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Series / Fixer Upper

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Fixer Upper is an HGTV show featuring Chip and Joanna Gaines of Waco, Texas, who own the local Magnolia Homes (a business dealing in both realty and home renovations). The Gaineses specialize in finding run-down homes in otherwise affluent neighborhoods and renovating them for clients who might not otherwise be able to afford other homes in said neighborhoods.

Each episode focuses on one client (usually a married couple, but a mother/daughter pair and at least two singles have also been featured), who for various reasons wishes to move. The Gaineses show the couple three homes in various conditions and explain what could potentially be done to each one given the couple's purchase and renovation budget. The couple then chooses a house and the crew immediately gets to work demolishing the inside of the house. The rest of the show alternates between actual work on the house, segments featuring the Gaineses in their day-to-day life, and meetings with the couple in which Chip and Joanna get the clients' input on additional touches to the house with any extra money left in their budget. Each episode ends, of course, with The Reveal of the family's newly renovated home.


The last original episode on HGTV appeared in 2018, though the show has continued in reruns. In 2020, Chip and Joanna announced the show would be revived on their new Magnolia Network cable channel, which will launch in 2021 as a replacement for the DIY Network.

This show provides examples of:

  • Big "OMG!": Of course.
  • Bizarrchitecture: One house pre-remodel featured two bathrooms separated by a doorway which could be opened to allow two people to hold hands while on the toilets.
  • Catchphrase: "Are you guys ready to see your Fixer Upper?" immediately before The Reveal.
  • Celebrity Edition: The show had a couple during its final HGTV season. One featured Chip and Joanna teaming with ex-NFL player Tim Tebow to remodel a house for a family with special-needs children; and the show finale featured a house being remodeled for Mike Hererra, frontman of the pop-punk band Mx Px.
  • Christmas Episode: The Gaineses convert a house from the 1880's that was previously passed up by another couple into a bed and breakfast.
    • Call-Back: As mentioned, this episode features a house passed up by a couple in an earlier episode, and is then called back itself on the season finale when the Gaineses renovate the adjacent house on the same property for the couple that will be running the bed and breakfast.
  • Commercial Break Cliffhanger:
    • The couple calls Chip and Jo to tell them that they've thought about the three houses, and have decided upon...
    • The couple opening their eyes to see a life-sized picture of what their house used to look like, before Chip and Jo pull it away to reveal the real thing after the commercial.
  • Every Episode Ending: The family is shown their new home inside and out. Generally this is followed by the family having a huge gathering at the house with their extended family and/or friends.
  • Family Business: Magnolia Homes, although they have non-family employees as well.
  • Advertisement:
  • Foreshadowing: Any time either the husband or wife says that they absolutely hate a house, that's the one they end up picking about 90 percent of the time.
  • Happily Married: Chip and Jo, natch. Most if not all of the couples purchasing the Fixer Uppers qualify as well.
  • I Was Quite a Looker: Chip is quite fond of saying this, even getting out his yearbook from his junior year in high school in one episode to prove it.
  • Malaproper: Chip. Some gems include "The Partheon", "one fair swoop", and the several-times-per-episode "you guys's".
  • Large Ham: Chip, pretty much any time he is on camera.
  • Mundane Object Amazement: Shiplap (a type of wooden wall structure common in older houses) gets this treatment when it is uncovered during demo. If it is not kept as-is, it is almost always repurposed into another object, such as a large kitchen island or table.
  • Rule of Three: Each couple is shown three homes initially, and later in the episode is given the choice of one of three possible upgrades to a portion of their house with any leftover funds.
    • Subverted on the rare occurrence that a client picks a house before all three are visited, as well as on the episodes featuring the bed and breakfast and the house adjacent to it.
  • Scary Stinging Swarm: At least two of the houses had to have active beehives removed from them during the renovation and relocated. On one occasion, the Gaineses left a jar of honey from one of the hives as a housewarming gift for that episode's clients.
  • Spiritual Successor: Those who may be missing new episodes would probably like "Home Town," which began production in 2018 with a very similar format.
  • Strictly Formula: The show usually goes as such, with scenes from the Gaineses' personal lives scattered throughout:
    • Chip and Joanna are seen doing some activity with their children, and tell them they have to leave to go show a couple a house.
    • The couple is shown driving to the first house and discussing their budget and what kind of house they are looking for.
    • Chip and Joanna show them each of three houses, followed by the couple making their decision.
    • Demo Day!
    • Inevitably they find one major setback in the house during the remodel, and have to call the couple to get their approval to fix it.
    • The couple visits the Gaineses at their office, store or home, where Joanna shows them on a computer what their house will look like, and then gives them one of three options they can pick out with any funds left over.
    • Joanna puts the finishing touches on the home, which is revealed to the couple immediately following the final commercial break.
    • The family is shown their new home, with the parting shot of the extended family gathered at the house (see Every Episode Ending above).
  • Trailers Always Spoil: The show begins with a Cold Open with Chip and/or Jo cracking a joke or in an interview outtake, followed by a clip of the demolition. A savvy viewer who pays attention while they are touring the three houses can usually tell which one's going to get picked (although they have changed the open up in later seasons to make this less obvious).
  • Trash the Set: "Demo Day", the first step to the renovation (as is common to any major remodel).
  • The Un-Reveal: Before the commercial break leading to the actual reveal, the couple is placed in front of a life-sized wall displaying the house as it looked before renovation.
    • One episode featured a couple that wanted a large plot of land in the country. The very first stop is a plot of land with no house. The plot did have a horse barn out of immediate view that had been partially converted to contain a loft apartment; the couple picks it and the barn is completely gutted inside and out to create an actual home with almost three times the living space as the original apartment.


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