Ever since we cut the cable the HGTV addict in the house has gone cold turkey (though I think similar can be found on the web). I never really thought about how wholesome the shows were, really. Virginia Postrel makes a good point, though:
On HGTV, optimism and love abound. Those qualities reflect the fundamental appeal of the network’s formula: It reverses entropy and celebrates home.
She also makes a good point about the shows showing real Americans (and Canadians) of all shapes and sizes (you know, real people) looking for homes in all shapes and sizes. And it’s about a hopeful future, often (re)built on something from the past:
Replacing corroded pipes and shoring up sagging foundations is as important to the drama as ripping out hideous wallpaper or installing new countertops. The makeovers aren’t merely cosmetic. Something deeper than fashion is at stake. On HGTV, decay isn’t a permanent condition, and anything can be repaired. Things get better.
Over time, HGTV has looked increasingly like just HTV, as the network focuses on the more emotionally resonant component of its identity: home. A house isn’t just an investment or even a place to live. It’s the embodiment of ideals — how we want to live and who we want to be.
You might call it the American Dream.