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Extreme Community

What makes a house a home?

What makes a house a home? The roof overhead? The people who reside there? The comfort and attractiveness of its furnishings?

These questions are answered more thoroughly than one might expect by ABC-TV’s feel-good reality show, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, now in its second season. The show’s premise is to bring in several telegenic designers (backed up by 100 or more laborers) to completely renovate a "deserving" family’s dilapidated, damaged, tiny, and/or otherwise substandard housing in seven days.

This is wholesome fare - notable since the show is produced by a wing of Endemol, the same megatransnational that created the original Big Brother and Fear Factor creep fests. But Makeover is a Glenda the Good Witch cousin to those reality concepts. No one is voted out of the house or humiliated in order for someone to "win." The only thing that might cause nausea is host Ty Pennington’s loud, zany, surfer-dude shtick; he’s cute but cloying, and one of these days I suspect someone will lose it and attack him with a nail gun. Otherwise, aside from their blinding whitened teeth, the designers are surprisingly genuine.

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Sojourners Magazine January 2005
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