The Horrible Reality of Home Improvement T.V.

The Horrible Reality of Home Improvement T.V.

We’re supposed to think those people who appear on home make-over shows love the outcome of their reality t.v. experience. We’ve all seen it: people squeal with glee, they cry tears of joy as their garden or home make-over is revealed. Is it real? Or is it as fake as the blood in a Wes Craven movie? If statistics were complied, they would probably show that most people are pleased with their realty t.v. home make-overs. But if we peek among the dark hiding places of these statistics we’d find a knife-wielding creature fit for a horror movie. It is a two headed monster known as Regret and Ruin and it comes in the guise of that beast Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.

Ex-Scream Makeover: Home Edition

In what has become the modus operandi of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, producers found a family suffering existence in a too-small house. The Leomitis had brought into their home the five Higgins siblings, who had lost both their parents within two months of each other. Faster than you can say Hellraiser, Ty Pennington was bellowing through his bullhorn rousing the family from their abode–which, by the way, was filmed over a half-dozen times to capture just the right spontaneity–and the project was underway. EMHE transformed the Leomiti home from a humble tract house into a nine bedroom, 4,267 square foot McMansion. Oh sure, the house looked nice, but like any good horror movie set–the nicest house on the block always has the most disturbing goings-on inside.

The Leomiti-Higgins house

In this case, a mysterious rift developed between the Higgins siblings and the Leomiti family within weeks of the home’s reveal. The siblings were claiming the Leomitis had become greedy and deceptive after they received their EMHE gift. They also said that the Leomitis started using verbal abuse as a means to degrade them. Not terribly surprising, the siblings soon moved out, hired a lawyer and filed suit. Their original allegations included "fraud, intentional infliction of emotional distress and breach of contract." Through their lawsuit, the Higgins argue that the ABC television show promised them a home to live in permanently. Conversely, the Leomitis say the Higgins siblings have no legal claim to their new home or, in fact, a legal claim to live there at all. The bloody cherry on the top of this tale, however, is that the Leomiti-Higgins family bios, pictures and episode in which they appeared (season 2, episode 18), have been rubbed out of the ABC EMHE website. Spooky!

The Psycho House

Getting out alive!

As in all horror movies, so is the same for the reality t.v. game. Some characters survive, some don’t. But if you have already submitted your application and are awaiting a producer’s call or Ty’s bellow, you just might want to keep these words of wisdom in mind: Don't Answer The Door, Don't Leave The House, Don't Answer The Phone, But Most Of All, Don't SCREAM.

(Original reports of this horrific event were published in the May 13, 2007 issue of the Minneapolis Star Tribune.)





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betadinesutures on Aug 13, 2007:

ahhhh....i seethe over these assinine shows.  the latest, design star makes me want to kill.  from the horrible designs, to the horrible "cast members" i want to go on murder spree.  the dweeb from the twin cities is number one with a bullet in my designer deathpool...j/k but gawd, enough already!  i like mdf, but these horrible design shows make me want to vomit with the way they use the stuff.....

my wife and i would watch EMHE and constantly comment about which moments the had to do retakes just to get the tears right...die ty die. 

DIY Maven on Aug 13, 2007:

Hey Sydney! Thanks for posting that link. The article was fabulous!! I hope she at least got a date out of it with the sound guy ;)

Sydney on Aug 12, 2007:


Last year The Washington Post had an article written by a woman who endured a "free $1,000 makeover" from HGTV's "Freestyle" show on her D.C. condo. I knew those shows were heavily faked and probably annoying as hell to live through, but this story made it even worse than I had imagined.

deckogecko on Aug 10, 2007:

Great write up. I'll never be able to watch those shows properly again, without thining of what REALLY went on.

And I also like your hammer photo. Very creative. 

baconthecat on Jul 18, 2007:

Oh yaaa!!! That's almost like my motto too!! Well, except right now we don't have cable, but when we went to my parents' house, that's how I was like... Nobody else was interested though! lol HGTV, and the Food Network.

DIY Maven on Jul 18, 2007:

I love them too, especially the HGTV offerings. We sort of have a motto in this house; if nothing else is on, there's always HGTV.

baconthecat on Jul 18, 2007:

Oh yes! I like that hammer photo too. Thanks for sharing these stories; I've always wondered how real these shows are, although I love them.

DIY Maven on Jul 17, 2007:

Yes...and thank you!

Chris Gardner on Jul 17, 2007:

Did you create the top photo yourself? Nice...

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