'Extreme Makeover': Offensive Edition!

From the ”So appalling there’s no way we could be making this up” file comes a must-read Smoking Gun story about a casting memo from the producers of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. Seems they’re looking to up the show’s tear-jerkiness by seeking out families who’ve experienced even more horrific heartbreak than previous beneficiaries of Ty Pennington’s carpentry skills and Extreme Sculpted Torsoâ„¢. Following are a list of ABC’s casting requirements, and PopWatch’s helpful followup questions:

Seeking: ”Amazing/loved Mom or Dad diagnosed w/ melanoma/skin cancer.” (I take it that leukemia and breast cancer are so five minutes ago?)

Seeking: ”Home invasion — family robbed, house messed up (vandalized) — kids fear safety in their home now.” (I know a family who’d be perfect for this segment, if only we could get the kids to start experiencing night terrors again.)

Seeking: ”MADD/Drunk Driving — family turns tragedy into triumph after losing a child to drunk driving.” (Great idea, ABC! Because everyone knows a heated jacuzzi can turn the death of a child into a ”triumph.”)

Seeking: ”Congenital insensitivity to pain with anhidrosis, referred to as CIPA by the few people who know about it. (There are 17 known cases in the US — let me know if one is in your town!)” (Sigh…)

You know what? I’m too emotionally deadened to keep mocking these people, but feel free to take your own potshots in the comments section below. They pretty much asked for it, right?

Comments (22 total) Add your comment
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  • Andy Wynn

    Regardless of their methods for finding people who have endured horrific ordeals, Extreme Home Makeover really does help those people. To be frank, I don’t care why they do it. I don’t think ABC is some “Angel” network that doesn’t care about ratings, but I do think that in the end some people who, for the most part, desperately need help are getting it. To me, that’s a good thing. No potshots here.

    • megan

      do u kno wif hte show that i watch is on tonight

  • Ep Sato

    Does anyone believe that reality tv is really written by tv producers who want to tug at our heartstrings for $$$? I refuse to believe it! The real world? Joe Schmoe? Survivor? None of those casts were ever put together to increase drama or ratings, right? Say it ain’t so!

    • megan

      hey come to my new house that ty designed for me a d my family

  • Tyler D

    Ty Pennington is without a doubt THE most annoying personality on TV. The most mornic thing about this is the facade that they are always rushing to meet the artificial deadline at the end. For all we know, the crew is done days/weeks in advance and Pennington is just running around the set like a jerk on the very first days trying to “motivate” the crew. I loathe his schtick.

  • Laura

    I honestly can’t watch EHM anymore. In the beginning, when it was just normal families it was interesting. Now…they just get more depressing and more depressing. If I have to see one more country singer singing in front of a giant waving American flag in front of all the family and neighbors…I’ll be sick.

  • dub

    Extreme Makeover: Shameless Promotional Tie-ins Edition has never been good. is it true that they help families in need? absolutely. but can i stand to watch it? not anymore. the “heartfelt” soundbites from the Makeover Crew are the exact same EVERY episode (“they’ve been through so much, struggled so greatly, they really deserve this,” etc.), and lately it’s just turned into product plugs for Sears, Ford, and any other company lucky enough to get their name attached. what’s even worse is that Ty’s antics are beyond ridiculous and he’s always yelling like a crazy person. i’m all for doing good, but when the real motivation is so blatantly profit and greed, i have to change the channel.

  • greenplant

    I watched the show when it first came out, but now I avoid even accidentally flipping on it for a second. I understand that even though it is a great promotional tool it also does good. But do these people deserve mansions? Why cannot we spread the wealth a bit more instead of giving a bedroom for every kid in a 15 kid house. And if people own homes, they’re a step up from people living in the inner cities in shabby apartments. Why don’t they do an episode when they redo a neighborhood of rundown apartments? Of course, there’d be practical issues like landlords, etc. but it would help more than one person and that person does not need to be on their death bed – they could just be a regular person who is poor. We have a few of those in USA.

  • Tommy G

    Horrendous tragedy – mondo ratings. Case closed. Bring on the one-armed kid with leukemia who sells lemonade to pay for his sister’s brain transplant!

  • Krushgroove

    He he…..”Joe Schmo”, Ep Sato?

  • Ep Sato

    Couldn’t help myself on that one…

  • newbie

    Gross! Are they specifically seeking these situations b/c they have sponsors who want to donate specific products? That is the only thing I can think of. The show does a lot of good, but once you start ranking the desireablity of your victims, you are in a really twisted business.

  • Tim Lade

    Lonley Blogger who can love only their TiVo and cannot form relationships with anything that cannot be fastforwarded.

  • Dara

    Of course they’re looking for ratings but at the end of the day these people are helped. Who cares how it happens? While the news has all but abandoned the Katrina devastation they’re down there doing 4 episodes on it. I don’t care if they’re doing it for selfish reasons. At least SOMEONE is doing something.

  • t3hdow

    This is the very reason I hate EM:HE. I’m all for helping people, but the show is just pure exploitation and nothing more. The show is setup so it makes us feel sorry for the poor families and then praise the show producers for being the good hearted people they are to build these victims new homes…all for ratings. I don’t think much else in this world makes me nearly as sick as this show. I might not be the most moralistic person on earth – hell, I’m a sadist at times myself – but I’ve always been incredibly offended at this show. I’m glad I’m not the only person who feels the same way.

  • SpaceCat85

    Given the obvious tearjerk-factor of the show, that memo isn’t too surpising.
    What I really want to know is, how can most of the families maintain the mini-mansions and all of the gear that they get through the show? Most of the time, the families they choose are just struggling to get by as it is. How can they afford to maintain, for instance, a miniature golf course in their backyard, fix storm damage on a huge house (houses built quick ‘n’ dirty usually get tons of siding and roofing ripped off by a big windstorm), or get several thousands of dollars’ worth of computers or home entertainment systems fixed when something breaks or dies?

  • mom ech

    My family was nominated last year and we reciaeved our 1st as they call it preliminary call a few months ago. The process had begun, but when they relealized we live within a certain mile radius of a previous home they did everything stopped even though we submitted our application prior to the home being done. I’m upset because it doesn’t change our “Hardship” and I thought that’s what the show was all about.

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