Vulpes Libris

A collective of bibliophiles talking about books. Book Fox (vulpes libris): small bibliovorous mammal of overactive imagination and uncommonly large bookshop expenses. Habitat: anywhere the rustle of pages can be heard.

House Hunters International

HouseHuntIntUnlike a lot of people, I don’t have the Tv running constantly, only having it on when I’m watching something. There are shows that I’m devoted to and I wish I could watch more movies, but one of the programs I watch regularly is “House Hunters International” on the HGTV cable channel. There’s another version of the program featuring just homes in the U.S., but I’d rather see other places. The premise is of people moving from one place to somewhere far away, usually in another country. It’s not always people from North America either, they are from around the globe and can be individuals, couples or families. Sometimes they go to places drastically different from their current location, one episode was of a lady in snowy Finland moving to a beach house in Australia. Three different potential homes are shown and at the end of the show they choose the one they wish to live in. The last minute or two is filmed at a later date, once the people have settled in, and features changes to the decor and how they are getting along in their new home.
I like seeing how different residences are in various countries. Their size, layouts, furnishings and locations are often very different from how they are in America. Some of the buildings are hundred of years older than most houses in the U.S. and there are often flourishes in architecture and decor that look exotic. Over the years of watching this program, I’ve noticed that kitchens in tropical locales are sometimes separate from the rest of the house to keep things cooler, houses in Mexico often don’t have windows and their backyards are totally walled in. Continental Europe favors high ceilings, Middle eastern homes are many times on winding, narrow streets filled with arches and alleys. The architecture in Asia, especially in traditional homes are splendid and very different from other nations, especially in their use of wood. I’ve learned a lot about foreign cities and culture and marveled at people being able to live near rain forests and wildlife that I’ve mainly seen in zoos.
But I do have one quibble and it’s mainly to do with how the people react. It’s usually Americans who, at the beginning prattle on about how they want to experience another culture and broaden their horizons, but as soon as they start looking at apartments or even homes, are aghast at how different everything is. The big complaint is how small all the rooms are and the lack of an elevator in a building that might be 200 years old. They lament that their king sized bed and all their furniture won’t fit and where are all of the appliances in the kitchen? What it amounts to is wanting to transplant their suburban McMansion to another country, THAT’S how they really want to experience another culture.On a recent episode, an American family was moving to Bilbao, Spain and the wife at one point yelled “I want a bucket of paint and all new furniture!” Thankfully, most of them seem to be more open minded about the cuisines than the residential options or maybe they just aren’t filmed going into outposts of American fast food restaurants.
So aside from occasional rolling my eyes at the comments of the re-locators, the show is an enjoyable part of my weekends. I may not have the health or money to travel, unfortunately, but at least I can see some of the world through television. Modernity has it’s benefits.

6 comments on “House Hunters International

  1. Kate
    July 15, 2013

    I did enjoy this. It reminded me of the (American) TV advert for Mastercard or Visa, I forget which, in which two mid-west US tourists have just discovered a small family business producing olive oil in Italy, and patronise them, but are silenced when the granny presents them with the family’s business card: ‘they have the internet here?’ Programmes about X exploring Y teach us just as much about X as Y.

  2. Hilary
    July 15, 2013

    Thank you for this review, Jackie – really enjoyable! There is a programme here in the UK called ‘Escape to the Country’ which has a similar allure for me. The people involved aren’t changing country, but they certainly are often changing culture, looking to swap confined city or suburban living for space, land, livestock, scenery and almost invariably ‘a large country kitchen’ (which always amuses me, as a not very enthusiastic cook). It’s a beautiful dream, and i wonder how often it comes true. Wonderful mixture of wish fulfilment and Schadenfreude!

  3. Shelleyrae
    July 15, 2013

    I love shows like that for exactly the same reasons as you though we don’t have that particular one here.

  4. Hausfrau
    July 16, 2013

    Ah,yes. I do know what you mean, as I am often irritated by what some of the people say on these shows (both HHI and HH). But my perspective is a bit different, I am an American living in Germany (after six years in Japan), and my family was featured on HHI about three years ago (our episode is called something like “village life in Bitburg, Germany”). What you should know is that much of what is said is somewhat scripted. For example, our (British) director wanted us to voice our surprise at the lack of built-in closets in German houses, though we had known about this for many years and didn’t find it to be that big of a deal at all! I could share much more, but this is just one example of how “reality” TV isn’t exactly real…

  5. Sue Williams
    July 18, 2013

    It took me awhile to read this, Jackie. I like these kind of shows. Right now I am watching a show about a man who builds Tree Houses. Thank you for your review. I am going to start watching this one. I wonder if it is in demand.

  6. Sue Williams
    July 18, 2013

    I meant On demand.

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This entry was posted on July 15, 2013 by in Entries by Jackie, Film and Television, Non-fiction: architecture, Non-fiction: travel and tagged , , , .



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