ABC Reality Show where a group of people build (or rather get other people to build for them) a Big Fancy House for the poor, downtrodden family of the week. Frequently features former Trading Spaces carpenter Ty Pennington; later seasons frequently include various celebrities in the design teams.
The story behind this one: ABC had a series called Extreme Makeover which was about improving people's looks through plastic surgery. Someone decided to make a spinoff — technically, what this show is supposed to be doing is like plastic surgery, only to houses. As it happens, while drastically making over a person is a little challenging even among the mainstream note , drastically rebuilding a house for deserving people is definitely feel-good programming, besides offering ample opportunities for Product Placement — and the show always tries to make sure that those who are having their houses rebuilt appear deserving. Thus, while the original Extreme Makeover only lasted four seasons, this ran for nine. In December 2011, however, it was announced that the show would end in January 2012 after nine successful seasons. The series has been resurrected for special episodes, including a Christmas Special in December 2012.
During its original nine-season run, the show completed a total of 203 single family homes, as well as two schools, a Wilmington, Delaware duplex, and a Colorado duplex for homeless families. They keep a time limit of a week, but there seems to be no expense spared. (There are willing donors.)
In 2019, HGTV announced that they would be reviving the show, in addition to broadcasting reruns of 100 of the original episodes. The revival premiered on February 16, 2020.
This show provides examples of:
- The Alleged House: Depending on the episode, some of the pre-makeover homes fall somewhere in this category (which, considering the nature of the show, goes without saying). Typically, aversions occur where the house may be functional but simply isn't large enough for the family's size and/or does not sufficiently meet their needs or is a unique situation (such as a house that isn't wheelchair-friendly to a family that needs one), but in particularly extreme cases, some of the families were living out of their garages or in a shack. Other less extreme cases were houses falling apart and lacking basic utilities like electricity or plumbing.
- Amazing Freaking Grace: On the final night of the Teas family build, a camper at Camp Barnabas thanked the volunteers and sang this song.
- Artifact Title: It has been much more successful than Extreme Makeover, outlasting it by five years, yet the spinoff-style title was never changed.
- Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: Ty Pennington actually has it, which may explain the overwhelming enthusiasm he shows for everything.
- Badass in Distress: Recipients of home builds include many families with connections to the United States military.
- Big "OMG!": Quite a few of them, especially once the family sees their new house. Even once they go inside, there tends to be a lot of shouting.
- Bridal Carry: Sometimes Ty helps children with disabilities and their parents by performing this carry.
- Catchphrase: A few.
- "Goooooooood morning, [name] family!" [Family members] Wake up and come on out!
- And, of course, "Bus driver! Move! That! Bus!"
- "Oh my God/Oh my gosh!" heard from the families' mouths when seeing a new house and its rooms for the first time.
- "So here's the thing..."
- "There's only one thing left to say. Welcome Home [family's name] family, welcome home."
- Catch-22 Dilemma: People who received homes were usually poor, meaning that later on, they would be likely to take out loans using their new home for collateral. If they couldn't repay the loans, the bank would foreclose on their home, landing them in the same situation as before. The growing number of cases where that exact scenario played out like clockwork was probably at least partially responsible for the show's cancellation.
- Celebrity Edition: The 2009-10 season.
- Muppet Cameo: The celebrities in the first 2010 episode.
- Elmo showed up in an episode when Tracy Hutson was still pregnant. In fact, Tracy's unborn child actually kicked Elmo when he put his ear to her stomach.
- Kermit took over as team leader for Ty twice, once when he had appendicitis and once when he was helping build homes for people who lost their homes to Hurricane Katrina.
- Muppet Cameo: The celebrities in the first 2010 episode.
- Celebrity Star: Rapper Xzibit was on the design team for about a year.
- Commercial Break Cliffhanger: It's very common for individual family members or the entire families to cross the threshold into a new room, or, in the case of an entire family, the great room of their new house, only for the image of their elated faces to dissolve into the show's title card and then cut to commercial.
- Cool House: The whole point of the show.
- Early Installment Weirdness: Season one, when the show was still finding its niche, is a bit different from the latter seasons. The first total demolition didn't happen until episode fourteen, and early episodes emphasized the struggle of building a house in a week's time, while later seasons don't place as much emphasis on that being problem, seeing as how they'd built up enough good karma to have hundreds of volunteers to help them every time. "Bus Driver, move that bus!" wasn't established as a catch phrase yet during the first season. Also, the first build outside California didn't take place until during the second.
- Enforced Plug: For Sears, Disney, and, apparently in later seasons, other Mouse shows and acts.
- Fanservice: One episode involved the designers having to work on a very hot summer day. Ty and the others took a break at one point to jump into a pool, but not before disrobing a bit. Ty and Paul went shirtless, while Tracy Hutson took her pants off.
- Freeze-Frame Bonus: Jacob Grys was one of a handful of house recipients with Osteogenesis Imperfecta; as he examines his new bedroom, a cast can be seen on his left arm, meaning that he presumably broke it sometime during the week.
- Brooke Akers had a High School Musical pillow on her bed before her house was even demolished.
- Genre Blindness: A Double Subversion. The Craft family included a little boy named Todd, who was only seventeen months old when his family's new house was built. Paige asked Kermit the Frog, who was working with the design team in Ty's place, to ask little Todd what he wanted for his new bedroom. Kermit said that after years of working with children, he speaks toddler. However, in the footage of their meeting, Kermit makes the big mistake of walking right up to Todd, who did what nearly every child under the age of two who was ever on Sesame Street did when in close Muppet proximity: he grabbed at right where Kermit's nose would be, and in this case he got subjected to some pretty rough handling. Kermit suggested Todd might have gotten some coaching from his dad, who coached some of the local high school sports teams.Kermit: *Shaking* I think you'd be safe with anything that has to do with contact sports.
Paige: Well, thank you!
Kermit: Excuse me while I... faint! *Keels over*
Paige: Kermit? Kermit?
- The Glomp: The design team will often get this from the more energetic and outgoing families.
- Gondor Calls for Aid: Most of the volunteers for the builds are the neighbors of the families receiving houses. The application for the show asks what kind of relationship applicant families have with their neighbors, presumably to ensure that there will be volunteers to speak of.
- Ed and Paul were both carpenters on the design team, so they would apparently work on alternating builds for the most part, but Paul met up with the design team on site and filled in for Ed twice: once when he was hurt and another time while he served as the tour guide for the Hughes family's trip to London. On another occasion, Ed got hurt while making a decoration for one family's house, and a couple of volunteers finished it for him while he was in the hospital.
- Happily Ever After: Following the events of the Walswick family episode in season one, designer Constance Ramos fell in love with and married J.J. Carell, the Walswick family friend who nominated them for the show and helped build their house.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Amy Hawkins, whose family received a house in season 4, shielded her children during a tornado, saving their lives. However, she suffered punctures in both lungs and broke her back, becoming a paraplegic in the process.
- Anaiah Rucker saved younger sister Camry from an oncoming truck, but ended up needing a leg amputation because of it.
- Home and Garden: Up to Eleven.
- Later Installment Weirdness: In the last couple seasons, families receiving homes would be introduced to the contractors building a new house for them before leaving for their vacation.
- ABC's community service website, ABetterCommunity.com, must have shut down later in the show, because in later episodes, members of the design team instead feature in bumpers plugging the network's main website, even though the show already routinely featured the narrator making a similar plug featuring the show's title card near the end of each episode.
- Littlest Cancer Patient: Most episodes feature either this or a family member with a severe disability. However, some episodes feature people who have worked hard to help others or otherwise sacrificed a lot to help others.
- The Stott family. The mother had leukemia and was saved by a bone marrow donation from a guy who helped with the project.
- The Okvath family in Season 2. Their eight-year-old daughter Kassandra was dealing with cancer, and had sent a video to the design team requesting that they help redecorate the interior of the pediatric hospital which had helped treat her cancer. They set her up with a redecorating team for the hospital and left her and her family to take charge of that project, then doubled-back to rebuild her family's home as well.
- Melodrama: The opening before every family gets their new house frequently plays up how bad their house is, while also emphasizing the family's good qualities.
- Men Don't Cry: Averted.
- If one of the guys on the Build Team isn't crying or teary-eyed, you're watching the wrong show.
- Lampshaded in one of the show's commercials on CMT (which ran reruns for quite some time). The announcer comments that "You won't wanna cry... but you're gonna cry!" while showing a montage of clips of different men weeping copiously.
- Monochrome Casting: The show often features very white construction crews. If you are used to seeing mostly, if not only, non-white construction workers in Real Life, this looks very odd.
- Moral Guardians: Averted. Most family organizations loved the show; the Parents Television Council, for one, absolutely adored it. In fact, they loved it so much that they gave it their Seal of Approval and named it the best show on television for the vast majority of its run.
- Nice Guy: All the families, as well as the people who volunteer to help build the houses. The design team members usually count; Ty Pennington always counts.
- No Indoor Voice: Ty is a very high-energy individual with a tendency to yell, especially when he has something exciting to share or he wants everyone to work faster.
- Number Two: Paul Dimeo was by far the most consistent presence on the original design team after Ty himself, taking part in multiple builds during all nine seasons of the original show, including one where the design team had to start without Ty (the Harper family) and another where he was altogether absent the Craft family). In each case, the duty of playing the recipient family's application video was left to Paul, and he was the one to tell the Craft family to check out the rest of their house in Ty's place.
- Oh, Crap!: After making some progress on the Burns family build, the design team realized Ben would have to travel quite a long distance to get from his room to that of his parents, not the best thing for someone with osteogenesis imperfecta (a.k.a. brittle bone disease). To compensate for this lack of foresight, they decided to incorporate construction of a hatch which would make things easier on Ben by giving him immediate access to the living room.
- Once an Episode: In addition to all the things listed in Strictly Formula, Ty will always work on a secret project in every episode, usually in which he tailor-makes a specific room of the home with his own personal touch.
- One of the Kids: Ty; Ed, when he's with the team.
- Product Placement: Lots of it, mostly for Sears, which was one of the show's largest sponsors.
- Punny Name: One of the building companies is called Holmes' Homes.
- Race Against the Clock: The team has seven days to construct a new house. Typically, the house itself was constructed in 4-4 1/2 days, with one build in Michigan (the Vardon house) completed in 56 hours, 54 minutes. There was one build in Washington state which could not be completed in time due to an issue involving mold contamination in the old house.
- Reality Show Genre Blindness: Some families who appear on the show demonstrate this when they (over)react to their new house.
- It Makes Sense in Context, considering that several of the families lived in giant rat holes. Even though the families were encouraged by the producers to overplay their reactions, a lot of it is genuine happiness.
- Rule of Pool: The design team may install a pool for a family who's never had one if there is a therapeutic reason to do so.
- Shrine to the Fallen: Families with a predeceased member will have memorials built into their new house.
- Side Bet: In a first-season episode, Constance and Tracy took on Paul and Michael in a boys-versus-girls competition to build the best room. The losers were to make dinner for the winners. It was amusing until they started sabotaging each other's rooms, endangering the timeline of the entire makeover. Ty was not pleased.
- Spin-Off: Though technically far closer to the original Extreme Makeover, Extreme Makeover Weight Loss Edition was spun off due to the success of Home Edition. Basically, though, that one is Extreme Makeover meets The Biggest Loser. The third season re-named it to just Extreme Weight Loss
- Spiritual Successor: Game of Homes on Discovery Family.
- Strictly Formula: The show usually goes as such:
- Ty and the crew are in the bus watching the family's story. One or many or all the children or members of the family have some chronic disease or something else, the family may or may not be working for the good of the community but all of them lives in a crappy house or the house has been destroyed. Move often than not, there will be crying involved.
- "GOOD MORNING [family name])!!!" (though they have tried to shake it up by simply surprising them at an event)
- We hear more of the family's story and then, they send the family to Disney World or some other vacation spot.
- With the family in [vacation place], a massive horde of people comes to the ramshackle house just so the family can see them and Ty commentating the destruction of the house, to the wishes of the family.
- Horde of people builds the house, Ty and the crew does some challenges.
- They bring back the family.
- "Bus driver, MOVE THAT BUS!"
- [reactions of the family as they tour the house]
- Ty ends every episode by welcoming the family home. And everyone lived happily ever after.
- Tempting Fate: When Ty asked the Teas family what they should do with their old house, the mother replied, "You could burn it." So they did.
- Title Confusion: Also unofficially known as Extreme Home Makeover and referred to as such by some fans and media, and even by ABC affiliates themselves when promoting the show.
- Tranquil Fury: Ty, following the Side Bet incident listed above. He called off the bet, said he was buying everyone pizza, and pointed out that they could eat a slice with one hand while painting with the other. His demeanor was still relatively jovial, but his eyes and his tone (which was a bit less perky than usual) made it clear that he was very displeased with his designers' antics.
- You Can't Handle the Parody: After the design team emptied out the old Dickinson house in season 8, Paul said he just wanted "to know the truth about demo", to which Ty replied "You can't handle the truth!"
- Your Princess Is in Another Castle!: The Vardon house was actually finished early, allowing the design team to spend the extra time perfecting their work. However, for a few hours, they had nothing to do but wait around for furniture.
Waldorf: Well, that show was really something!
Statler: Yeah! Not bad for a host with lots of gusto!