Manners Matter: Worried About Wife’s HGTV Frustration

Dear Mary Pat,


I’m starting to worry about my wife’s sanity. She watches HGTV continuously after dinner. I don’t worry over her binge watching; I worry over her yelling at the TV and getting so upset over comments people make on either house flipping shows or real estate buying shows. She acts as though people hear her when she yells, “Well that’s because it’s not the United States, you simpleton!” or “What do you expect from a house that you bought sight unseen?” I’ve suggested that perhaps she should change the channel or pick up a book instead. She scoffs at this idea. Why would someone watch a channel that causes such a person to yell at the TV?



ESPN Instead



Dear ESPN Instead,


I fear that your wife may have an incurable condition. HGTV is a channel that is entertaining, informative and one that you will never hear even a blip about the election, which is somewhat of a rarity during this televised circus that we have been exposed to for months.

You know the old saying…if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. I’ve long since accepted my HGTV viewing as a standard nightly occurrence. Perhaps if you had a little reference guide, you would understand both why your wife is drawn in, and more importantly, why she feels that she needs to yell at the television set.

  1. Real estate buying shows: Whether it is Property Virgins (first time buyers with modest budgets who expect to purchase a $500,000 home for $73,900) or House Hunters (people looking at three properties and almost always choosing the one least likely to suit their needs) the real estate agent must maintain the patience of saints for multiple viewings. Even though buyers are told to look past cosmetic fixes and personal furniture, they inevitably say things like “I don’t like that couch/paint/wallpaper” within three seconds of entering the home when the warning should be freshest in their minds. Their tastes almost always exceed their budget and they can never decide or, their agent shows them things they can’t afford and they have to settle, feeling cheated.
  2. Tiny home buying shows: Overriding theme is people wanting to downsize and picture themselves living in a 200 square foot space and inevitably say things like, “But it’s so small” and “There is only one bathroom,” and “Can’t believe there isn’t a bigger closet.” You could see how all of these comments would warrant exasperated commentary from your wife…or anyone who understands that you can’t have a walk-in closet in a tiny home, nor multiple bathrooms.
  3. International real estate shows: Globetrotting Americans move to foreign lands so they can immerse themselves in a new culture and want to be just like locals. Inevitably, every property they see inspires the continuous whine of “That’s not what we have back in the States.” It doesn’t matter if the couple is looking to live in a Parisian arrondissement or the jungles of Brazil, they expect a 4,500 square foot mini manor with stainless steel, granite counters and a live-in butler.
  4. Flipping shows: Ambitious fixer uppers try to buy low and sell high for a quick profit. Even if they get a preview of the property, they are never really prepared for the level of horror show that awaits them after demolition. They are always shocked and incredulous that they have to pay for new electrical or plumbing in what should have been a tear down. Expect them to say things like “What?” “Are you kidding me?,” and “That’s not in our budget” at least for 30 percent of the show. You might feel bad for them for the first half of the show but when they flip a property for a $84,000 profit, you start to not pity them as much.
  5. Dream home and smart home shows: HGTV features amazing giveaway homes every year that feature the best of the best in design with all the bells and whistles. It will either inspire you to go to the Home Depot to start a couple of renovation projects or make you feel like your lovely suburban home is the equivalent of a dirt floored shack in comparison.

These are the main themes. There are other shows as well, but I hope by now you get the gist of your wife’s frustration.


Good luck,

Mary Pat

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