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'House Hunters International': Who knew the beach was so boring?

It can be really exciting to imagine buying homes in faraway lands, and that’s often what makes House Hunters International compelling viewing. Who hasn’t imagined living in another country? Who really has the fortunate circumstances to take advantage of such an opportunity? I’ve thought about it quite often.

Let me share with you what isn’t exciting to watch – four back-to-back episodes of house hunting in beach locations. Do you know why that’s not scintillating entertainment? Because there are only so many types of homes found near beaches and the want lists are awfully similar from buyer to buyer.

They want a house near the beach, but with a view of the jungle and, oh, a pool would be wonderful! There must be air conditioning but it can’t drown out the sounds of the waves!

Of course different buyers come with different budgets and that means houses all up and down the spectrum of opulence. From mansions to studio bungalows with laundry lines hanging in the back–they are all possibilities in exotic beach locales.

The stakes are certainly higher when the house is being purchased for full-time residency. Searching for a vacation home is almost as exciting as watching someone flip through tourist brochures. There isn’t a lot to lose, because they’ll always have their first home to run back to if the vacation abode doesn’t suit. Let’s dig in.

When Canadians Luis Marten and Marcela  Inzirillo take the plunge to buy their dream vacation home in Aruba, the world’s largest exporter of Aloe Vera, their biggest challenge is choosing a location that meets all of their needs and will still be desirable to potential renters–even though Marcela probably has no intention of ever renting out the property .

In the real world, giving up your desire to be near the beach and in town to increase the chances of rental to offset the cost of a vacation home below the equator might not resolve itself in 30 minutes or less. Here, it does.

It was more likely a case of a husband caving into his wife because he just didn’t want to fight, but it played out as if Marcela might one day allow strangers into her personal space. To get that the house was above budget and far inland. Not much of a compromise.

Heather Beck, meanwhile, moves to San Pedro, Belize to work with the local animal rescue to help with plans to bring visiting vet teams and volunteers down often to assist in this important work.

Unfortunately, Heather makes the mistake of telling her family that the house is just as much for her family as it is for her and her business. Huh?

One of the most aggravating beefs I have with House Hunters International is not getting the whole story behind the home purchase. In this case, it’s difficult to understand if Heather will be living in the house full time or flying in periodically with these visiting pet ambassadors. If it’s the former, then having mom along claiming the master bedroom with the Jacuzzi tub in every house isn’t cute. If they’ll be sharing the home at different times during the year, that works out just fine.

When Melanie and Rich Chappuis move from Atlanta, Ga. to Guam to embrace the easy going lifestyle in time for the birth of their first child, dad’s needs are going to take a backseat to mama’s desires to live in a tropical paradise.

Melanie is interested in a humble retreat to keep her calm and centered. She’s away from her family and ready to give birth to her first child without anyone but her husband at her side. When she says she wants a house by the beach, she wants a house by the beach – not a house inland called a “beach bungalow.” Get it right.

My favorite line out of the episode is when Rich exclaims, “We’re gonna have a Guamanian!” Above all else, their devotion to each other and Rich’s desire to spend as much time with his wife and child is admirable.

Charles and Karen McGrath from Lucas, Texas, have saved for 17 years to buy their vacation home in Puerta Vallarta. They just don’t share the same dream.

Charles wants a house in town within walking distance of everything. Karen wants a condo with few maintenance requirements, outside of town where it’s quiet and she can see the jungle encroaching upon her property. It seems impossible to meet both of their needs.

The realtor, however, expertly combines their desires into three properties that appeal to both. A penthouse condo with an infinity pool in the city and a condo that sits on the beach easily impress, but it’s the 150-yearold house surrounded by lush greenery with a 2,000 square-foot. terrace filled with old world Mexican architecture that Elizabeth Taylor used to frequent in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s that catches the breath of both.

Whether  the show is playing up the discrepancies between the wants of prospective home buyers or they really don’t have a clue what they want before arriving at their destinations, we’ll never know. While I’d love to say the constant bickering always makes for better viewing, the pleasure of seeing a competent realtor at work in Puerta Vallarta who makes the decision extremely difficult for the buyers is far more entertaining than having homes that so obviously miss the mark we can practically make the choice ourselves. I’ve never been a sports lover, but now I understand why a close game is so much more rewarding than a blowout.

Do you enjoy consecutive episodes exploring similar locations with only slight variations in buyers or home types? Would you prefer picking apart one of these episodes in detail or reading about the weeks’ worth in a post? Hit the comments and share your thoughts!

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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