It's 75 degrees, the air smells like crispy meats, blackberry vines are being total dickheads in my flower beds, and all my neighbors are outside drilling and weedwhacking and hammering approximately 14 hours per fucking day. It must be my favorite time of year—ALMOST SUMMER!—and all I want to do is a goddamn sunny day home improvement project.
Except I don't own a home to improve (I'm a blogger, not a sultan), so instead I just watch HGTV all the flipping* time to vicariously soothe my nesting fantasies. Life is stressful. Work is stressful. The internet is stressful. I like home improvement shows because all they do is make things better, prettier, easier. They take an ugly thing and they fix it.
But what are the best home improvement shows, and which ones should you avoid? (The answer to the second question is NONE. ALL ARE WORTHY.) To sort this genre out, I've ranked home improvement shows from least best to most #1 best. I did not rank shows I have not watched, such as the Vanilla Ice Project, or shows that are no longer on the air, such as Trading Spaces (RIP). But feel free to add your feelings in the comments.
Doooooood, these bitchez are the WORST OF ALL TIME. Here, allow me to spoil every episode for you so you never have to watch it: The couple is looking for something move-in ready and "Tuscan" with an open concept, an eat-in kitchen, a master bedroom with en suite, and some real wow factor. Also, they hate each other. Eventually, someone says something like, "I could really see us eating food in this dining room!" and then they pick the house that they already picked before the show taped because the show's fake. And they're not even in Nicaragua or someplace interesting. It's just, like, Milwaukee. BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.
Yardcore is a gimmicky show where Jake and Joel Moss—"professional landscapers and brothers"—snoop around your house for five minutes and then turn your backyard into a Buffalo Wild Wings without your consent. They are the Guy Fieris of landscaping.
(PS What are "PROFESSIONAL BROTHERS"?)
First of all, I do not understand your pun.
Second of all, a lot of these shows fall into the Pimp My Ride/Extreme Makeover: Home Edition trap, where they seize on one tiny detail you mentioned off-hand and turn your ENTIRE SHIT INTO A TERRIBLE SHRINE TO THAT THING. Like, oh, we heard you say you wanted tacos for lunch, so we tore down your house and built a tortilla factory. You're welcome! This show kind of does that. But it's also a bunch of hot brothers digging holes, plus I appreciate shows where they actually teach you how tools work instead of just filming some shitty couple bickering for an hour and then pulling back a curtain on a 100% finished house/yard at the end. So, kudos.
A guy follows you home from the hardware store and does crazy shit to your yard. It is fine. There is a lot of electric guitar.
This is a show about people who haven't had sex with a building yet. (Nerds.)
These dudes are clearly trying to yoink some of that sweet Property Brothers cash, but sorry, dummies. Nobody gives a shit about cousins. Cousins are BARELY related. Plus, you don't have the Property Bros' tender Canadian charm, like a pair of gentle brontosauruses who just split an Ambien.
This couple flips houses that they buy at auction. I just kind of don't like them. I feel like they always use the same travertine.
People with shitty yards get this guy to deshittify them. I've only seen one episode and the thing he made was kind of hideous, plus he kept being like, "Does anyone else on your block have a tree like THIS!? [electric guitar riff]" but I'd be willing to give it another shot because of a certain bicep situation.
A couple named Chip and Joanna help people "find the worst house on the best block" and then they turn it into a magic dream home. It's fine. I just can't get that into renovation shows where the homeowners don't help. I might be a homeowner some day, but I'm sure as shit going to be scraping off my own moldy wallpaper, not hiring someone named "Chip" to do it for me.
Weirdly specific, but sure. People are like, "Ew new!!! My deeennnn is the weeerrrrst!!!" and this plucky gal named Anitra Mecadon (!!!) shows up and makes it "edgy," usually. Just the den. Oh, and the whole family helps, which I appreciate (see above).
Again, weirdly specific.
This has all the same problems as Househunters classic, but there's almost nothing I find as interesting as real estate listings in other countries. You get to see what apartments are like in Hyderabad and Chiang Mai and Copenhagen, and how much your money's worth in Zagreb and Santiago. It's so interesting that I'll watch it every time, even though it's fake and everyone on it is a dildo.
Ugh, this is where it gets difficult. All of the shows from here to the top of the list are my children and I LOVE ALL OF THEM EQUALLY. Except that some of my children are slightly better than others. I Hate My Yard is a pretty straightforward landscaping renovation show, but host Sara Bendrick is a BOSS. She has rad ideas and she's nice but not boring.
Surprisingly, this show rules. People buy a garbage house and then figure out how to fix it up themselves. They're terrible at it and it's adorable. And then at the end they do a good job and they hug!
I didn't realize this was still on the air, and I haven't watched it since I was a child, but I remember it being very soothing. Also, it's the beardy old dad of all these other shows. Its sperms made them possible.
My top priority with home renovation shows is that they show me some actual shit. I want to see people being good at their jobs and dealing with the real day-to-day nuts and bolts that come with renovating a property. Not only does Rehab Addict go deep into specifics, it follows the same project over multiple episodes. One time a marathon came on while I was sick in a hotel room and not only did it heal me but I am now impervious to all germs.
O, PROPERTY BROTHERS, WON'T YOU SING ME A CANADIAN LULLABY AND LET ME PET YOUR HAIR????????
Have you ever read the Wikipedia page of Curb Appeal host John Gidding? The dude has architecture degrees from Harvard and Yale, he's from Turkey by way of Switzerland, he's a runway model and a CHOIR NERD, and he's "also been on the covers of numerous romance novels." He's married to ballet dancer Damian Smith and here is a picture of them and not only will he re-design your front yard, he'll do your neighbor's yard too. It's just, the love feelings. They overwhelm.
It's just sooooooooooooooooooooo Canadian. (Hilary 4 life.)
*DU U C WHUT I DID THUR
Image by Jim Cooke.