If you’ve heard of the show Survivor, there is a 95% chance you’ve also heard of Russell Hantz. He is the most popular cast member in recent seasons, and people either love his style, or completely hate him. He’s arrogant, rude, blunt, yet somehow puts those traits to his advantage whether he’s finishing second place on Survivor or flipping houses.
A&E decided to give him a shot with a new series called Flipped Off where he stars as a house flipper in the Houston area along with his brother Shawn Hantz* and real estate agent Kristen Bredehoeft. I was able to catch an episode yesterday, and I’m not really sure if I should be blogging about it on this site because it felt like I was watching a lame sitcom on NBC more than anything else. Is this show considered a reality show? Or is it a show mocking both house flipping and reality shows? I can’t figure it out.
* Shawn Hantz is also Brandon Hantz’ father, and has appeared on Survivor during family week
The only person to give the show some credibility is the real estate agent, Kristen Bredehoeft. She seems like a typical person you’d see on a show like this, reminiscent of Ginger from the other flipping show. She’s clearly the eye candy brought in to try and keep male viewers if and when Russell and Shawn’s acting gets old, which I feel it will very quickly. I’ll be creating a profile page for her, because I know guys will be interested to know more about her… so stay tuned for that.
I’m going to do a little recap of the episode I watched, and point out how silly most of it was…
- The auction- Deciding the best way to make money on a house is to buy it without ever stepping foot inside, Russell goes to an auction that only accepts cash. Very smart, especially considering he didn’t have the cash on hand, as it is “tied up” (ie: nonexistent). In order to make a move, he borrows money from his friend and “investor”, Boo, who happens to have the cash lying around. Naturally, Russell has to make a big show of it and hires a bodyguard to carry a briefcase holding the money. Speaking of that briefcase, a typical case that size can hold $700k-$1.5million depending on different reports. So here is what an x-ray scan would have shown…
- Cleaning up- Either this was completely staged or the Hantz brothers are in way over their head with what they’re doing. I’m no expert at demo, house repair or any of that. I sit on my ass and blog. That’s my thing. However, I know a few things, like when you’re doing demo, especially swinging a hammer around like a lunatic, wear goggles. In addition, taking out the refrigerator was probably one of the most over the top acting jobs I’ve seen on any TV show. The smell is awful, and the doors keep opening? What about a 50 cent mask from Lowes, and a roll of duct tape?
- The taco stand- This is when the show took a turn from strange to absolutely silly. It’s like something you’d see Kramer do on Seinfeld. “Hey Jerry, I have a brilliant idea for Kramerica Industries! While we work on the house, I’ll get in my trailer and make tacos and compete with McDonalds!” .. “But Kramer, how are you going to do that? It’s all houses around here” … “Jerry, don’t you see the big picture?? People will stop, eat a taco and run the streets yelling how great they are, then I’ll have a line around the block. It’s brilliant!!”
In addition to the things I broke down, you have strange things like the investor suddenly needing his money back a week early (shady), then Russell racing him for a week extension?!? Of course the script was written up for Russell to win, but I have a hard time believing he can just hop in a car and beat someone who appears to live on the track. Then you have the awkward bidding war for the floors, which just told me that if you buy a Russell Hantz house, understand it was done by the cheapest labor with no regards to quality.
Finally, the day of the open house, for some reason Shawn is obsessed with following around Kristen in nearly the same creepy way his son did to Mikayla on Survivor. Then he decides to randomly step in and close the sale because the supposed real estate agent can’t do it? Of course, on the first attempt on the first day in this economy, the team sold the house at the asking price of around $350k or so. However, we don’t actually get to see that part… once Shawn starts looking like a weirdo to the “customers”, the cameras turn off. The next scene they’re announcing the sale. Sure.
Needless to say, there are soap operas that are more believable than this show, but if you suspend your reality for a few moments, it’s not a terrible show. It’s like the train wreck of flipping houses, and it’s watchable almost to see how absurd it is. I’m not sure how long that will carry the series, but for now I’d definitely recommend watching an episode or two.