The 12 People You'll Meet on HGTV
This network is all about surprise reveals. It's also all about archetypes we've come to know and love (or love to hate).
In The Hero with a Thousand Faces, Joseph Campbell argues that there is a recognizable hero’s journey central to mythologies all over the world—and that there are eight character archetypes which recur in this journey (the Mentor, the Ally, the Trickster, and so on).
Scholars have applied Campbell’s hugely influential theory to everything from The Odyssey to Star Wars, and we’re fairly certain it’s relevant to lifestyle television, as well. Consider these HGTV characters: We’ve seen them before, and we all know we’re going to see them again.
The Debate Team
Love It or List It’s Hilary Farr and David Visentin disagree for a living, of course—it’s the premise of their show. Amateurs, on the other hand, go toe to toe for reasons we can only speculate about. Partnering with someone who shares none of your views on things like design and budgeting certainly keeps things exciting.
It probably goes without saying that people who agree to be on television are very comfortable with themselves, but there’s definitely a comfort spectrum. And then there’s Chip Gaines. #nailedit (Experts say he could probably get pretty far with that thing, and that he definitely shouldn’t find out for sure.)
The Pretty Boy
Listen, manscaping and landscaping are thematically related: When you’re getting involved with the real estate business, it never hurts to have personal curb appeal. (Non-hosts do solid work in this department, too. Well-groomed non-Property Brothers of HGTV, we salute you.)
The Kool-Aid Man
There’s no denying the fact that demolition can be satisfying for homeowners and flippers. That said, there’s a certain kind of...hobbyist...who gets awfully excited about demo for its own sake. Hey, no judgment! Some of us unwind by collecting stamps, others unwind by reducing outdated kitchen cabinets to kindling. It takes all kinds to make a world, Kool-Aid Man. (Yep, we're kinda talking about Chip Gaines again. Could he be The Hero with a Thousand Faces all by himself?)
The Closet Case
Har har, where’s your husband or wife going to put their clothes? Yes, we get it, House Hunters villain: You have a large wardrobe and are interested in more-than-ample space for it.
Hyperosmia, or a heightened sensitivity to odors, is a comparatively rare condition that seems to crop up fairly frequently—often paired with rhetorical questions—in the context of real-estate searches. (Flip or Flop Fort Worth's Ashley Williams is a notable case, but non-pro flippers catch a whiff even more often than she does.) The only real response to "What died in here?" is, "Bleach." You’re probably going to need a whole lot of bleach.
The Budget Hawk
Bartering has fallen out of fashion in the vast majority of the world’s societies, which has been rough for the Budget Hawk, who would prefer to part with as little money as possible. They’re a valuable team member, to be sure, but the noises they make when unexpected expenses crop up can be awfully jarring. Yes, House Hunters International property-seeker, you're probably going to have to buy some furniture.
The Big Spender
The Big Spender—who, funnily, is often in business with the Budget Hawk on shows like Flipping Virgins—is 100 percent on board with costly renovations! And big-ticket finishes! And working at the far reaches of their price range! One has to spend money to make money, after all.
To paraphrase Abraham Lincoln and the poet John Lydgate: "You can please some of the people all of the time, you can please all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time." And strike that second part, because you are never going to please The Downer, who loathes all homes and all plans. The Downer might loathe Abraham Lincoln, too: Who can say? (Pro tip: If you meet a Downer on Tiny House Big Living, head for the hills. There's nowhere to hide from them in a small space.)
Don’t confuse The Lovebird with The Lovebirds (a duo so head over heels for each other that they can hardly be bothered with the task at hand): The Lovebird has lost his or her heart to a property (cough, Beachfront Bargain Hunt, cough), and is deaf to their human partner’s misgivings about it. For their sake, we hope The Lovebird and The Downer aren’t a couple.
It’s 1 in the morning and there are three bathrooms to tile, but you should go ahead and get some sleep, because The Martyr is on the job. They’re already thinking about the power ballads they’ll sing once you leave (and how they’ll describe their work to you when you meet in the morning).
The Clean Freak
Don’t confuse The Clean Freak with The Martyr: They aren’t vacuuming the walls and dusting the welcome mat because they want recognition for it. Like The Kool-Aid Man, they’re doing it because they live for it. Do you, Clean Freak. Do you.