Last night, millions of Americans tuned in to watch a battle for the ages: a showdown between an impulsive, imbecilic man-child and his reasonable, competent female counterpart.
I am talking, of course, about the rerun of House Hunters that was on HGTV.
This particular episode featured Jake, a hot-headed, self-styled Alpha male with a mysterious description of what he actually does for a living, and Lindsay, a responsible, well-spoken bureaucrat with a world-weary look in her eyes, searching for a home in the Tampa area.
Despite having an agreed-upon budget of $250,000, their visions for the house could not be more different. Jake wants a house on the water that is also close to nightlife; he requires a “man-cave” and a “space for his 12-foot Hooters-branded kegerator” and an “awesome backyard” for “hanging out and grilling my meats.”
Lindsay, meanwhile, is looking for something in a safe neighborhood with good schools for future children.
“We don’t need space for all 40 of your pinball machines,” Lindsay argues in a preliminary interview. “And maybe we don’t have to construct an American Ninja Warrior obstacle course in the front yard.”
Jake snorts when she says this.
“I’m not compromising on the obstacle course, or the Go-Kart track, or converting the basement into an operational massage parlor” Jake huffs, adjusting his backwards baseball cap. “I’ll win this one. Believe me.”
The house hunt is a constant argument, carried out in front of their quiet, clearly horrified broker Weston. The first home they look at is $200,000 over budget. It’s right on the water, but it has issues—for example, it is not wired for electricity; the walls are made of pure asbestos; and the attic is filled with a swarm of angry, racist wasps.
But Jake loves it. He immediately spots a wall in the kitchen that will be perfect for his Scarface posters. There’s only one shower, which is actually just a hose duct-taped to a spaghetti strainer, but he’s confident they can make it work.
Lindsay says the purchase would be reckless.
“I wish you would wreck less,” Jake replies, and then he starts breakdancing on the brass-plated kitchen floor. The broker Weston looks on helplessly. End of segment 1.
We come back on House 2, which is under budget and newly remodeled, but in a boring neighborhood. (“Where are the porno stores? ” Jake complains as they pull up to the home. “We’re like 20 minutes from the nearest EDM foam party club!”)
Jake trudges through the home, complaining that the 3rd bedroom won’t fit a king-sized waterbed, and that he wishes the stainless-steel appliances were made from a single, solid diamond.
Weston points out that it would be difficult, in their price range, to find a refrigerator made out of a diamond.
“Excuse me,” Jake says. “But that’s ignorant. In Japan, even the poorest, most humble people have entire kitchens made of gemstones.”
At the risk of editorializing, it seems like Lindsay is wondering why she has even been paired with this numbskull—especially after he complains the stodgy HOA “probably won’t even let us erect a 17-foot statue of myself shotgunning a Four Loko, because of PC culture.”
Weston tries to change the subject.
“Why don’t we check out the backyard?” Weston says.
“Why don’t you check out this backyard?” Jake replies, mooning the camera.
Lindsay covers her face in shame. End of segment 2.
House 3 doesn’t really fit any of the criteria and it clearly doesn’t have any chance of getting chosen. Jake doesn’t even bother showing up to see it; we’re told he’s busy attending the prelims of a Motocross rally.
I won’t ruin the episode by revealing whether Jake or Lindsay prevails, but suffice to say, it’s fairly clear that House 2 would prove the rational choice and House 1 would be economic suicide based on a series of unrealistic hallucinations about what’s important in a home and what $250,000 realistically gets you.
If you missed the episode, set your DVR: HGTV is airing the episode again in early November. Given the choices, you might be surprised at who ultimately wins!