Monday, November 12, 2007

On Extremity


My family watched "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" last night. Oh, we've watched it lots of times before, but last night I was sort of overwhelmed by just how "extreme" it is.

Too extreme, I think.

And it serves as an interesting commentary about the difference between wants and needs in American culture today.

"What they really need is a 72" plasma screen TV." "What this kid needs is his own recording studio in his bedroom." "What this family really needs is a special room for 'chillin'.'" (this room complete with another 72" plasma screen TV and theatre seating, billiards table, etc.).

I don't know. I just found it particularly troubling last evening.

The premise is great - helping those in need. This family was truly in need. They now have a great house full of everything in the world they could possibly want. But even if the house is given to the family mortgage-free, how will they pay the heat bill for their new hotel-sized home? How will they pay for the electricity needed to run this house full of everything they could possibly want? For many of these needy families, how will they be able to pay for the maintenance on their new pool or for their new car/cars (not to mention insurance and gas, etc.).

Seems a more practical premise - a truly helpful gesture - would not be an extreme makeover, but a modest and maintainable makeover...but then I suppose a show called "Practical Makeover: Home Edition" just wouldn't draw the same viewership.

How much is enough? How much is too much?

2 comments:

Poem Master 3000 said...

Moderate Makeover? Middle-class Makeover? Mild Makeover?

usedtobewitty said...

I totally agree - I complain about this to my husband every time I see this show. They could build modest, maintainable houses for several families with the amount of money they dump into those outrageous homes. They should do an "Extreme Home Makeover - Where are they now?" episode so we can see whether or not their home ended up being a blessing or a burden.