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The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Extreme Makeover: Home Edition is an emotionally intense reality show featuring families with special needs whose lives are completely changed when the crew's bus rolls into town. The series' messages about community and helping others are strong enough that its occasional detours into the land of materialism can be forgiven.
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What's the story?
After his successful stint on Trading Spaces, Ty Pennington, the enigmatic team leader of EXTREME MAKEOVER: HOME EDITION, has become a virtual rock star of home redesign. His good looks, can-do attitude, and rather easygoing demeanor make him the perfect person to get the impossible job done -- and impossible it seems. Every week, thousands of families send tapes to the show's producers, pleading their case as to why their family needs a home remodel. The crew reviews the tapes, finding one that really touches them, and then they take action. When the crew's bus rolls into town, the entire neighborhood rallies around the project and a remodeling task is undertaken and completed in one week's time. The family is taken to a hotel for the time being, with no idea how their house will look when they return.
Is it any good?
To demolish, disinfect, uproot, restructure, and decorate a home is a task that usually takes months, so the fact that this crew can do it in less than a week is unbelievable. What drives them to succeed, apparently, is the belief that they are doing something good for the people who need the remodel. And consequently the viewer often hears the reference to the good deed, which can be a little bit of a bore.
At best, this show raises awareness about people who truly struggle from day to day. (Many times these families have special needs -- like a child who is deathly allergic to molds living in a mold-infested house, for example.) But at worst, this series emphasizes the materialistic nature of our society -- that the glamour and gloss that big money can buy makes everything all right. Still, for a reality show, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition makes for interesting, dramatic viewing.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the makeover process and compare life before and after the Extreme Makeover: Home Edition crew leaves.
Was the community coming together for the family in need before the cameras began rolling? What kinds of changes will these people's lives undergo when all is said and done?
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