I have a confession: My television guilty pleasure isn't an overhyped cooking show, former Amish people who can't resist temptation in New York City, or housewives screaming at each other before making up in front of Andy Cohen. It's HGTV's House Hunters, an astonishly simple, unsexy cable show that I watch almost ritualistically out of habit.
House Hunters is a voyeuristic look into the psychology of buying a house, which is something I'd very much like to do some day. The show is seductive like porn or trashy reality television, featuring smutty close-ups of cavernous walk-in closets, eat-in kitchens, and hardwood floors. I don't know a damn thing about real estate, yet think it's hypnotizing. See, I'm in my late 20s with a professional job and live in Manhattan, where one needs the salary of a one-percenter to own any sort of real estate of substance. Truila tells me that $500,000 gets me a one-bedroom apartment with 650 square feet... 40-minutes away in Brooklyn. Though I'm fully aware the trade off is living/working in Manhattan vs. living/working in Bum F*ck, Egypt nowherevilles, my monthly rent is much more than many of my friends' monthly mortgage payments. After a few years in the city, something about that just feels... Unsettling. You know what they say about renting... Might as well be flushing your money down the toilet.
Insert House Hunters.
As a TV show, it is formulatic real estate escapism that's on ALL. THE. TIME. Every episode is pretty much the same, with the only real variants being the buyers' budgets, geographic location, and varying degrees of realtor awkwardness when forced to deal with the buyers' silly wish-list of demands in front of a camera. For the most part, everyone wants the exact same thing: A living space "for entertaining," an "open floor plan," or an "updated kitchen." Thus, the show's completely-predictable monotony makes it perfect for casually boozing during a quiet evening in. Since House Hunters is ALWAYS FREAKIN' ON, you almost never have to sit around waiting for it.
Hence my official House Hunters drinking game. There are a couple other House Hunters drinking games out there, but this drinking game compiles almost all of the quirky House Hunters-isms on the market: Wives who complain about the lack of granite countertops, husbands who puff their chests out about their future man caves. Hence the massive smorgasbord of rules. The preferred beverage for this House Hunters drinking game is anything a faux-sophisticated mature person would drink, like a $7 bottle of pinot grigio or a jug of cooking merlot. A tasty craft beer (poured into a glass, natch) does the trick just fine, too. As long as it's within budget.
I suggest bookmarking this page for later. And feel free to add your own rules in the comments.
- If it's in a city you would NEVER want to live in ever.
- If you see the listing prices/budgets and think, "wow that's expensive."
- Every time someone complains about something cosmetic that's easily fixable: I.E. "Ewwwwww the paint in this guest bedroom is ugggly!"
- Every time someone complains about carpet or laminate flooring instead of hardwood.
- Every time someone complains about non-granite kitchen countertops.
- Every time someone complains about the cabinets in the kitchen or bathroom.
- Every time someone complains about appliances.
- When the narrator says something to the effect of "modern sensibilities," "rustic charm," "cozy," or "old world charm"
- Every time someone complains about the location.
- Every time someone complains about the lack of space and you wonder "HOW MUCH SPACE DO YOU FREAKING NEED?!"
- "Crown molding" is mentioned
- "Stainless steel appliances" are mentioned.
- Someone says "needs updating" or "this is dated"
- If it's in a city you'd LOVE to live in or the city you live in now.
- If you see the listing prices/budgets and think, "Damn… that's CHEAP."
- Every time someone walks into a room and says "it has potential."
- When the couple inevitably complains about the lack of yard.
- If the couple complains about the lack of fence.
- If it's a rental one. They are the f*cking worst. Mortgage or nothing, please, HGTV.
- If there's a nagging request for "his and her" closets.
- If someone says something about an "open floor plan"
- When they're pictured inevitably doing some annoying cutesy activity, be it fitness, playing music, playing tennis or golf, eating, drinking wine, driving some asshole car, whatever. You know the shot I'm talking about...
- If it's for a vacation home episode for a rich prick and his whiny wife, who dominates the show.
- If it's one with a spoiled trust fund kid who wants to live in Europe (… or anywhere abroad, really) and is definitely receiving support from his rich mommy and daddy.
- Every time someone says something about a property's "curb appeal"
- When someone claims how much they like to entertain and, thus, needs a dedicated space for it.
- The guy mentions a room being his man cave.
- Every time the man acts like a complete push-over, outshined by a laundry list of demands from his wife.
- If the couple's on what seems to be their fourth marriage.
- … Or on the road to divorce
Scream "Wild Card, Bitches!"
- If they chose the house you NEVER thought they'd chose.
Shotgun a beer:
- If someone won't shut up about double sinks.
- If someone suggests knocking down a wall.
- If the man says something vaguely sexist during the tour of the kitchen, alluding to his wife spending most of her time in it.
- If someone says, "this is where the magic happens" during the tour of the bedroom, alluding to sexy time. This couple likes to party.
Finish your drink:
- If it's not completely clear what the couples' sexuality is.
- If someone suggests the "lifestyle" a particular home has to offer.
- The realtor -- clearly frustrated by their demands -- shows them a house #3 that's WAY, WAY, WAY over budget.
- If someone looks at the inside of a closet, looks disappointed, and says "where's the closet?"
- If you happen to notice at the end of the show that the couple hasn't changed clothes at all throughout the course of all three house visits, meaning HGTV shot in one day and the house buying decision was already made.
- When you picture the couple having sex.
Do a bong rip:
- If you're watching House Hunters in your parents' basement. Maybe get a job?
- If you just know the guy on the show secretly sneaks a joint every now and then, man.
Do a shot:
- If the realtor looks smugly annoyed by some stupid cosmetic complaint from the buyer, adding in "Well, that is easy to fix."
- In the follow-up at the end, if a couple that exclaimed to enjoy entertaining so much at the beginning of the show is either (A. not entertaining at all or (B. looks like they're throwing the most uncomfortable and socially awkward house party you've ever witnessed. THEY DON'T EVEN LOOK LIKE REAL PEOPLE!!! Some suggest these awkward shots are the House Hunters production crew, but I dunno... The verdict is out.
- If the couple is younger than you, married, maybe having kids soon, and already buying a house. Then ask yourself, "what the fuck am I doing with my life."
Finish the bottle:
- If your House Hunters watching partner -- be it wife, girlfriend, boyfriend, husband, whatever -- suggests being on House Hunters while looking for a house. If they're serious, consider ending it.