Little known fact: I watch Fixer Upper on HGTV.*
Yes, Chip and Joanna Gaines are a bit too perky, and their renovations look a little too similar from one home to the next – tear out the walls and make everything light and bright. And, where do their clients come up with so much money to spend?
On the other hand, some of the transformations are exciting.
Given this context, it was with enthusiasm over the last couple of months that I noticed promos for the new HGTV show Home Town creeping into the commercial breaks I zipped through when watching Fixer Upper.
The premise of the new show is built around the two hosts getting other young couples to return and participate in the revitalization of their hometown.
Ben and Erin Napier think Laurel, Mississippi is a town with a future, and they put his woodworking skills and her designs together to help restore the (apparently plentiful) historical homes available near the downtown area.
The Napiers are young, likable, energetic (without being too perky) and, as a couple, possess an unusual good-ole-boy-meets-hipster-and-magnolia vibe that is wearing well after several episodes.
I appreciate the fact that Ben and Erin work with the original designs and character of the homes in Laurel and make updates that are pleasing but that maintain the integrity of the homes.
Their ethos of “restore instead of replace” and saving their town, which Erin sees as “cool,” is charming.
There’s only one thing really bugging me about this show – the lack of diversity.
A quick glance online at the demographic make-up of the town reveals that more than half the local residents are African American. That’s not evident from the clients or vendors I’ve seen on Home Town thus far, and this lack of representation is my biggest disappointment with the series.
Looking online for more information about the show, I saw one African American couple included in a promo video walking into their new home. A friend tells me they appeared in the first episode this season, which is the one I missed before I started recording the series.
Second little known fact: I harbor a secret fantasy of renovating all of the no-so-historic homes in my Jamestown neighborhood and revitalizing my own neighborhood!
*I think I got hooked on Fixer Upper because the first episode I stumbled across featured a 1920s house that had been “red-tagged” by the city. The Baylor coach and his wife, a former professional player, bought it for $24,000 then spent $150,000 to renovate. It was mesmerizing…and no subsequent episode has been quite so captivating…