You know you've finally transitioned towards the lame period of adulthood when you find yourself binge-watching HGTV. I'm not going to sit here and pretend like I don't understand the appeal of watching a bunch of strangers with a budget of forty seven dollars try to get themselves a million-dollar home less than a mile from the ocean. Because I've seen enough HGTV shows to know about the finer details of the network. Like that they have a weird affinity towards open-concept homes.
It's a design choice I personally love, but only because my ideal living situation would be in a warehouse. And while different home renovation trends come and go throughout the years, the open concept has persisted on the network for years to the exclusion of all others. But why?
Male viewers, apparently.
Ronda Kaysen, a New York Times contributor stated in an interview with NPR that HGTV executives ran the numbers and apparently all of their research shows that male viewers are absolutely in love with open floor plans: "I spoke with HGTV executives. And the reason that they are so big on open concept is because it gets the male viewers. Like, guys like to watch sledgehammers and, like, taking out walls."
"It’s for TV. It’s not for, like, what’s the best interests of the house, necessarily," Ronda added.
Yes, it has less to do with architectural tastes and more to do with "big man, big hammer, swing it," according to Ronda's interactions with HGTV executives: "Dudes will only watch HGTV if there's sledgehammers. This is how you get your boyfriend to sit with you on the couch and watch it if you get to watch Jonathan Scott, like, knock down a wall."
Understandably, a ton of people didn't believe it could be so simple, that there must be more to HGTV's decision to focus so much on open-concept homes, and a lot of their counterpoints made more sense than just, you know, guys like seeing walls knocked down with hammers.
Another possible reason: it's way easier for production crews to shoot in wide spaces. Finding a line of sight in an open-concept home is easier than one with a ton of dividing walls.
Then the debate stopped being over why HGTV loves open concept and more about whether open concepts are the best.
Taylor Lorenz, writer for NY Times, called open concepts a "scourge," which brought both cheers and jeers from Twitter users everywhere.
Other dudes weren't really buying the whole "manly things" angle, either. If that was the reason for the bias toward open floor plans, why not just have shows dedicated to the manliest of manly home renovation activities? And play metal music during those sections while people grill raw meat in the background and one guy praises another man's lawnmower and extols the literary prowess of Tom Clancy?
What do you think? Is HGTV's "male enlistment" strategy working? Or do you think there's a more practical reason as to why open concept homes seem to be all the rage?
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