There are a few current shows on TV that I still enjoy. With selective recording with the DVR, I can still tolerate some television, like this fine series about the history of the United States on ShowTime.
House Hunters on HGTV has been a good one for relaxing and looking at nice houses all over the USA and Canada. It's a "reality" show where you get to look at houses with people who are looking to buy one. Typically the realtor shows three houses (or condos) to someone (or a couple, or a family), then you get to see the potential buyer agonize over what to do and you try to guess which one they will pick to buy. I like that the buyers are sometimes gay/lesbian and are not always rich.
There is always a mild crisis in the search process, such as the buyer's budget is not enough, the house is a short sale, the buyer is super picky, or the buyer has a time deadline and needs a place that day. A crisis is needed in the show to stress the viewer into staying interested, but sometimes the crisis is so ridiculous that it borders on comedy. I like that, because it allows me to hurl insulting comments at the screen during the show. 😀 :up:
Where it gets weird is on the international version of House Hunters, appropriately called House Hunters International, where the buyers are shopping outside of the USA and Canada. Sometimes the show is very nice, such as when the shopping is in Paris or London. I love looking at Paris condos!
HERE'S WHERE IT GETS VULGAR.
Whenever the show is in poor countries, such as in Central America, the Caribbean, or certain countries in Africa, the wealth disparity gets hard to endure. I am aware that many people have a lifestyle and wealth that I cannot imagine or know, but still. I have seen wealthy people who are at least classy about it. They TRY to act normal and don't flaunt it to the extreme.
The worst example of non-classy I ever saw on House Hunters International was when a wealthy Canadian/German couple was driving a HUGE motorhome around Nicaragua trying to find a dream home. That motorhome was bigger than most buses I've ever seen and was causing significant traffic problems in the Nicaraguan city in which they were looking. I was relieved that, for once, the vulgarity did not have the United States involved, it usually does. This one was a Canadian-German affair. Whew!
The couple was often pissed that they had to wait on locals to clear the street so their monster motorhome could pass. I cannot imagine where they found enough diesel to run that baby. Anyway, their budget for a house in Nicaragua was something on the order of 3/4 of a million dollars, maybe more, and they actually had trouble finding something they liked! I think the mayor of the city was probably envious. After they had decided on a place to buy, they had to buy parking for the huge motorhome. The show closed showing the German man backing the behemoth into a huge lot with tons of locals watching and half the city police force there to stop traffic for the parking manoeuver. Ouch!
Sometimes the couple mentioned that they did not feel safe in certain areas while shopping for a Nicaraguan mansion. I was thinking, "yeah, right, just wait till the revolution hits and your ass is on a plane going home."
More sick points that I've noticed about House Hunters International:
- The real estate agents are ALMOST NEVER nationals of the country in which they are residing. I think these jobs must be too important for locals to hold. I suppose the locals cannot be trusted to manage high-dollar dealings or real estate. Once in awhile there is an exception, like in Costa Rica, where the agent will sometimes be Costa Rican but will at least look somewhat like the buyers.
- The buying couple will sometimes want to open a business to support themselves in their new country. It's always some "essential" business, like a dive shop, surf shop, tourist hostel, or a swank restaurant. I'm always asking at this point, "could an average Guatemalan citizen plop down in California and start a business?" Hell no. They aren't even getting in, much less opening a business.
- They buyers often say how much they love the local culture, or how they want to soak up the local culture, but they are always isolated, and locals only appear in service roles, or to add "color." The buyers typically only run with other expats.
Anyway, I could go on forever. If nothing else, watching the show is cathartic and interesting for me as I get to yell things at the screen as mentioned above. I should stop watching it out of principle, but it's too weird to let it go.
I like to think that if I were wealthy, I would not act as described above. I don't think I would, but money has a tremendous corruptive power. I'll never have to find out.