Like many people who consider going all the way over there to plug in my phone as the apex of manual physical labor, I enjoy sitting on my butt watching others be useful.
The most sublime form of this is home improvement shows on HGTV, which always begin with people waving their arms accusingly at kitchens which commit such sins as having non-granite countertops.
Then, 59 minutes later, the electricity in the entire house has been rewired, all the appliances replaced, carpeting transformed to hardwood, and woodland animals airlifted in to cavort in the re-sodded yard.
Also, all the walls have been removed.
The first thing anyone does on these shows is to find walls to knock down, whether they look kind of important or not. This form of a floor plan is referred to as an “open concept” and it is an introvert horror show.
Open concept means that the many rooms of a house give way to one big giant room, also known as “a warehouse.”
It creates a flow of living such that people standing in what used to be the kitchen can stare at and natter-scream people all the way over in what used to be the master bath.
It is very, very desirable to everyone but those of us who pay many thousands of dollars to live behind any available locking door for the sole purpose of avoiding the presence of everybody else.
Since walls are the enemy, where there is a rare one, it is treated as a visiting head of state come to negotiate surrender after a long and bloody war. This is where the backsplash comes in.
HGTV exists solely to educate the general populace on backsplashes, and it regards its mission with the utmost seriousness.
The next generation, perhaps, will overthrow our backsplash overloads.
What’s going to happen is HGTV is going to air 24-hour programming of potential homeowners wandering through once-freshly renovated houses all, “What’s with this weird tile over the sink, and why aren’t there any walls?”
My favorite form of backsplash education is HGTV’s Property Brothers.
If I am going to dedicate precious moments of life to draping on a couch eating cream cheese icing with a spoon, I am going to do it watching two hot dudes carrying around sledgehammers and saying things like “Buyers are looking for what’s on-trend and want to envision themselves in the space.”
The Property Brothers were imported to the US from Canada in exchange for William Shatner in retirement and an Olympic ice dance team to be named later. America has won this trade.
I tune in to Property Brothers with special interest because they are identical twins, as is my husband, Josh The Pilot. If Josh The Pilot ran a contracting business with his twin, one of them would find himself run through the table saw before lunch.
So, if something like this goes down between the Property Brothers, I want to know the exact point at which the price of life in prison is worth never again hearing “You’re doing it wrong” from a former uterine roommate.
The way the original Property Brothers show worked was that a family, with the aid of one Property Brother, Drew, would buy a sad house in danger of collapsing into a sulfurous pit of lava due to lack of backsplash.
The other Property Brother, Jonathan, rolled up with his sledgehammer and purged the house of its demon walls.
At this point, he usually found some sort of DIY horror such as electrical wiring held together with wasp spit and Pop-Tart wrappers, a previous owner’s transgression which he deemed anywhere from “very illegal” to “totally illegal,” and that fixing it will cost the GDP of Belgium.
This was my cue to put down my icing spoon and inform Josh The Pilot that we will be renters for the rest of our lives.
The Property Brothers have immensely improved my life by expanding awareness that life could always be much, much more terrible: Is there any worse job on the planet than contracting?
1) physical labor
2) when it’s cold AND when it’s hot
3) with other people
4) whose daily work output depends on the competency and efficiency of other people
5) all in service of yet more people
6) who want to know why you’re not finished yet.
We Want Couch Pillows
At the end of every episode, the Property Brothers welcome the homeowners to their renovated houses, which are now spectacular wall-free palaces featuring furry throw pillows lurking about the backsplash like vaguely threatening small animals.
The homeowners cry and agree that all the hard work of standing around carping at the brothers as they undergo real estate paperwork nightmares and cyanide-coated toilet excavations on their behalf was well worth it.
The Property Brothers are their own commercial force, also equal to the GDP of Belgium, with spinoffs and cruises and books and sheets and mirrors in the mirror aisle at Lowe’s, and more power to them.
They hit on the ultimate comfort meal for the home viewer who just wants the world to shut up for two seconds and give them pillows — couch pillows that aren’t covered in dog hair and vomit.
We get a vicarious home renovation and they get another product line on QVC. Everybody wins. Really beautiful.
Mr. Open and Mr. Concept wisely entrenched themselves in the timeless formula of the home repair show:
1) LOOK AT THIS S*&^@&*#
2) oh no there’s a problem we’re all gonna die in the S*&^@&*#
3) actually never mind, it’s fine
4) Here is your cherrywood-shelved laundry room that will finally make all your dreams come true!!
It’s tested and it works. Why shouldn’t it?
Given the current state of the world, it’s quite nice to see a man frowning at a pile of rubble, despairing over illegal juncture boxes, secure in the knowledge that in 12 minutes that rubble will transform into dust-free baseboards and, for some reason, a giant magnifying glass that shows up on a coffee table in just about every finale — a giant magnifying glass no one really likes but never questions.
Kind of like Subway.
The Property Brothers currently have several series on the air, two of which are Celebrity IOU and Forever Home, and it is my honor to update you on all their wall-free glory. Led by the shows themselves, the recaps will follow a format.
Why Are We Here?
Why Are We Here?: We are going to meet the families and celebrities bringing their homes into your home. Sometimes they seem like people you actually wouldn’t hate. Sometimes they make you survey your own yard, wondering how much a drawbridge might cost.
The Space: This is the LOOK AT THIS S*&^@&*# part of the proceedings. It’s a s*&^@&*# and we’re gonna look at it.
The Moment of Oh No: 99.99 percent of the time, the brothers will run across a problem, and that problem is usually very, very expensive. Or not! You’ll find out after the commercial break!
The Magnifying Glass of Contentment: Here we’ll discuss the reveal. The crying. The screeching. The studious ignoring of the magnifying glass.
We Have Questions: Don’t we all?
Beam Status: If there’s a Property Brother in the area, there’s a beam about to be installed.
To hold the house up.
Because all the walls have been removed.
All Property Brothers shows are currently airing on HGTV