Last fall I posted a story here on Queerty telling of how my partner and I, after 18.5 years, gave up the bright lights of Broadway — with a gay bar on every corner — and returned home to our native — and newly bankrupt — Detroit, in order to be closer to family and buy ourselves a house.
What I didn’t mention in that particular post is that part of our house hunting experience included an actual appearance on HGTV’s hit reality series House Hunters.
Once Craig and I came to the conclusion that, yes, we were indeed going to make the move from our 500-square-foot apartment in Sunnyside, Queens, into a 1500-square-foot home in Metro Detroit, we took it upon ourselves — along with our daily searches on Trulia, Zillow, and Realtor.com — to start watching every reality home series on HGTV.
After exhausting the available episodes of Property Brothers on Hulu, we switched to the obvious House Hunters. Apparently the show has been on for years — something like 80 seasons had already been shot — but we had never bothered to tune in because we’d accepted the cold, hard fact that we’d never in a bijillion years be able to afford to buy a house. Not in New York City, at least, where a shoebox costs a cool half a mill.
A binge-watching marathon soon followed, at which point Craig and I turned to each other with the same “We should be on this show!” look on our faces. Having both been actors, we’d be naturals in front of the cameras. Surely we could take a tour of three potential houses, talk about our likes and dislikes, and in the end choose one to live out the rest of our lives in. And how great would it be, years from now when we were old and even grayer, to look back at our younger selves on the hunt for our Forever Home in front of all of America?
So I hopped online, Googled “House Hunters How to Apply,” and lo’ and behold, I found the application. Yes, I knew it would be a long shot. Millions of people watched the show and I’m sure they all thought the same thing. Like poor Charlie in Willy Wonka, I never won anything — except a Lambda Literary Award for my second novel Drama Queers! But that had to be a fluke, right?
And guess what happened? A few weeks later, I got an email from the casting director at House Hunters stating that she’d received our application and that she was interested in speaking with Craig and I further about being on the show! An hour-long phone conversation/interrogation soon followed. What exactly were we looking for in a home? Was there anything unique we sought in our Dream House, say a dumbwaiter? Were our wants/needs the same or different?
Because Craig and I were now avid House Hunters viewers, we knew there should be some degree of conflict in our quest. Something for each of us to bitch about behind the other’s back when they pulled us aside for our confessional. (Craig: “I want an up-to-date, modern house, but Frank is more into old.” Frank: “I want a house like my Grandmother’s, but Craig thinks old is bad.”)
Next we were asked to make a video, in which we took a tour of our present home, talking about the things we liked and didn’t like, and the things we might want in our new house that were either the same or different. I won’t say that we lied in order to get on TV, but we played up the fact that Craig and I can be a bit like The Odd Couple in hopes that, should the Powers That Be at Pie Town Productions want us for their show, we would deliver some good reality television.
I’ll leave that up to you, dear Queerty readers, to decide.
Will it be house #1, #2, or #3? Will Frank and Craig get that kitchen with stainless steel appliances, granite countertops, and a tiled backsplash? Will they utter the words open-concept, en suite, or mancave? Tune in to HGTV this Tuesday, August 19 at 10 p.m. ET (with a repeat showing Wednesday at 1 a.m.) to find out.
Frank Anthony Polito is the author of the novel Band Fags! and The Spirit of Detroit. His partner, Craig Bentley, is an actor who most recently appeared in the independent feature film American Sharia starring Eric Roberts.
Good for them. Will try to remember to watch.
What I wanna know is the back-story of the house hunt. Surely no one in their right mind would only look at just three houses.
Have heard various tales so just how much of the show is a complete set up and staged for the program????
No one on that show talks about the whole inspection, bidding, escrow process which I think is doing a big disservice to viewers.
Buying a house just ain’t that easy nor quick. And yes, I do realize it’s a thirty minute TV show but still…..
Anyone have any real facts regarding that process?
They are annoying.
How so? Please expand your response.
The whole show is a lie. Two realtor friends of mine, in two different cities, have appeared on House Hunters and both report that the “buyers” have already purchased their homes and merely pretend to look at two others for the cameras and “make a decision.” I still watch and enjoy the show to see the homes, but it’s all fake suspense and acting.
And really, when you think about it, the economics of the show demand that it be that way. How many house shoppers look at just three homes before buying one? The producers would have to accompany buyers to, say, a dozen different homes with no guarantee one would even be selected.
So they line up people who have recently bought a home and realtors who are willing to find two other properties for them to pretend to look at. It’s the realtor who does all the work because permission needs to be granted, papers signed, etc. and the show pays realtors nothing for their effort – just the kick of being on TV and hints from House Hunters that the exposure would be good publicity and help get them future listings. (In the case of both my realtor friends who were on the show, it didn’t do any such thing.)
What you have said here makes a lot of sense. It all seemed obvious it’s a big hooey but now I will take your word for it.
I think HGTV does a tremendous injustice to all folks looking to buy or remodel a house. The time involved, the procedure and the expenses (initial and ongoing) are never mentioned.
…..and next, you’ll tell me there ain’t no tooth faerie?
Thanks for your insight.
@Sammy Schlipshit The annoyance comes from the fact that it feels like I’m reading an ad for someone’s personal TV show. “Hey! Look at me! Please like me!” Frankly, rather than read a self-promoting article about yet another (apparently potentially staged) reality show, I’d rather these guys talk about the highs and lows of living in Detroit one year (or so) later.
I agree. Thanks.
For a more realistic look at Detroit, try to find the episode where Anthony Bourdain tours the city.
This link is to a few clips but was unable to find the show in it’s entirety.
The Homo-American dream! Cute.
@Sammy Schlipshit: Ignore friscoqueen. He thinks everyone is annoying and on steroids.
What do you mean, things on TV are fake?!?!?!?
another episode of House Hunters!
Being committed to each other for 18.5 years +100
Having the courage to move to a new city + 50
Pursuing their passions in their careers + 50
Appearing on reality TV – 25
Promoting their appearance in this post – 25
Referring to gay people as “queers” – 50
They are still +100 in my book. And the dude on the right looks like Jason Priestly.
@Jacob23: I don’t know why “queers” bothers you (on a site called Queerty), but:
“and that she was interested in speaking with Craig and I further”
Bad grammar – minus 50
@Masc Pride: Well no not everyone but I will add you to the annoying category 😉
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