Arts Extreme Makeover: Home Edition’s Creepy Wish List
As anyone who’s seen an episode of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition can tell you, the show—hosted by charmless he-harpie Ty Pennington—is a no-holds-barred heartwarmer, with Pennington & Co descending upon the homes of down-on-their-luck families to deliver the “extreme makeover” promised by the title.
It’s all terribly sweet, and I confess to misting up a little the couple times I’ve seen it. (Let’s see you remain unmoved when a recently widowed father of eight is given a brand new home with bedrooms for each of the kids, a basketball court in the basement, and a shrine to the dead-from-six-types-of-cancer mother over the fireplace.)
But thanks to a casting agent’s e-mail sent by an ABC executive to network affiliates and published by The Smoking Gun, audiences have the opportunity to see the strings behind the heartwarming show, and it ain’t pretty. According to TSG, the March 10 correspondence was sent to network affiliates in the Southeast, who were asked to help scout prospective families for the series.
Included in the e-mail are suggestions for the kind of family tragedies and illnesses that best guarantee high ratings. Among the wishlist items are families that have suffered an in-home hate crime, families that have lost a child to drunk driving, parents with skin cancer, and two absolute doozies: a child suffering from Progeria, the rare condition that causes rapid aging in a child (“aka ‘little old man disease,’” the casting agent explains) and a child afflicted with a congenital inability to feel pain with anhidrosis. (“There are 17 known cases in US,” writes the casting agent. “Let me know if one is in your town!”)
Granted, I’m one of those viewers who is physically incapable of changing the channel whenever there’s a kid with either Progeria or a congential inability to feel pain on the screen. Still, it’s damn creepy to see it all in writing.
Full story (including the original e-mail) here.
(Updated at 10:32, for corrections mentioned in comments thread.)