“House Hunters” Is Fake And Everything In My Life Is A Lie

I’ve written before about my obsession with “House Hunters” and “House Hunters International,” how I watch approximately three episodes per day, how much I love to hate it, how I always end up yelling at the TV like a crotchety old man because the subjects of the show tend to talk about paint colors in the kinds of hushed, serious voices usually reserved for presidents facing a nuclear crisis. But now I’m feeling crotchety for a different reason: apparently the show is totally fake. Here’s a quote from a former House Hunter describing her experience:

“They didn’t even ‘accept’ us being a subject for the show until we closed on the house we were buying.  So then when they decided to film our episode we had to scramble to find houses to tour and pretend we were considering. The ones we looked at weren’t even for sale…they were just our two friends’ houses who were nice enough to madly clean for days in preparation for the cameras!”

Now, to be fair, this news isn’t exactly new — back in 2010, “House Hunters” producers admitted to selecting buyers who are already in escrow, and a few of you even left comments on my previous “House Hunters” post insisting that the show is fake. Did I believe you? No, and I’m sorry for that. It’s just that I wasn’t ready to deal with such a jarring realization. I love to hate “House Hunters” because the people’s random complaints annoy me; for example: “That lighting fixture is ugly. We could never live in this house.” The real reason they could never live in that house? Because it is already owned by their friends, and as soon as the cameras turn off, you know their friends are going to be like, “What did my lighting fixture ever do to you?!” Now instead of being enthusiastically annoyed, I’m confused and suspicious and feeling sort of awkward about the whole situation.

I know that most reality TV is way more fake than real, but “House Hunters” seemed different for some reason. Maybe it was because the premise was so simple, or because so many of the interactions seemed too awkward to be staged. Whatever the reason, I had a genuine response to what I assumed was a genuine situation, and now I’m feeling a bit betrayed. I mean, first it was the tooth fairy, then Milli Vanilli, then pro wrestling–is nothing in life sacred?

The bottom line: I used to love “House Hunters” because it made me want to throw my remote at the TV. Now I might just change the channel.

[AV Club]