Photo: Fox

Is HGTV’s Fixer Upper lying to America? That depends on how strongly you believe in the possibility of free will on house hunting TV shows.

Season 3 participant David Ridley told Fox News, in an article published on Friday, that he had already bought a home when he was asked to be on the show. No matter, Ridley fake-picked his dream house before thousands of credulous viewers anyway.

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“You have to be under contract to be on the show,” Ridley told Fox. “They show you other homes but you already have one. After they select you, they send your house to [hosts] Chip and Joanna and their design team.”

Fox took a peek at the show’s application, which appears to corroborate Ridley’s account. For instance, applicants are asked to upload photos of the home they’ve already selected to live in.

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Question #19 on the application is, “Where are you in the escrow process?”

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I have questions too, like, what if Chip and Joanna present you with a better house than the one you’ve already bought? Maybe there’s no need for all this deception, because a show wherein rich perfectionists try to wriggle out of contract law does’t sound so much worse than the original premise.

Personally, I’ve never much cared whether house hunting shows are staged or not, but I also mostly watch them at my laundromat, between loads, with the sound off. I find them to be very hypnotic.