Hoarder House Flippers Review

There is an old saying:

You can’t judge a book by its cover.

Though this phrase is usually used when referring to people, it can also be applied to property. In the world of home renovation, when the average person sees trouble, a flipper sees possibility.

The new Hulu home renovation show, Hoarder House Flippers, takes this concept to the nth degree. The program follows three teams of flippers who buy homes that have a double negative against them: they are in need of desperate repair and formerly owned by hoarders. The goal is to fix up properties and sell them for maximum profit. Along the way (which is par for the course), there will be unforeseen problems and disagreements.

I admire the people who take on projects like this. It takes guts and creativity to see through the mess and the challenge. Though this show is thoroughly predictable, what I take away from it is the vision of a home that needs a family to fill it with love and memories.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

Hoarder House Flippers are available for streaming on Hulu.

Flashback Friday: Celebrity Fit Club (2005 to 2010)

Basic medical advice tells us that carrying extra weight on our body creates health problems such as diabetes, heart disease, etc. The larger problem is that in our culture, there is such a focus on body size (i.e. thin) that it is more about fitting in than being healthy.

Celebrity Fit Club aired on VH1 from 2005 to 2010. Like its non-celebrity reality show sibling, The Biggest Loser, the purpose of the show was for the contestants to lose weight. The only difference is that those involved in this show are famous. Throughout the series, they are put through their paces and weighed at the end of each episode.

Working with a nutritionist, a psychologist, and a trainer, each competitor is given the opportunity not just to lose physical pounds. They are encouraged to work through the issues that have led them to their current state.

Like all reality television, there is the usual question of what is “real” and what is scripted for the cameras. But what I think makes it different is that this program is that it shows that those who work in show business don’t always look like we think they should look. Like all humans, if they drink and eat excessively without some sort of physical activity, they will put on the pounds.

Do I recommend it? Maybe.

Throwback Thursday: Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew (2008 to 2011)

These days, it seems that reality television knows no bounds.

Between 2008 and 2011, Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew aired on VH1. Led by Dr. Drew Pinsky, the raison d’etre of the program was to help celebrities break their addictions to drugs and alcohol.

I have mixed feelings about this reality show. This is obviously an issue that is deeply personal and requires a lot of emotional excavation to get to the bottom of. While it takes away some of the stigma from addiction, it also comes off as slightly voyeuristic. Someone else’s pain should not be entertainment for another.

Do I recommend it? Maybe.

Flashback Friday: Love It or Lose It (2004-2006)

When deciding to redecorate your home, it is sometimes forgotten that this choice is a risk. Though the designer will lay out their vision with the customer, the image presented may not match the final product.

Love It or Lose It (2004-2006) was an early entry in the reality television home renovation show subgenre. Hosted by Tamara Taggart, the subjects of each episode are presented by three designers. Upon making their selection, the homeowners have no say in what will be done to their property. When the work is done and the result is presented, they have two choices. They can either accept it or ask that it be undone.

What I liked about this reality show is the twist. But at the end of the day, the predictability got to me. I can only watch so many episodes before I have to either turn off the tv or change the channel.

Do I recommend it? Maybe.

Dirty Rotten Cleaners Review

I don’t know about anyone else, but I find cleaning my home to be a chore that I would do without if I could. But it has to be done, so I just suck it up and get it done.

Dirty Rotten Cleaners premiered on A&E last year. This reality show follows two different cleaning companies in Florida as they clean the properties of their customers. Their task is more much than the standard clean. Many of these houses are filthy, filled to the brim with junk, and covered in mold.

What I like is that unlike other programs within the reality television genre, the truth about this job is not glossed over. It is genuinely gross and dangerous. Similar to its’ sister show, Hoarders, the clients are not used for a laugh or pushed into a stereotype. They are merely the patrons who need their properties cleaned.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

Dirty Rotten Cleaners is available for streaming on Hulu.

If the Shoe Fits (Meant to Be Series) Book Review

At its heart, Cinderella is the story of finding the good in life and rising about the shit that fate has sent our way.

If the Shoe Fits (Meant to Be Series), by Julie Murphy, was published last year. Cindy Woods is a plus-sized recent college graduate. After spending the last four years in New York City, her career path is stuck in first gear. With no other options, she returns to Los Angeles and her childhood home. She is welcomed with open arms by her stepmother, Erica Tremaine, and her stepsisters.

Cindy is a fashion fanatic. Due to her size, finding the latest and greatest clothing that fits her has always been a problem. When Erica’s Cinderella‘s themed reality dating show, Before Midnight (a la The Bachelor), is down a contestant, Cindy agrees to step in. It was supposed to be a way of getting her designs noticed. It also doesn’t hurt that the guy at the center of the program is good-looking.

Instead of quietly staying in the background, Cindy becomes a fan favorite. She also starts to fall for the guy. She will have to take a jump into the unknown, not knowing if it will end in heartbreak or a happy ending.

I loved this book. Murphy pays homage to the 1950 animated Disney film while writing her own story. In another narrative, Cindy would either have to lose weight to achieve her goals or be forced into the fat and funny sister/best friend role. The cherry on top for me is that Cindy is not looking for a man, her priority is her professional future.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

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She’s Unlikeable: And Other Lies That Bring Women Down Book Review

The idea of matchmaking seems like it would conflict with the modern world and dating as we know it to be today.

When Aparna Shewakramani signed up for the Netflix reality show Indian Matchmaking, she had no idea what she was about to experience.

Presented to the audience as unlikable, she was villainized as a woman whom no man would want as a partner/spouse. In her new feminist manifesto/memoir, She’s Unlikeable: And Other Lies That Bring Women Down (published earlier this year), Shewakramani details both her experience on the program and how women can fight against the idea that standing up for themselves only creates a negative image.

Before reading this book, I did hear rumblings that there were inconsistencies and stereotypes that existed within the program. But that’s reality television for you. In theory, I liked the concept of the book. It is, unfortunately, still relevant and necessary.

I hate to say it, but it was hard to read. Knowing nothing about the author is my issue. I should have been inspired to give the figurative middle finger. It was just a little too much from her perspective and not general enough for me to truly dig into the message.

Do I recommend it? No.

She’s Unlikeable: And Other Lies That Bring Women Down is available wherever books are sold.

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Throwback Thursday: Gene Simmons Family Jewels (2006-2012)

The “celebrity reality show” is an interesting subgenre within reality television. It can show that the subjects are just like the average person. It can also show how they are not like the average person.

Gene Simmons Family Jewels aired on A&E from 2006 to 2012. This reality show followed the daily activities of musician Gene Simmons and his family (a la The Osbournes).

It was an interesting and quirky look at a man whose reputation (depending on the viewer) may only be known by his out-there stage antics and his claim about how many women he has taken to bed. His family-man aesthetic is a 180 that I don’t think that many people saw coming.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

P.S. His exploration of being Jewish and the son of a Holocaust survivor I find to be touching, human, and very refreshing.

Flashback Friday: Work Out (2006-2008)

There are very few workplaces in which reality television has not touched.

The Bravo reality show Work Out aired from 2006 to 2008. The follow-up to another series from the network, Blow Out, the program follows Beverly Hills gym owner Jackie Warner as she both runs her business and deals with issues in her private life. As with every program in the genre, there is lots of drama that is supposed to draw the viewer in and keep them engaged.

Back then, it was appealing. It was a mixture of the beautiful people and their problems. Whether or not those problems were real or manufactured for the camera is another thing entirely. But just because I watched then does not mean I would watch it now.

Do I recommend it? Maybe.

Throwback Thursday: The World’s Strictest Parents (2009-2010)

Tough love is something necessary when it comes to our children. At the moment, it may seem overly harsh. But in hindsight, it may be the one thing that fixes the problem.

The World’s Strictest Parents aired from 2009 to 2010. This reality show followed misbehaving teenagers whose parents could not deal with them anymore. Each episode follows two subjects who live with strict host families for one week. If they continue to act out (which predictably happens), they are forced to submit to some sort of punishment. At the end of the week, each child receives a letter from their real parent, which hopefully opens the door to conversation and understanding.

This is reality television, so we have to take what we are watching with a grain of salt. What I find interesting is that the heart of the series is figuring out what is causing the behavior and resolving the issue.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

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