It's no secret that reality TV shows aren't always real. There are some programs that pride themselves on being as authentic as possible, like my own show (look at me tooting my own horn), and while lots of reality series edit for continuity and to string together a clear narrative, there are others that straight up stage things.
But is Zombie House Flipping one of those shows that fake situations for the sake of good TV?
"Fans" have some brutal things to say about Zombie House Flipping.
There are certainly a number of fans who think so. The IMDB user reviews of the program are particularly brutal.
One user, jasinned wrote:
"Worth watching if you want to be irritated" and gave them a 1/10: "Over-acted by terrible annoying so-called personalities. Of course, it's staged, there's always a water leak, one would think before gutting the inside of a house that you'd turn the water main off, but for some reason, they always wait till they crack a pipe to do that. Duke (The Designer) and Keith (The Builder) would have to be the two most irritating people on the show, however, the other two morons aren't far off. The show just doesn't work, the cast continuously talks over one another and bickers, there's no chemistry."
There was a particular incident that a lot of viewers of the show pointed to as well, which is the gator in the pool.
User alisaecrocker writes:
"Completely staged. It's amazing how the pool had about an inch of water in the shallow end until the gator showed up and all of a sudden it has several inches of water. BTW, gators do not hiss without provocation. There had to be someone off-camera aggravating it. Also, the guy that said he grew up in Florida should know that you never feed a gator. It makes them dangerous and they come back! So stupid."
Alisae went on to say that they were also upset with the way the home was remodeled, saying that the flippers themselves ended up making the place "cookie-cutter" instead of keeping some of its charm intact:
"Then they took all the character out of the house, making it "upscale." Making it cookie cutter is what really happened. They took out a really interesting backsplash (and very nice black granite) and replaced it with the same glass backsplash you see everywhere. They then removed all the authentic Florida stone and installed imported stone. Supposedly this house was unoccupied for a year before being worked on, i.e. a "zombie." The shower was full of shampoos and there were rugs on the floor. It certainly looked lived in to me."
Just because the show has some critics, however, doesn't necessarily mean that it's staged, but the general consensus of everyone who watches it says that the drama on camera is fake: "I find it moderately intriguing because it's local, but the fake drama is terrible."
So is Zombie House Flipping fake?
Does all of this criticism mean that Zombie House Flipping is necessarily fake? Well, the homes that they renovate aren't. I was on an episode of Renovation Realities where I helped my boy, Baha, fix up a kitchen in a home he purchased in Newton, N.J. And that was all real. We had a lovely camera crew come in, and there wasn't an ounce of fake drama that occurred.
Then again, we didn't have any "stars" on the show or anything — we just had a bunch of people come in who watched us do our work. I took a couple of days off of work, and left early on another, and got to work helping him set tile and move out a bunch of trash and debris from his place. There were no personalities that did it: only us.
It could very well be a different dynamic for this show, however.
With the name "Zombie" in the title, it seems like there is some room, or at least a push, to make whatever's captured on camera seem a bit more sensationalized than it is. Investfourmore has some qualms about the valuation numbers that they put on the homes during the episodes as well. They pointed to one example that doesn't take into consideration the other costs that are associated with home renovation.
In this particular instance, the writer of this article says that there's a solid $23,000 that wasn't factored into the cost of fixing the house up. They also pointed out a few occurrences that seemed a bit off-kilter — in other, words, the author, who knows a lot about home renovations, thinks that the show does stage quite a few things.
So what do you think? Have you seen a few episodes that made you go, "Well, that can't be real!" Or have you not seen the program and are more intrigued to check it out now?