Take every home redesign show, change nothing except the budget
and put a familiar face in charge. This is the formula for
ABC’s “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition,” which
started as a special but has become a weekly staple.

Laura Wong
The only thing you can nail is me. (Courtesy of ABC)

The show takes ABC’s “Extreme Makeover”
concept to the homestead, all but demolishing a family’s home
and reoutfitting it within a week, a job that would normally take
three months. The residents are sequestered while a horde of
contractors take over the house. Upon their return, viewers watch
as they go nuts about the revolutionary kitchen gadgets or sob over
the shag carpet.

Ty Pennington, easily the most attractive and irritating of
TLC’s “Trading Spaces” gang, takes the reins with
his own crew, a group of mismatched eccentrics who enjoying arguing
with each other, generally slowing down the project at hand. These
types of conflicts have, at least in part, made this genre so
popular.

The classic example of the rogue contractor is evident as
Preston Sharp, the “Exteriors/Big Ideas” crewmember,
takes a chainsaw to the hedges without approval, disagrees with
Constance Ramos, the “Building/Planning” member, about
the new look of the house and is threatened with arrest by the
foreman upon removing a lamppost from the yard.

The pilot featured the Powers family, who originally moved into
their Santa Clara house and furnished it with lawn chairs. While
his wife and children were away at a Disneyland vacation, Rodney,
the father who was serving with the National Guard in Iraq,
returned to lend a hand in planning and remodeling the house. At
the end of their vacation, the rest of the family comes home to a
tearful reunion and a dream house.

ABC has promised visits from celebrity guests each week. For
example, former Dodgers manager Tommy LaSorda dropped by on the
first episode to christen the Whiffle-ball diamond in the
backyard.

“Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” is a continuation
of redecoration reality television, only on a larger scale. The
trend started with Bob Vila’s “This Old House,”
the home improvement show that handled one project at a time,
giving instruction to potential do-it-yourselfers. Now,
practicality has taken a backseat to pure entertainment, focusing
mainly on the crew’s confrontations. In the end, the families
are presented with homes having so many posh innovations, the
average remodeling budget could never pay for them, even though
viewers are constantly reminded all the products are available at
Sears.

 

Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

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