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'House Hunters International': A husband and father ditches bachelor desires in Vietnam

Welcome back to the wonderful world of House Hunters International, where dreams come true! All right, that’s a load of baloney, but it sounds like the beginning of a House Hunters International episode, doesn’t it?

Our original intent was to skip back and forth between House Hunters and its global cousin, but the cousin is a heck of a lot cuter and a far more enjoyable to discuss. Say good-bye to the domestic bore and welcome foreign affairs into your heart.

Episodes like the March 5 airing are what make the remote control conveniently disappear when someone else wants to change the channel. Not only do we get to watch home buyers squabble about where they should live, but we get to learn a thing or two in the process.

Heather and Duarte Carreiro met while traveling the world working in education development. They’re not strangers to exotic locations, so it’s no surprise they took teaching jobs in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. While they were stateside, they got married and had a child, so their needs have changed a bit since the last time they lived around the world. One of the deciding factors in accepting positions in Vietnam is the prevalence of in-home childcare. Apparently it’s the norm and will make adjusting to living in a country without friends and family much easier.

Upon arriving in Vietnam, the couple has a budget of $1,200 per month, and they hope to find an organized, modern, child-friendly residence with at least two bedrooms, a gymnasium, pool and sufficient outdoor living space for son Gabriel. If you’re thinking they’re asking for the impossible, you’re not the only one. Ho Chi Minh City is numbered by district with a total of 24 districts and 6 million residents. Most sightseeing takes place in Districts 1 and 3, where visitors are encouraged to partake in local customs. The city is very busy, and with Duarte’s desire for organization, he has a difficult time adjusting.

I see fresh produce on the streets, piles of cilantro up to visitors’ knees, and mint, garlic and limes in surrounding baskets. Visions of genuine Vietnamese noodle bowls dance in my head and I begin to fantasize about the food entering my mouth. Who needs prepared foods?

On another corner, there are buckets filled with turtles. When Heather asks what people do with the turtles (I immediately cower, thinking perhaps they’re for eating), the vendor says people do whatever they want with them and then set them free. “Bye-bye, turtle,” Gabriel says sweetly as he releases his new friend into the nearby river. At first the idea of taking a child to such a place seems frightening, but learning about the area through home buyers is part of what makes House Hunters International recommended viewing.

The first house they see is outside of the hustle and bustle of the main city in District 2. It seems too far from the school, but is extremely large and modern; it’s unlike anything I would expect in Vietnam, clearly showing my ignorance of the culture. Once inside, the rooms seem a little smaller than preferred and the kitchen is missing an oven (they are a rarity in Vietnam). The backyard is large, but right by the river, which concerns Heather. It’s also far from “the action and city life” as well as other Westerners, and it’s missing a pool and gym — fantastical wants too high on Duarte’s list, if he’s interested in my opinion. (He’s not.)

Although Duarte has a child, he seems to put his personal needs above his son’s. The second home they visit is in the heart of District 2 near many restaurants, a lot of other Westerners and a lot of new construction. Heather worries that Gabriel will be riding his bike while construction beams fall on his head. Although realtor David Abrecht tells the couple they’re walking into a brand-new unit in one of the district’s most cherished condominiums, Duarte begins to look around and focuses on nonsensical points. (The dishwasher has never been used — that’s what you get in a new unit, Duarte. Unused appliances!) “I knew that Heather was thinking that the place was not very child-friendly,” Duarte says as Heather expresses her concern over two very sleek shower stalls with no bathtubs in sight. Bathing a toddler in a shower can’t be the easiest option, and Gabriel is a little too big to fit into the kitchen sink, no matter how shiny and untouched it is.

Duarte is ready to sign the papers when he sees the gymnasium and the pool in the building. He sighs how great it would be “just being by myself sometimes.” Heather asks incredulously, “So when you’re by yourself, where are we going to go?” If they hadn’t already announced that these two met as international educators, it would be hard to pin Duarte down as a man having any interest in children. (Or — who am I kidding — in anybody other than himself.)

The third home is a standalone house surrounded by greenery with a unique courtyard. The inside features beautiful use of brick and wood, giving it a distinct feel. The décor enhances the cultural vibe that was missing in the other two homes. Although it’s not modern, Duarte is easily won over by its ambiance. He considers abandoning his bachelor-style desires for this family- friendly dwelling, even if it is $300 over their budget.


When it’s revealed that Heather’s favorite is the garden house and Duarte’s is the modern condo, it seems the choice is simple. Yet the Carreiros surprise me when they agree on the garden house, despite Duarte’s concerns about the amount of money they’ll spend on cab rides and its distance from the fast life.

They’ve made the wrong decision! The third house met both of their needs. Suddenly, it seems unfair that their decision isn’t swayed by a viewer voting system. Surely an 800 number can be launched or a text-and-vote system implemented. On the other hand, if I make preparations now, maybe I can take up residence in the house that appeals to me. Watching House Hunters International is about dreams, after all.

Do you think House Hunters International edits to make buyers like Duarte look less considerate than they really are? Do you enjoy these truly exotic location hunts, or do you prefer the days at the beach? How about those voting buttons? Would you weigh in? Let’s chat about it!

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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