My First Place: Fact or Fiction?
If you watched our episode debut Sunday on HGTV you may be wanting to know just how much of it really happened and what was scripted. In all fairness, there's no way you can accurately sum up a first time home buyer's experience in a 30 minute television show and I understand the network's reasoning for doing some of the things they had to do. With that being said there was definitely a skewed portrayal of what really went down...
First and foremost, the hardest part of the whole thing was going on the show and having to say negative things about someone's home. Some of the houses we looked at weren't right for us but it doesn't mean they weren't right for someone else. For example, we toured one house where the kitchen was next to the laundry room and I made a comment about "our clothes smelling like grease." What? That doesn't even make sense or accurately reflect how I felt about that, I think these soundbites are just added for extra affect. I also felt horribly when the comment about all of the kitchens and bathrooms looking like they were built in "1973 or something" was made. Some of the kitchens and bathrooms needed updating but I didn't think they were as bad as we had to make them out to be. On top of all of that the owners graciously gave up their home for most of the day so we could film there and we really didn't want to say anything negative about their house.
Believe it or not, we were not concerned with finding a home that would be close to the Navy Stadium for tailgates, had large closets for my shoe "collection" or in Admiral Heights in general. Don't get me wrong, Admiral Heights is a lovely community and a place where we could definitely be happy to live but it wasn't a must have neighborhood that the show made it out to be. HGTV loved the military aspect and wanted that to be a huge part of our story so they really scripted that whole we want to live in Admiral Heights part "we wouldn't need a designated driver" or "I can practically see our stadium seats from this house" isn't how we felt...at all. We knew what our budget was and we were only comfortable spending so much money therefore our wish list was small, we wanted 3 to 4 bedrooms, a basement or a garage and a fence if we were really lucky! That was it, we knew the challenges we'd face with trying to find a single family home in Annapolis with a small budget and we were open minded to any neighborhood, not just Admiral Heights. I think the part of the show that bothered me the most was that Matthew appeared to be the one making all of the decisions about the home buying process and I'm just over here making comments about shoe closets. In reality, Matthew and I were a team and we made decisions together that we felt made the most sense.
You also may have noticed that throughout the show we wore solid and bright colors. We were given a strict dress code which was difficult to follow, especially because they didn't want you to accessorize and really preferred very basic outfits. It was difficult to find so many brightly colored shirts that didn't have a pattern on them-and then to not be allowed to add a necklace or something (I did sneak one in for a scene though). Some days we would shoot multiple scenes and just have a change of clothes that we could quickly throw on so it would look like it was a different day. I felt like I was running out of clothes, one day I was completely ill prepared when I found out last minute we needed three outfit changes! I quickly rummaged through my closet in desperate search of anything that was brightly colored without a pattern! That was hard! Especially, since we filmed during winter where the majority of your closet contains darker colored clothes! And we couldn't wear black clothes, my favorite! They're so slimming which is great, especially since the camera definitely makes you look bigger than you are...or maybe we're just fat, ha!
All and all, I think this was an exciting opportunity and it gave us more of an insight as to how these "reality" shows are created. It's definitely weird watching yourself on television and over analyzing the comments you make...comments that may or may not have been scripted. I've been asked by a few people if we would do it again and I'm not really sure, Matthew on the other hand says yes, as long as we're paid, ha! It was a huge undertaking, months and months of filming (since we pretty much only filmed on the weekends) and it was definitely more work than we imagined! We have a newfound appreciation for the entertainment industry...although it sure would have been nice to have a hair dresser, makeup artist and someone to pick out our wardrobe on set :)
What did you all think about our show?