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Ever since I could work a television remote, I’ve been tuning in regularly to HGTV and all its home reno glory. When Fixer Upper came out, I knew right away it was on the fast track to being a hit show. They had all the right pieces: trendy farmhouse style, a big reveal at the end, and most importantly, a fun couple driving the whole ordeal. Still, right from the start, something about Chip and Joanna Gaines bothered me.
I don’t think Chip and Joanna are bad people. From everything I’ve seen or read about them, it seems like they are two genuine individuals. They’re kind to the filming crew, and have lots of friends and neighbors they regularly help. That doesn’t mean they can’t be annoying though. Just because you’re nice, you don’t get a pass for being judged on your lesser qualities. If anything, you should be under more scrutiny.
When you watch the show, Chip has this stupid little shtick going where he’s a combination of goofy and a big brute. Whenever I watch the show, I’m always possessed by this desire to bully him. I can’t really explain it, but he just seems like he deserves to be taken down a notch. Then, in comes Joanna, the no-nonsense boss lady who knows how to get things done. She’s a mom, owner of a company, a great cook, an entrepreneur, AND fashion forward. She has women from around the country eating out of her hand as they desperately try to be like her. Unlike Chip, I don’t want to be mean to Joanna, but given the opportunity, I would like to take away her dangly earring collection and tell her to cool it for a while.
Their family life feels incredibly staged, as I’m sure much of it is. To me, their kids seem to be subtly bratty. I know exactly what they’ll be like when they’re older since people like them were a dime a dozen at the private, Christian, Liberal Arts College I went to. I hate all the kids’ names, particularly the girls. Every time they mention Emmie-Kay my anger only grows stronger. Why do the girls need a hyphen? Why do all four of their names sound like a denim collection at Abercrombie & Fitch?
For those of you unfamiliar, the Gaines kids are not allowed to use cell phones or watch television. While I can see the benefits of this parenting style, I always felt like it was presented in a way that was meant to say, “We’re better than you.” They act like it’s so easy, but not every parent can afford acres of farmland filled with animals and dirt bikes for entertainment, or work a job when they can be around all the time to engage with their kids and take day trips.
But back to their actual profession.
I want to point out, that while Chip and Joanna are very talented individuals, what they do isn’t that exclusive. There are plenty of construction and design crews that flip houses to the same caliber. The only difference is they don’t have the notoriety. Whitewashing and Shiplap isn’t that groundbreaking, but HGTV has ensured that the Gaines name will be forever tied to it.
They’re riding out a dying trend. Just the other day, I read an article about how some of their Waco homes are now retailing at below original list price. I imagine this is only the beginning as more and more people catch on to the fact that what they’re getting is overpriced simply because of the Magnolia branding.
Every time I walk past the overpriced “Home & Hearth” Collection at Target, I make a conscious effort to not let myself get all worked up about it. I’m not going to convince the woman in Lululemon track pants buying 15 throw pillows that she’s supporting a needless cause. She will never join me in the hate club, and instead will go home and add to her Joanna Gaines inspired Pinterest board, like the little lemming she is.
I’m a little more bitter than I really should be, but I’ve been championing this cause on my own for far too long. I know there must be others like me out there. Chip and Joanna are phonies and so many of you have drunk the Fixer Upper Kool-Aid. If anyone out there can hear me and knows the truth, you are not alone..