Today's television scandal revolves around the apparently nondramatic series House Hunters, which airs on cable network HGTV. The show is a popular one (my mom watches it, her friends watch it... hell, even college-aged guys in my dorm watch it), but according to new reports, it's also staged.
The show's got a pretty simple premise: affluent people tour three houses before picking one to buy. Of course, that's all really an illusion. The buyers have the house they want to buy already picked out before the episode is filmed -- and apparently, the other two houses aren't even considered.
"The producers said they found our (true) story – that we were getting a bigger house and turning our other one into a rental – boring and overdone," Bobi Jensen, who once appeared on House Hunters, told blogger Julia Sweeten. "So instead they just wanted to emphasize how our home was too small and we needed a bigger one desperately. It wasn’t true, but it was a smaller house than the one we bought so I went with it."
Things didn't end there, naturally. According to MSN, when they couldn't find two other for-sale houses to tour, they went to two friends' homes and pretended they were for sale.
HGTV replied to this scandal with a statement, acknowledging that the producers "manage certain production and time constraints, while honoring the homebuying process," seeking out families "who are pretty far along in the process."
Of course, Jensen isn't pointing the finger at HGTV. She thinks they're handling the show in the best way possible. "I think people just haven't realized that this is purely entertainment," she noted.
I think she's partially right, but I think that it's also the fact that we don't want to acknowledge that some of the things on House Hunters isn't real. TV is about suspension of disbelief, and it makes it that much harder to do so for reality television when we know for a fact that it's not real.
House Hunters airs on HGTV.