Enough With the Drama!
November 25, 2007

I love to watch home construction shows. Not the commercial-ness of something like Flip That House or whatever it's called, but something like Extreme Home Makeover where the house is torn down and re-built? Now that I love.

And, I'll admit, I enjoy seeing people who would otherwise fall through the cracks get a shot at something really cool. I mean, there was the woman who just kept taking in foster kids ... a family whose teenaged son became paralyzed ... a variety of different situations where families need healing as a family ... and some space and stuff as well. I mean, there was the girl who was UV "sensitive" ... she was essentially allergic to the sun. The show installed special windows so that natural light could come into the house without harming the little girl ... and they also set up some specially treated canvas in the backyard so that she could go out in the back without getting ill as well.

The family they're helping for the 100th family is equally deserving. The Swenson-Lee family is a blended family, but not blended in the way that you think. The Swensons have a girl, twins and another baby on the way.

The Lees were a mom, dad two girls and two boys. Then, Dad and the oldest girl were in a car wreck. The car rolled and all young Taylor remembers, is the vehicle rolling and then the ambulance trip. Her father was dead. At the age of twelve, her mom's ex-boyfriend became violent. Broke into the house and tried to kill her mother. Her mom did all the right legal things. Swore out the complaints. Had the restraining order filled out. Her new boyfriend stayed the night at their house because the ex was still threatening to harm her.

Taylor was afraid one night. She just had a bad feeling. So, she slept in her mom's room.

The ex-boyfriend came back. With a gun.

Twelve-year-old Taylor was in the room when her mother and her mother's boyfriend were shot and killed.

So, the Swenson family (the mothers were sisters) became the Swenson-Lee family.

It's a hell of a story. The kids are obviously traumatised. And the Swensons had never counted on being a family of ten people.

Enter Ty Pennington and Extreme Home Makeover. While the Swensons had a nice house, one that would have been big enough for their family of six ... but adding another four kids really cramped the house back up.

Now, one of the important things that this show does is to match the people with style they like. For the kids that usually involves a room that really reflects their interests and personalities ... skateboarding, France, etc. For a kid like Taylor who has had such a rough time, having something that is just hers is really important and will help her healing.

So the fact that the show exists ... the work that it does ... I like all of that.

But Ty Pennington scares me. That man has more personality than should be humanly possible. He's annoying and pushy and I think he must have some severe hearing loss cuz he is LOUD.

But even that is something I can live with.

What pisses me off is the artificial drama they try to create.

There was NO reason to take the two young boys and ask them ... after discussing how hard it is to have lost their parents ... if they could wish for one thing in the world, what would it be. Of course they teared up. Of course they said they'd wish their parents were alive again.

This story has enough tears in it. It's a natural drama. There is no reason to script additional tears just because.

I would rather see more of the designers deciding what they're doing ... what goes into deciding the floor plan ... how they build some of their nifty touches.

There's just no reason to force these people to relive their pain for ratings. If Extreme Home Makeover wants to do a good thing, then do a good thing. You're airing it, that's enough pats on your own back. There's no reason to tell the story over and over and over again to make sure that anyone strolling through the room whilst the show is airing knows how good Ty and ABC really are.

Enough with the artificial drama. It's unnecessary and hurts the families you purport to help.

As for the Swenson-Lee family? Like many of those chosen by the show, they're highly deserving. They've used this tragedy to try to bring more awareness to the problem of domestic violence. And, I suspect that they also requested that windows and doors and such that could be re-used be recycled to help other families which needed a little boost.

I'm happy for the Swenson-Lee family. They deserve some relaxed, peaceful and safe times. The fact that they are also trying to bring awareness to the problems of domestic violence only makes them even more special. Not everyone can turn tragedy into a cause to champion, much less such a good cause.

You see, there is a terrible balance to strike in the law when it comes to either domestic violence or child abuse. A cop can't arrest a person until after they've done something wrong. And, there are people who actually need to vent by saying stupid shit that they regret later. Not saying it's a good thing for them to do ... not saying that it's not terrifying to experience that. But mouthing off doesn't always equal action.

So, how do you know? How do you know when someone mouthing off is just mouthing off? How do you know when they actually mean it?

In terms of the law, it's impossible to tell. And, most police departments are not set to prevent crime ... they are there to investigate crimes which have already happened.

So for the Swenson-Lee family to work on creating awareness and to help their state begin looking at the laws ... it's a special story.

Posted by Red Monkey at November 25, 2007 9:02 PM | Struggles | | StumbleUpon Toolbar Stumble |


Taj said:

I'm with you on the Ty Pennington thing. He scares me too!

I also agree with you about the unnecessary drama. I always get annoyed when these shows wring out the emotions of people simply for the sake of better ratings.

November 26, 2007 4:31 AM


umauma said:

Thanks for bringing that story to everyones' attention. I don't have a TV and haven't had one for a long time. Radio news for 1 hour in the morning with the first coffee (Democracy Now with Amy Goodman) and then it's computer time for most of the day. So, I don't know the show but the story definitely needs to be out there. You write well!

November 27, 2007 12:49 AM
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