese, Wisconsin. She writes about family life, its amusing or not so amusing moments. "At least it's not another article on global warming," she says. Jennifer bakes a mean banana bread and admits an unusual attraction to balloon animals and cup cakes. Busy preparing for the zombie apocalypse, she stills finds time to write "As I See It," her witty, too often true column. "My urge to write," says Jennifer, "is driven by my love of cupcakes, with sprinkles on top. Who wouldn't write for cupcakes, with sprinkles," she wonders.
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