Feature

The fraud behind House Hunters

The HGTV show, which ostensibly shows families shopping for homes, is apparently a total fraud.

Marcelle FriedmanSlate.com

House Hunters is fake, said Marcelle Friedman. I know: It’s hardly shocking news that a reality TV show isn’t entirely real. But the HGTV show, which ostensibly shows families shopping for homes until they find their dream, is apparently a total fraud. Former contestant Bobi Jensen revealed last week that her family was filmed only after they had already bought a new house; the show made her pretend to tour friends’ houses that weren’t even for sale “at prices divined by its producers.” Now, most people know they should view reality TV shows “with a chuckle and a grain of salt.” But House Hunters isn’t merely an escapist fantasy like Real Housewives or The Bachelor. The show “glorifies the dream of homeownership” as an “attainable reality”—selling the idea that “people just like us” can, in a few easy steps, find a wonderful house that completes their lives. This is a grave disservice. The same illusion promoted by the show, let us not forget, inflated the housing bubble that led millions of people to default on mortgages they couldn’t afford. Our economy has yet to recover. 

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