This fall, it was with great anticipation that I tuned in to a new season of the quintessential remake-a-room-on-a-shoestring-budget show, Trading Spaces.
It’s been re-runs for this favorite on TLC (The Learning Channel) all summer long—probably since late spring, actually. And I’ve been ready to watch some fresh design.
But, I’m sad to say, I have been disappointed by what I’m now seeing. And hearing.
The past few weeks' episodes have been laced with sexual innuendo (yes, it's there and it’s very subtle … but I picked up on it), more bleeped-out foul language than in seasons past and major cleavage from one of the newest designers. Let’s just call her “Miss Pottymouth,” since something is bleeped from her dialogue in most of her scenes—no joke. We’re talking no class.
As I was watching the latest episode this past weekend, I kept thinking, If I was watching this with my 15-year-old niece and 13-year-old nephew I would have already turned this off by now.
At one point Miss Pottymouth was writhing around suggestively on the newly purchased carpet that was to be installed in the makeover room. And of course, the camera took FULL effect of the fact that her dress barely covered her bosom. And I mean barely.
Another disappointing fact: One of the male carpenters who’s been on the show for a while (and who became a father in recent years–so one would think that THAT might make a decency difference) was playing right along with the innuendo and made several questionable statements to the female contestants while working together (and vice versa). Very sad.
I got to the end of the episode and felt like I needed to take a shower. Sure, Miss Pottymouth is a great designer, and the friendly carpenter is a true craftsman. But do I need to sit through all the muck and mire just to get to a well-done, finished product? I don’t think so. I have a choice.
Home improvement and decorating shows are ALL over the place these days, so I know that I can watch whatever I want elsewhere. And I intend to do that. Plus, I’m going to let TLC know what I think. It’s called viewer feedback. And I WILL find out where to send it.
You know, at one time I had applied (along with my neighbor) to be on Trading Spaces. I really wanted to work with one of the crazy, unpredictable designers (Doug Wilson painting turquoise zigzags on a wood floor or Hildi Santos-Tomas hot-gluing plastic flowers all over a bathroom wall … alas, they’ve both since left the show). But now … I don’t want anything to do with it.
And that’s such a shame. I could’ve made for a great homeowner during the “reveal” on camera at the end of each show. (Sans the routine bleeps for “Holy s—t” or “Oh my G—“ of course. I would refreshingly say “FANNNNNtastic!” or “InconCEEEEEEEIVable!”)
But I won’t abandon the network altogether. At least not yet. I still enjoy Little People, Big World, Say Yes to the Dress, The Real Estate Pros and What Not to Wear—although the latter has gotten a little edgier and raised my eyebrows from time to time in recent seasons.
So ... what could be the reason my favorite show on TLC has been hijacked and dirtied up? Could this all be tied to a dip in ratings? I don’t know. But the road to raunch IS quite slippery. And I don’t want to travel down it with any show—even my favorite ones. I don’t want to become desensitized to the things that should bother me.
And that's why I’m sending a message to Trading Spaces: For any future viewing of home improvement and decorating shows that I might do, I’m trading channels.
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
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