Allow me to discourse about my guilty pleasure for a few moments. It is the long-running HGTV "reality" series, House Hunters, in which home-buyers look for houses—generally, they look at three, as fitting their standards for budget, "must-haves," and general attractiveness. At the end of each episode, they buy one. In the 30 minutes of the show, you get a little insight into the business of home-buying and how totally dysfunctional human relationships can be, as well as a glimpse into the housing expectations across this fine nation. Favorite phrase from House Hunters: "This master bedroom is small" (as participant surveys football-field-sized bedroom). "I don't think we could fit our furniture in here." Also: "I was really hoping for 2 full baths and a half bath and a new kitchen and a finished basement." Also, when the male portion of a couple surveys their enormous walk-in closet to be: "This one's hers!" (Chortle, wink-wink); and when the female portion surveys it: "I think I can fit my shoes in here!" (Giggle, wink-wink).
Back in the early days of the show, affable narrator and hostess Suzanne Whang (pictured above) would walk around with wannabe home-buyers, checking out which of the housing options were right for them. In the VERY early days there would be some fun Housing 101-type tutorials, sit-downs with the buyers and their realtors and banks, the sort of thing you'd imagine you'd see if you had, perhaps, only recently moved to the U.S. from a far-away land and were trying to immerse yourself in American culture so had borrowed an instructional video about buying a home to help you out. The people in those episodes were not naturals, and often the dialogue was stilted, but it was enjoyable because of the amateur quality. Quickly, producers realized that audiences were more savvy, however, and that dorky documentary stuff from real life got ditched for better bells and whistles. This is what happens when shows get popular. They get more produced.