This column from CNN Senior Entertainment Writer Lisa Respers France will become a weekly newsletter later this month. You can subscribe here. Tell us what you’d like to see more of in the newsletter at email@example.com.
Your house might seem nice and comfortable until you watch a reality TV real estate show.
If you are fortunate enough to have your own domicile, you may just be sitting on your couch and minding your own business when you happen upon one of the many series that can make you want to level up your living space, redecorate or do both.
There is something both comforting and depressing about these shows during the pandemic.
Not to mention lust inducing.
Don’t believe it? Take a look at these.
“Selling Sunset”: Try and watch this Netflix show and not yearn for a 360-degree view of Los Angeles and an infinity pool.
I’ll admit that I have become obsessed with this one.
Set in LA, the action swirls around The Oppenheim Group, a real estate firm run by twin brothers Brett and Jason Oppenheim, who employ a group of gorgeous female real estate agents selling high-end properties.
Even when they aren’t selling, this crew is hanging out in sumptuous homes or locations. (Like, does that life come with the real estate license or no?)
And while I came for the houses, the frenemy dynamics on the show between the women was an added bonus.
Think of it as the “Real Housewives of Real Estate.”
The chef’s kiss is that one of the agents, Chrishell Stause, is a former soap opera actress who rose from poverty and growing up the “smelly girl” in school to being married to “This Is Us” star Justin Hartley.
Season three recently debuted, and a big story line is the implosion of Stause and Hartley’s marriage.
But relationship drama aside, the multimillion-dollar homes on the show are RIDICULOUS. Season one featured one house priced at $40 million – and if I had the cash, I would have gladly forked it over.
Even Chrissy Teigen is a fan.
More into owning acreage?
“Fixer Upper”: HGTV has plenty to stimulate you, like Chip and Joanna Gaines helping couples find their perfect piece of the American dream in Waco, Texas, on reruns.
The home remodeling and design experts have been so successful in stoking fascination over barn doors and shiplap walls (Google it, I promise you it will change your life) that these pros are launching their own Magnolia Network in partnership with the network that made them famous, Discovery.
Whether you like DIY home projects or watching real estate agents battle over multimillion-dollar listings, reality TV has plenty to inspire those of us spending lots of time inside, staring at our walls, cleaning, recleaning and thinking about our homes. (Or is that just me?)
Reality TV lovers, we have come a long way from the days of “Trading Spaces,” which debuted 20 years ago.
Here’s some of what I mean:
“Property Brothers”: Identical twin brothers Drew Scott and Jonathan Scott work in tandem to help prospective owners find a house that matches both their vision and their budget. Drew is the real estate agent and Jonathan the contractor.
What these pair can do just opening up a kitchen will amaze you. Also, try not to let your mouth drop open when you hear what some of the remodeling budgets are because it may definitely make you feel poor.
The Scott brothers have become so popular that they launched a franchise of multiple other shows. The latest is this year’s “Celebrity IOU,” in which celebrities surprise people they love with home makeovers.
“Love It or List It”: What’s a reality show without a little competition? On this series, clients grapple with whether or not to sell their homes and buy another or renovate their existing space.
That’s where real estate agent David Visentin and interior designer Hilary Farr come in.
The duo goes to work trying to either find a new house that checks off all the boxes on the buyers’ wish list or making the home they already have suit their needs.
In this house, we like to take bets on who will win and smart people (that would be me) often put their money on Farr, who more often than not shows people what a jewel they already have.
“Flip or Flop”: This show featured married couple Tarek and Christina El Moussa when it debuted in 2013.
They would find a property and buy it, and Tarek would focus on renovating it while Christina handled decorating the house they hoped to resell for a healthy profit.
The show was a success, but their marriage not so much.
The former couple shocked fans when they announced they were breaking up in 2016, though they continued working together on the show after the split, which wasn’t at all awkward (it was totally awkward).
But they both scored their own spin-off shows, and on the romantic front, each was soon off the market.
Taking husband No. 2’s name, Christina Anstead remarried and had another baby (she shared two children already with Tarek), and Tarek is now engaged to, wait for it, one of the stars of “Selling Sunset.”
“Million Dollar Listing”: This Bravo series is plenty self-explanatory from the title and evolved from a Los Angeles-based show into franchises in New York, Miami and San Francisco.
The agents make both a ton of money and mischief, but the house porn is delicious.
Like with “Selling Sunset,” I find myself wondering about the homes and buyers on “Million Dollar Listing” in the wake of the California wildfires and the pandemic.
Even with the fantasy of television, real life can have a way of inserting itself – and often not in a good way.
For your weekend
Three things to watch:
‘Prime Rewind: Inside The Boys’
Season two of “The Boys” starts on Amazon Prime in September, and the streaming service has a gift for the faithful.
Hosted by Aisha Tyler, “Prime Rewind: Inside The Boys” is billed as an aftershow “that brings fans inside the making of ‘The Boys’ and gives them a safe space to freak the &@#$ out about what they just saw.”
“The Boys” is based on a graphic novel and centers on superheroes who are turned into commodities, thanks to corporate America and the action that entails for said superheroes from there. (You need only to look to the fact it has an aftershow to understand its popularity.)
“Prime Rewind: Inside The Boys” starts streaming Friday on Amazon.
There is no other reason to recommend streaming “The Office” other than if streaming the finale can make Jennifer Garner cry, it’s definitely required viewing.
Full disclosure: I prefer the original, British version, created by and starring Ricky Gervais.
The American version, which ran on NBC from 2005 to 2013, is streaming on Netflix.
‘Bill & Ted Face the Music’
What I wouldn’t give to be able to time travel right now.
Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter reprise their roles in this third installment since “Excellent Adventure” and “Bogus Journey” precede this title of the “Bill & Ted” trilogy in which the less-than-brilliant pair of buds are told that a song they wrote can save life as we know it – if only they can get their hands on it.
The sci-fi comedy is being released in select theaters and on demand Friday.
Two things to listen to:
Speaking of music, the MTV Video Music Awards are Sunday night on MTV.
Ariana Grande, Lady Gaga and BTS are among the scheduled performers so why not create a playlist of some of their favorite songs or any of the other nominees?
For the record, Ari and Gaga lead those nominations.
Podcasts are still a thing, even if your commute right now is from one room to another.
Lately, I’ve been listening to “Once Upon A Time… In the Valley,” which examines the scandal that was Traci Lords.
For those who don’t know, Lords was an underage teen when she starred in some pretty popular porn films. When that fact came out, it threatened to blow up the adult entertainment industry.
Journalist Lili Anolik and “The Rialto Report” creator Ashley West are behind the series.
“First of all, the Traci Lords story is, fundamentally, a Hollywood story,” Anolik told Vanity Fair. “This is sex, glamour, scandal, crime, and the movies – just a different kind of movie.”
It’s noir at its finest.
One thing to talk about:
While I have constantly beat the drum about how awful 2020 is (my Instagram account is now pretty much memes about just that at this point), one gift has been all the recent cast reunions.
Hollywood knows you are feeling nostalgic while at the same time craving content.
Our critic Brian Lowry reported that the cast of “The West Wing” is reuniting for a cause.
They will film an episode for HBO Max to benefit Michelle Obama’s non partisan voter-participation organization When We All Vote.
HBO Max is owned by CNN’s parent company.
Of course, we still also have the “Friends” reunion to look forward to.
Email us some other reunions you’d like to see happen, not that we at all have the power to make it so, but just for fun.
Something to sip on
When Megan Thee Stallion first said weeks ago that she had been shot, there were plenty of doubters and some horrible things said to and about her on social media.
The rap artist, who is currently at the top of the charts with her single with fellow rapper Cardi B, has said she felt compelled to go public after all that’s been said.
She also explained that she had initially not been forthcoming with authorities because she was fearful of the violence against unarmed Black people that has happened at the hands of the police.
We live in a knee-jerk society now where folks are quick to “cancel” people on social media and even quicker to form opinions – sometimes without the full picture.
So much so, Thee Stallion felt compelled to share (though she later deleted) a photo of her gunshot wound as proof.
The tendency to not believe women goes beyond celebrity and often has a common theme of “Why are they saying something now?”
Some space needs to be made to allow people to process before they are willing to go public with any details.
And while it can sometimes feel harder to find sympathy for the rich and famous, trauma doesn’t care anything about your bank account.
Pop back here next Thursday for all the latest happenings that matter in Hollywood.