The internet has been abuzz with the recent revelation that House Hunters and House Hunters International aren't as real as they purport to be. Via Slate:
Earlier this week on the website Hooked on Houses, formerHouse Hunters participant Bobi Jensen called the show a sham. Jensen writes that the HGTV producers found her family's plan to turn their current home into a rental property "boring and overdone," and therefore crafted a narrative about their desperation for more square footage. What's more, producers only agreed to feature Jensen's family after they had bought their new house, forcing them to "tour" friends' houses that weren't even for sale to accommodate the trope of "Which one will they choose?"
Now...my family and I appeared on House Hunters International and...well. Look. I was a theatre major for a few semesters in college. I switched to English because all I really wanted to do was read the plays, not act in them. Still, I persevered. I even tried to force myself into exhibitionism by anonymously posing nude for art classes throughout the Washington, DC suburbs. Standing naked in front of a room full of strangers? That should spark my acting bug.
Standing disrobed while observing a man with an erection sketch my bony shoulders I discovered a few more pressing and fundamental truths about myself. One, I was really quite shockingly thin. And two, I'm a voyeur, a reader, a watcher at heart...I'm not disturbed by being watched, per se. But not as turned on by the scepter of me naked in some Montgomery County arts center as some people. It was an important life lesson, nevertheless, figuring out my rightful instrument.
Akin to my public experimentations with nudity, being on a reality television show taught me several key lessons about acting -- and reality in television, too.
But still we watch, we read, we judge, we escape. Reality television is voyeurism at its basest, a peek through the neighbor's curtains. Why are we surprised that with the curtains thrown wide open -- even on HGTV -- the watched are merely putting on a show?
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