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Oh yeah? Trade THIS Space, b-yatch!

2003-01-06 - 9:42 p.m.

Can we talk, for just a minute, about �Trading Spaces?�

Good. Because I know you love it, and I know everyone loves it, and it a way, I kind of love it too.

But it makes me nervous. Really, really nervous. When other people are oohing and ahhing over the way Hildy has converted someone�s microwave cart into an altar for voodoo dolls, I�m chewing Tums and trying to get myself to change the channel.

I tried to deconstruct the show to figure out what�s bugging me.

It�s not just the fact that

the whole thing is staged.

It�s not even the condescension inherent in any situation in which a bunch of dressed-in-black, designin� cityfolk come into the homes and apartments of the bourgeoisie and make fun of their macrame.

It�s not even the super-squeaky-cutsie-pootsie cleanliness of

Paige Davis or the fact that Amy Wynn�s jeans are so tight it�s scandalous.

It�s not even from dreading the reaction of the people who you know are gonna freak when they open their eyes in �The Reveal� and their ceiling fans are nowhere to be found.

No, no, it�s none of these things.

In fact, the reason �TS� makes me nervous has everything to do with the post-reveal, when the camera crews have packed up and moved on to the next suburb to wreak re-do havoc on someone else�s pre-fab.

Allow me to explain.

The next time you watch �TS,� look very, very closely at the �contestants�� eyes when their new room has just been Revealed.

It�s a very specific look. It�s the look that says, �Oh fuck what the hell did they do to my headboard, but oh my God you�re on TV so don�t look horrified and don�t cry, and you know actually if I can get the right color of paint down at the Home Depot, I might be able to get it back to the way it was, or at least close, yes, yes, it�s fucked up but with a little work it�s going to be ok, I can live with it.�

Even if they pretend to be soiling themselves with joy and approval, this is truly what they�re thinking: �Ok! Keep smiling! And as soon as they drive away, I�m gonna get the Weed Wacker and mow down the prairie grass that Genevieve superglued all the way around the floorboards. It�s gonna be ok! Honey! Honey! We made it out alive!�

And so the thing is, you just know that these people are gonna start disassembling the work that�s been done--which is absolutely fine, except can you imagine what that room�s gonna look like when it�s done?? If you thought it already looked drastic enough with the new bright red velour fabric lining the walls, imagine that baby when the contestants bring back in Grandma�s pastel pink knitted rug. Or what it will look like when they take down the Chinese lanterns and put back the halogen lamps from Kmart.

And even if they were really pleased with the results , and even if they didn�t start to dismantle the new room, can you imagine what it would be like to live in a suburban duplex where every room looks like everybody else�s on your block--but then you�ve got a Trading Spaces room right in the middle of the house? As in, your house is entirely white-walled and light blue-carpeted, but then on New Year�s Eve you have to say, �Folks, if you just step on back here, we�ll go play pitch in our living room with its leopard print walls and leopard print velour sofa! Yeah, you know, the one from Pier One that used to be white!�

And that kind of shit, folks, makes me nervous. Maybe next time I watch it I�ll try to relax, pour a few shots and have some friends over for this.

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