Home Free

TV review by
Joyce Slaton, Common Sense Media
Home Free TV Poster Image
Home-reno reality competition has a philanthropic twist.

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The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

Unlike many reality shows in which most contestants go home empty-handed, each competitor here wins a very impressive prize through his or her hard work. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

All the contestants featured on this show are hardworking and deserving.

Violence & Scariness

Home projects carry with them the risk of injury, but no one here is seriously hurt. Contestants are exhausted by their work and break down and cry. 

Sexy Stuff

Contestants curse under pressure ("this caulking gun is the biggest piece of s--t"). "Damn" and "hell" are unbleeped; "f--k" and "s--t" are bleeped; expect mildly vulgar expressions ("they're right up your butt"). 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Home Free is a reality show about teams of two people working to renovate houses ostensibly to be given to families in need. The twist: The homes are actually for the contestants. They're under pressure and may bicker and express frustration by throwing tools to the ground. They curse at each other (and their tools). "Damn" and "hell" are heard; other four-letter words are bleeped. Host Holmes can be harsh in his criticisms; he doesn't suffer fools gladly and has high standards for the work done. Untrained contestants work with saws, on roofs, and in other dangerous conditions; no one is seriously injured. All competitors work hard and are motivated by helping other "deserving" families. 

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What's the story?

On reality show HOME FREE, nine couples are challenged to renovate one fixer-upper house every week. On each hour-long episode, teams of two pitch in to reconstruct falling-down abodes under the direction of noted contractor Mike Holmes (Holmes on Homes). Each week, the couple who does the sloppiest job on the renovation is eliminated. But there's a twist -- unbeknownst to the remaining competitors, the eliminated couples are given the houses they've just renovated. It's a lot of hard work -- but everyone wins in the end. 

Is it any good?

The sweet (but not saccharine) plot pivot of gifting a house to each couple makes this home renovation show a whole lot easier to watch, for kids and sensitive adults, than shows where contestants leave empty-handed. Watching them struggle to strip roof tile and screw down drywall has meaning when viewers know their hard work will pay off. Renovating a house sure looks like hard work -- contestants sweat and cry their way through tasks -- but watching a couple win a life-changing prize is a pleasure. Recommended for whole-family viewing, particularly for families who enjoy makeover, real estate, and reality shows. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about why there are so many shows centering on renovating homes. Which shows can you name? How is Home Free like or different from these shows? 

  • Why are contestants on this show not told they're renovating houses they will each win? 

  • Stranding competitors in a remote location and putting them into physical stress is a classic reality show gambit. Why? 

TV details

  • Premiere date: July 22, 2015
  • Cast: Mike Holmes
  • Network: Fox
  • Genre: Reality TV
  • TV rating: TV-PG
  • Last updated: March 13, 2020

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