I rarely watch reality television; a few episodes of Toddlers and Tiaras here, some Location, Location, Location re-runs there. I’ll even have a stake in the office Bachelor sweep. But there’s nothing I enjoy, or become as addicted to, as House Rules. In our family, it’s a yearly ritual. My mum and I have watched the show from the start, analysing every episode and becoming armchair stylists as each room is uncovered. Last year, despite saying he would “never watch that crap”, my dad started watching. He even cried when the boys saw their renovated house and, of course, when they won.
For those not familiar with the show, there are six state-based teams who each renovate each other’s houses. The catch is, the home owners have no say in the renovation, except for the ‘house rules’ which the teams are left with. Once all the houses are renovated the eliminations begin, with added renovation and landscaping challenges until there’s a winner who gets a massive cash prize. Yet, every team has walked away with practically a new home. And some of the pre-renovation houses are pretty scary.
With every reality show, there has to be a villain and there’s no doubting which team’s taken on the role this season. This team have provoked much exasperated discussion in my house this season and heated debate online. I’ve got no doubt the editing plays a role in the audience perception of the pair, but I could really do without the constant ‘poor us’ mentality they portray. Seeing this team sneer at the work of others, put them down behind their backs, and refuse to listen to feedback from the judges (and more importantly, the home owners), makes me so disgusted. Yes, it’s a competition, but there’s no need to be nasty. Of course, the caveat is we can only see what’s shown post-editing and it could be a completely different story, but what’s on air is all I have to go on.
While I have many gripes with the behaviour of one team, overall this show tells so many beautiful stories. Last week, I looked over at my dad to see tears welling in his eyes as one team handed over the keys to the dilapidated house which they consider their castle. I think that sums up why I love this show and why I come back to it year after year. More than any other reality show, it’s obvious how much this renovation means to the contestants. For some, it’s an outcome they could only have dreamed of after having only just scraped together enough money to buy a house. As cliched as it sounds, it truly is life changing. And, okay, I love a good design show too.
It’s probably an understatement to say I get completely invested in each season of House Rules. Within our family, it’s always been a hot topic and last season I joined in the live Twitter chats with dozens of other awesome fans. The online community is such a great addition to the show, and I love that the judges, design expert and host Joh Griggs all join in as well. I am absolutely delighted UK design guru Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen joined the judging team and I am living for his sassy af comments on every room. Seriously, what a star.
Unless something else spectacular comes along, I’m sure House Rules is going to remain my favourite reality show (and the only one I faithfully watch). I’m so excited to see more house reveals this year. I can already see the teams are starting to get more confidence and, despite a few horrendous colour choices, their designs are generally stunning. I also can’t wait to see the joy on the faces of the home owners as they walk into what is almost a brand new house.