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May 3, 2014 05:28 PM

House Hunters & Kitchens

I like this show but always get a bit irritated at the entitled crowd who expect granite counter tops and stainless steel appliances for next to nothing.

And the HH International's who get so much less and pay so much more than us here.I would have no problem cooking in the kitchens some of those women turn down.

Interesting and fun show.

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  1. I'm not sure about the original HH but International HH is entirely fabricated. I know this because one of my family members (living in Mexico City, moved from NYC a few years earlier) was invited to be on the show. The arrangements were: 1. My family member would fly back to NYC and "pretend" to get ready to move to Mexico; 2. The show would stage my family member's Mexico home to make it look like he was not already living there; 3. My family member had to recruit other friends in Mexico City to "pretend" their homes were on the market and let the show film the "house hunt"; and (here's the kicker) 4. My family member had to "recruit" a friend or actor to play the role of International Real Estate Agent!! LOL

    As I said, I don't know for sure about the original HH show, but my guess is that it's also probably totally fake.

    The funny thing is that even though I now know that the international HH show is entirely staged, I still enjoy watching it.

    35 Replies
    1. re: MrsPatmore

      Well, that puts a whole different spin on it.:-(

      1. re: MrsPatmore

        Mr. Shallots is going to be so very glad that you wrote this. He's been saying it's scripted since the second or third episode we watched.

        I will also admit to enjoying watching it, more for the places they drive through than the uppity attitudes about 'not good enough for me' that seems to be the editors' choice of comments. I just mutter to myself that they should learn to cook and then comment about the way some of the kitchens are arranged. (And I'd take a lot of their rejects.)

        1. re: shallots

          Well, Mr. Shallots is a lot smarter than me (or less naive) because I was gutted when my family member confirmed the rumors that I'd heard (that the show was totally fake)

          Later I found out that the entire Iron Chef series was also fake/staged. Now, I just assume that everything is 100% fake unless it's proved otherwise!

          1. re: MrsPatmore

            Well Mr. Berheenia is not going to hear one word about this from me. Watching HHI with a glass of red is one of the few pleasant TV experiences we have during the preprandial hour. There isn't much left on TV that he likes besides the national news and a few cooking shows.

            1. re: shallots

              I already knew it was fake but I still enjoy HHI for the look at different house styles.

              1. re: tcamp

                HH makes for lively wine TV viewing in our house. Mr. CB and I wish there was a talk back feature so we could tell people how silly they are about certain features of the houses.

                1. re: cleobeach

                  Please consider this an invitation to join Mr. Shallots and me in our faux drinking game (thumb in the hole of an imaginary moonshine jug) every time "Friends and Family" get mentioned as a need for a larger home than that which could be more easily afforded. And tilt your hand for a big ole faux gulp of Tennessee 'shine.

                  1. re: shallots

                    And don't forget -- they need to be close to "shops and restaurants" !

                    1. re: HeyImBack

                      And let's not forget "we want room for entertaining guests" & "we don't want to be too close to the neighbors, we want lots of privacy". Of course, they expect the sellers to pay their closing costs for them too. What else do they want the sellers to do? Move their furniture & paint the walls?

                      1. re: Jerzeegirl

                        Yep. The 22 year old guy who bought my house asked if I was going to paint the walls. Uh, no.

                        1. re: chowser

                          I was watching some HGTV show last night at the gym, and she kept complaining "but it's not open concept". That is pretty much the LAST thing I want. I don't want the kitchen to be visible from the dining room or the living room. I don't want my dinner guests to see the mess I made preparing the meal. :/

                          1. re: Kontxesi

                            I wouldn't want that either. Or glass cabinets doors. I'm just not that neat.

                        2. re: HeyImBack

                          I figure by the time they get through making those mortgage payments they can't afford they won't have any money left over to spend at the "shops and restaurants" anyway.

                          1. re: HeyImBack

                            Oh, I love the ones looking for a 100 year old house with large closets and an open floor plan.

                            1. re: mike0989

                              "Something with character" As long as that "character" comes with an open floor plan, large closets, remodeled kitchen and bath rooms etc... In other words, I want "character" where the "character" has been remodeled out.

                        3. re: cleobeach

                          I get a kick out of the first time buyers who ooh and aah over the 25 ft ceilings. I'm like yeah wait until those warm weather electric bills start rolling in.

                          1. re: miss_belle

                            and who, just who I ask is going to dust all those exposed trusses way up there?

                            1. re: miss_belle

                              A lot of so-called live/work housing (imitation factory lofts) was built in the early '90s in San Francisco. I always wondered about the utility bills, although in the winter rather than summer here. Even though we've got a temperate climate, that's a bunch of (vertical!) sq ft to heat.

                              1. re: monfrancisco

                                y'know, in the 10 years I lived in SF I never had central heat. but while I always had high ceilings, I also never lived in an open-floor plan type of place either.

                                1. re: hill food

                                  I've lived in a couple of railroad flats that had a wall heater in the central hallway. That meant that A) the hallway was nice and warm when the heat was on and B) we never turned on the heat. I've also lived in a legit converted loft, and that place was freezing in February. We had a Reznor that heated the ceiling beautifully and used sparingly. But maybe I should've learned more about fans and so forth...

                                  But back to kitchens-- both flats had a back pantry (correct term?) with a utility sink, which was great. Hand washing, art projects, and cat boxes all went out there.

                      2. re: MrsPatmore

                        Out of curiosity, what was the payoff for your family member?

                        1. re: Cachetes

                          Haha that's the other funny part. As it turns out, the only financial compensation offered was paying for a hotel and a small per diem for food + incidentals when they "returned" to NYC for the initial filming (i.e., the sad "we're leaving our family and moving to a foreign country" scene). My family member was expected to pay his own airfare!! And no compensation at all for the time in Mexico (their real home). When my family member asked the show's producers, "why would anyone agree to this?" the answer was (no kidding) "a lot of people just want to be on TV"

                          My family member was not interested in participating in the charade, so he declined. But it sure was interesting hearing all about the "behind the scenes" details!

                          PS I just remembered - the producers also said that the "staging" of their home for the show was considered as compensation from the show to my family member. He didn't really see it that way, but whatever

                          1. re: MrsPatmore

                            When my family member asked the show's producers, "why would anyone agree to this?" the answer was (no kidding) "a lot of people just want to be on TV"

                            And ^ THIS ^ is why "reality TV" has become so popular. And has made pseudo-celebrities out of some of those participating. The whole 15+ minutes of fame.

                            1. re: LindaWhit

                              I really don't consider House Hunters to be reality tv. Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, Marriage Boot Camp and Real Housewives of (insert city)..yes.

                              HH not so much so.

                              1. re: miss_belle

                                I'm not sure how it's not the same thing. It's all scripted, which is no different from any of the shows that you listed.

                        2. re: MrsPatmore

                          Wait, what??? Are you telling me the episode with the French dude who bought a derelict farm on a mountain in Nepal in order to start a cheese making business was fabricated?

                            1. re: MrsPatmore

                              It deserves the Emmy for best original script.

                              1. re: EM23

                                If you liked that episode. You will love their new one. HHI Off the Grid. They had one where a couple was looking to move to Bhutan or some such place near there. The budget was around $40\month. I loved the second house, that looked like an upgraded chicken coop. The couple was remarking about all the holes\cracks in the wall they could see through. The "Realtor" showed them how they could take care of it by folding up a piece of paper and stuffing it in the crack.

                              2. re: MrsPatmore

                                I'm less surprised by this than I would be to find that any of those shows are even remotely true.

                                1. re: MrsPatmore

                                  There was an article a year or so ago that the US version is also somewhat staged. I think the gist of it was that the participant already had to have a contract on a house, and then recruit a couple friends to pretend their homes were the alternates.

                                  1. re: jujuthomas

                                    Yep. My parents' house was on an episode of HH a few years ago. Their realtor was scheduled to appear on it, and he needed a third house to show the buyer. He ended up using the house that my parents bought a few days later. The buyers are real, but they have to be in escrow or finishing up escrow on a house, and then the realtor arranges for the other 2 houses they see (and veto). There's no compensation for the whole thing, other than getting to be on TV. The realtor said it's good advertising/resume padding for them.

                                2. "...the entitled crowd who expect..."

                                  why I can't stand those shows.

                                  1. I will say this. After reading about the latest revelations I will never watch this show again. Thank you.

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: miss_belle

                                      I've always enjoyed HH Intl .. am sad to hear all this but I think I'll still watch it because of the scenes in other countries. (It IS interesting to see the tiny kitchens in Paris, the ultra high prices there, too.)

                                      1. re: walker

                                        Maybe I was a little too hasty there. In spite of all that it is a good show isn't it:-)

                                    2. They had a story about the fudging/faking on HH a couple of years ago on This was the response from HGTV:

                                      "We've learned that the pursuit of the perfect home involves big decisions that usually take place over a period of time –more time than we can capture in 30 minutes of television. However, with a series like "House Hunters," HGTV viewers enjoy the vicarious and entertaining experience of choosing a home -- from establishing a budget, to touring properties and weighing the pros and cons of each one. We're making a television show, so we manage certain production and time constraints, while honoring the home buying process. To maximize production time, we seek out families who are pretty far along in the process. Often everything moves much more quickly than we can anticipate, so we go back and revisit some of the homes that the family has already seen and we capture their authentic reactions. Because the stakes in real estate are so high, these homeowners always find themselves RIGHT back in the moment, experiencing the same emotions and reactions to these properties. Showcasing three homes makes it easier for our audience to “play along” and guess which one the family will select. It’s part of the joy of the "House Hunters'" viewing experience. Through the lens of television, we can offer a uniquely satisfying and fun viewing experience that fulfills a universal need to occasionally step into someone else's shoes."

                                      This was Slate's response to their response:

                                      1. With the standard HH, the couple has already signed a contract on the house they're going to buy, and the producers find a few houses which are in the same ballpark for the drama. And yes, it's heavily scripted or at least they're told basically what to say. I've read that this can cause ill will when they're fed negative things to say about the houses they just bought (and in some cases, it's *their* furniture already in the house that they're forced to trash).

                                        The granite and stainless line which exists in almost every single episode *has* to be scripted, it's almost identical every single time.

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: jgg13

                                          As is the need to be "close to shops and restaurants."

                                          1. re: jgg13

                                            It's amazing how they're more concerned about granite & stainless steel than "what are the property taxes?" or "why are there bars on all the windows & doors on this house?"