Some HGTV shows are very clear about where they are located. As two examples, Chip and Joanna Gaines are based in Waco and have built a local empire through Fixer Upper while House Hunters shows multiple shots of the local community and region.
But, other shows say less about their filming location. One such show is Love It or List It. While this is old news to regular viewers, this article discusses the switch in filming locations:
Like Renovation Island, Love It or List It actually began as a Canadian series, and filming took place in Ontario. Despite where it was shot, the home renovation series became a popular franchise on HGTV in the United States. As such, in 2014, after filming in Ontario for six years, hosts Hilary Farr and David Visentin, along with the crew, picked up and headed to North Carolina to start fresh in a new city…
And, if in doing so you find that you love the area as much as the homes being showcased, know that you can experience it for yourself by booking a trip to the Tar Heel state — specifically the Triangle and greater Raleigh-Durham area.
One could argue this does not matter: the real show involves Hilary, David, and the interior of individual properties. The show tends to provide a few aerial views of the properties in question and there might be some discussion of the location of the home in relation to workplaces or destinations. Does it matter if the homes are in Ontario or in North Carolina? Most of the action and filming takes place inside.
On the other hand, the community context matters a lot. Even if the show focuses on individual properties, the place matters for at least a few reasons:
- House architecture and style depends on what happens in particular places. The design of homes in North Carolina is quite different from Ontario. Different builders and developers operate in each place.
- Different logics apply in different places regarding where people want to locate. Do people in older Toronto and suburban neighborhoods see locations in the same way as Americans in sprawling contexts? Maybe, maybe not.
- What looks like normal life differs by place. In years of showing the same kinds of places on a TV show, do viewers accept it as how life works? Any TV show can project stability with consistent characters and story lines. But, see enough single-family homes in tree-lined neighborhoods only accessible by cars – and this is the primary dwelling on HGTV – and it can appear to be the default.
While not all HGTV shows ignore the community or region, I would be interested in more of their shows seriously incorporating place into their narratives about homes.