For the Love of HGTV

30 06 2009

Kara Bertrand
Humber College Student
Written: March 2008

This article was written for an opinion writing class at Humber College.

I have a confession to make. For someone who doesn’t know me and hasn’t heard this little anecdote about my life, this may be a bit of a shock. I love HGTV. What else that might be a shock is that I also love TLC, the Food Network and Slice.

These reality-based networks offer for me both an escape from my crazy life and at 24 years old, they also bring an educational experience every time I turn on the television. The Food Network especially gives me not only valuable advice in cooking, but also creative ideas on how to expand on what I already know. For example, although my mother is a wonderful cook, she never taught me that allowing oil to start to sizzle in a pan beforehand gives the food more flavour later. Who knew? As in a lot of things in my life, I get impatient when cooking and it takes a lot for me to even, let’s say, wait for water to boil before putting the pasta in. That’s the age of technology speaking loud and clear.

My obsession with HGTV stems from a minor interest in real estate and interior designing. While I have no ability or wish to get in to either of those fields, I’ll change the channel almost any time to these shows. One in particular is called My First Home, which is not so peculiar to believe if you know that I have yet to get my first home. So, of course, I think of it as a learning experience to watch this show. Young people go on a search for a condo, two-storey, or even a mobile home, often finding themselves immersed in much more than they signed on for – be it intense indecision, land ownership problems, or a lack of money. My life itself consists of two of these three things on a regular day.

TLC, which stands for The Learning Channel, usually has nothing to do with learning for me. Nine times out of ten, I watch the channel for entertainment. It sometimes showcases different families, such as a family with eight children on Jon & Kate Plus 8 and a family of little people on Little People, Big World. I don’t know if my love of these two shows means I have voyeur-esque qualities, wanting to be inside the life of a less than normal family, but there might not be an explanation anyway.

Slice tends to be a bit racier, with shows like Matchmaker and Newlywed, Nearly Dead. I can’t say I watch this channel as much as the others I’ve mentioned, but hell, why not include it in my confession. It markets itself as a woman’s show, and quite frankly, that’s exactly what it is. My boyfriend would likely not be huddled in front of the TV, immersed in the pink glow of the channel. But as the slogan says, ‘My Vice Is Slice.’

My fascination with shows like this has meant that there is quite literally always something on the television for me – even if it is just discovering a new show on one of these channels. This breed of reality shows has families and individuals doing pretty much nothing and making a show out of it. The funny thing is that for people like me, there really isn’t anything more interesting and entertaining as watching an overly edited, sometimes scripted, showcase of a world that will never actually be reality.