An Extreme Sunday Edition

Have you heard?  Things are extreme here in northeast Iowa…extremely crazy.  Last Sunday Extreme Makeover Home Edition rolled in to give a family a new home.  The family lives just 17 miles from our house.  I’ve managed to stay out of the fray and just listened to all the talk and hoop-la.

I don’t want to fluff a lot of feathers or make anyone angry but, I am not a fan of the show.  At this point I think I am the minority…at least in the three county area.  The building of the house is all anyone talks about.


I personally don’t know that family but our daughter Kelli does.  She gave the mom a ride to college for awhile.  She had one of kids as a student while she did her student teaching.  Is the family deserving of help yes!  Definitely!  I am all for helping the family…but I am not for the extreme part.

I volunteer on a regular basis at church.  I volunteer in the community.  We are ALWAYS looking for more help.  We beg for people to serve on a committee.   Can we get people…NO.  No one will volunteer.  No one will help.  Now in come the cameras and the television show crew and every person comes crawling out of the woodwork to help this family.  They had more volunteers than jobs for the volunteers to do.  Why does a television camera promote people to be more helpful?

If the television show took the EXTREME part of the show out of it and simply helped a family, just think of how many more houses they could build.  Most families who are being helped could happily exist in a new home that had simple modifications to meet that family’s unique needs.  With the money that was spent on that one home, they could have easily build four modest homes…and four families could have been helped.

Another hard thing to consider is this…The family who was helped will probably be paying taxes on their new home that equals the same amount that they were previously paying on a mortgage.

I don’t want to be a downer…and honest, I am so happy for this family.  They needed an update and a hand up.  I am just super sad for all the families that end up missing out because we have become a society that thrives on EXTREMES.

All this EXTREMENESS really makes me appreciate the simple things…for more things simple, head on over to The Prairie Homestead for the latest edition of Barn Hop.

30 thoughts on “An Extreme Sunday Edition”

  1. Well, welcome to the minority club. I have only seen the show about three times, and share your opinion. The people who receive the help are always deserving, but the “extreme” part often gives them another burden to deal with. More modest homes (for the price of one extreme home) would make more sense, but would do little for ratings I am afraid.

    Love your blog. :)

  2. I am in your club too…. lol. I agree that we are always begging people to volunteer, it always seems to be the same few. And you are right about their taxes and costs on the house, they never “advertise” how many people have lost their extreme house….

  3. Jo I could not agree with you more! I have been saying the same thing for a long time. As a person who works with mentally and physically challenged individuals as well as elderly what people need is help to have a safe and healthy environment One that is equipped with their current needs as well as ones that will be a reality in the coming future. We set people up when we increase their bills and their consumerism.

  4. I enjoy watching the show and helped out for a build in our area. However, I now know the behind the scenes stuff and that bugs the heck out of me. The “stars” of the show don’t do any work at all!! They are nowhere to be found until shooting time, roll in like gang-busters, film, and head back to the trailers. It is all hype. The volunteers do all the work and do a super job. I have nothing good to say about the show. I just like to see how places get decorated. (The house we did seemed quite u.g.l.y. to me! LOL!!)

  5. Very good points… I had never thought about this show in particular but often think about the bigger picture of our economy/moral values & the excess consumerism. Perhaps your local station of the same network could get your question answered…why not help more people?

  6. Pat C in Washingon

    Coming from a background in mortgage banking, I’ve always worried that the houses are turned into a HUGE over-improvement for the area. They are just way out of character to the rest of the neighborhood. If and when the family wants to/needs to sell, the appraiser is going to have an impossible time trying to find comparable sales because there just won’t be any comparable properties and establishing the market value for the property is going to be a real challenge. If the family stays there, the house has been increased so much in value that the property taxes have probably gone way up, and how is the family going to afford that? Maybe I’m being too negative and only thinking of the bad things.

  7. Jo, (and others that commented) thanks for writing about this because I agree and I seem to be in the minority among my friends. I wonder how the families helped in past shows are doing paying the higher property taxes on their new homes when they couldn’t afford improvements to the prior home they owned.

  8. I think the minority club is bigger than you imagine. Neither my sister not I care for that show. Not only is the money used frivolously but all that guy can seem to do is yell. I also agree about the volunteer deal. Seems like no one wants to help people unless they get “famous”.

  9. I heard that a lot of the people have lost the homes due to not paying taxes , or other reasons ; not sure . All of them are deserving but they overdo it . And now reading these posts make it even more annoying to me ; especially the post from Joyce ! oh well ; people need entertainment and fame before they help folks out I guess . I just always remember the scripture about NOT collecting your jewels for your crown on earth and just do things for folks and stay quiet about it !

  10. Oh I totally agree with you on this one. Those houses are over the top, they can’t possibly be well built in 7 days and they are usually more than the family can keep up and pay taxes on. It is completely ridiculous. Yes, help them if that is what your aim is, but that kind of house will NOT turn out to be a HELP in the end, it will be more of a drain than the run down house they were living in. Totally with you on this.

  11. I, too agree. As you said the families are deserving but why not make a house to fit their needs not a super house. They go so far over the top and then leave the family to deal with the issues later. And the excessiveness of EVERYTHING, from the kid’s rooms to the family areas is sickening.

  12. I agree and I do not watch it. I always wonder how they are able to clean all of the extemeness that is built in, pay the mortgage, taxes, upkeep, etc.

  13. I thought I was the only one who thought this way! So glad to see I’m not. Extreme is well…..too extreme! Lets help as many people as we can!

  14. You have put into print, exactly what I have been saying as long as the show has been on TV. Plus the fact that most of these families will never be able to pay the yearly house taxes and insurance. Wbat are they thinking? I would rather them, as you say, help 4 other families to a lesser degree.

  15. My company often donates materials to Extreme Home Makeover in exchange for promotional consideration – a great way to get our brand in front of millions of people. I think that it would be more difficult to get companies to donate – as we have SO many requests – without the incentive of viewership, and “extreme” gets viewership. As it is, we also donate plenty to Habitat for Humanity but that gets no promotional consideration. I think that shows like this have a purpose in the “pay it forward” category – it is heartwarming to see people doing good for those in need, and hopefully they will go out in the community and participate in a Habitat for Humanity build or a church initiative or something that helps others. Along the same lines, I don’t support the “extreme” weight loss angle of The Biggest Loser, or the “extreme” lifestyles of the couponers or Survivor, but maybe it motivates people to go walk for exercise, or to clip a few coupons to save money, or to get out in the great outdoors for a simple camping trip. Remember, you have millions of children growing up in a world where they are having more of an example set for them on television than at home, and shows like this may introduce them to charity work or something else they have previously had no exposure to.

  16. I agree with you Jo. I frankly get a little peaved when I see how over the top they make these homes. Help more people out. What is donated for an “extreme” house is so over the top and costly that frankly I am tired of paying for these donated items by the “donor” company raising the prices on their merchandise to cover the cost of this “donation.” Just make it a usable everyday item and one that doesn’t raise the needy family’s real estate tax bracket through the roof. We are all having tough times and have to make due with what we can afford. I also do not watch the show. Let’s feature a show about “local” (not celebrity) kids and adults who are volunteering in communities. I bet those celebrities in extreme makeover are not volunteering their time.

  17. Whether or not this show inspires someone to go out & actually do unglamorous, often challenging, volunteer work for those in need, remains to be seen, though I doubt it. I have always had the same profound concerns as have been mentioned here repeatedly: how does a widowed third grade teacher with 3 or 4 kids still at home *afford* taxes & insurance on these mega-homes??
    Tyler (the host) is very annoying, & it strikes me as extremely inauthentic to bring up someone’s deepest pain so that they can cry while the camera is on, & it’s all about the show. NOT the person.
    Also, the family has to pay taxes on the trip the send them on.
    I do not like this show at all.

  18. I agree with you too, Jo… often wonder how they will handle all the extra bills and maintain “extreme” things in the years to come?

  19. Jo, That is why I quit watching the show. They are helping families that do need the help, great I am so for that. But then they leave them with a huge tax burden and larger utility bills that we all know that they can’t afford or they wouldn’t have been in the position that they are in. I wish that one family would say thank you for all your help but please don’t build me anything grand, just help more families with the left over money.

  20. Amy E. Bevilockway

    Jo – I too have felt exactly the same way! I loved watching the show for the first couple of years, but the extreme homes seemed so much of an excess. Sometimes people just can’t bring themselves to volunteer because they may feel inadequate. I just hope I make it a point to help when & however I can. Keep up the good work everyone.

  21. Amen, sister. Why not spread the wealth to a few more deserving families and scale back on the extreme that is given to only one family?

  22. I totally agree with your assessment here and am so thankful for my simple life.
    I have seen where a good many of these people who receive the houses end up losing them because they can’t afford the taxes of expenses of keeping up such an extreme home.

  23. I wonder if the reason these homeowners end up in trouble is because they are not thinking ahead under normal circumstances. Surely, they must realize this event of Extreme xxx, is going to end up costing $$$? in unexpected ways. If you cannot afford to keep up a house whose value is for example, $100,000, how are you going to keep it updated if it’s worth $150,000??? I remember my folks talking about the perils of the Depression and ya know, we could be facing those days again.

    I’m in the same minority bucket as well. I don’t watch the show either.

  24. Incidentally, I had to come back to this post and the comments since my boyfriend is on site with Extreme Makeover Home Edition right now, in Joplin, Missouri. They are building seven houses to replace some of those destroyed by tornados five months ago. Last year he was on site in Baltimore as they built a house for underprivileged children. I’m not sure what shows/episodes you watch where they take a perfectly good family or house and then make it something that no one can afford, but these are situations in which they have NOTHING but land and need something to live in. I know from volunteering with Habitat for Humanity that there are requirements that those who get homes a) volunteer for other Habitat projects and b) I think that they actually lease to own so that they can’t just turn around, sell it, and walk off with a profit in their pocket; I don’t know what the rules are for EM:HE but I am sure there are lots and lots of pages of contractual language to be reviewed and signed that isn’t made public. I don’t think any of us would undertake a major financial decision like buying or building a house without conferring with several financial professionals about the longterm ramifications of it, including tax implications, but there are people who foolishly do. I was reading of home recipients who went under due to failure to do this type of due diligence or who used their homes to secure loans for businesses which then failed, so are they undeserving because hindsight shows that they are poor planners? The Wikipedia site for the show lists a lot of the criticism the show has received, including people who have sold their homes and moved because of overwhelming criticism from townspeople that they “didn’t deserve” what they got. How horrible to be the focus of a witch hunt of jealous, judgemental neighbors.

    I’m not saying that churches and communities shouldn’t come together and help their fellow residents in need. And I personally find the show’s format annoying with the heavy reliance on the backstory and the pampering the recipients seem to get while they tell their sob stories, and I have to fast forward through most of it on the DVR when I’m watching shows our company is involved with. But I am a little perturbed, given the work that takes my boyfriend away from me this week, that there is such an overwhelming voice to criticize and cancel a show which is ultimately trying to do good.

    Incidentally, we don’t raise the consumer’s prices on our products to cover these donations. This is a budgeted item for marketing expense, just as if we spent it on magazine advertising or billboard placement, neither of which we do. I have never heard of anyone opposed to patronizing a business which donates to charitable purposes on the grounds that it raised consumer prices on the products until reading these comments and frankly, that amazes me. My boyfriend is right now texting me photos of the build sites which still look like the tornado swept through YESTERDAY. To think that these hardworking people who were able to afford the original homes that stood there shouldn’t have anything because of Mother Nature is to me a little selfish and shortsighted and I’m glad that they have something more than a halfhearted bake sale in front of the Piggly Wiggly to help them out.

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