Extreme Home Makeover Trumps Super Bowl

Okay, I began this evening watching the Super Bowl at my sister's place on the Upper East Side. I came home on the subway (after being entirely unable to find a cab) and was disappointed to find that House had been recording according to the TV Guide, not according to when House was actually on post-Super Bowl. But I digress.

I watched it in spotty chunks via DVR, and then watched tonight's Extreme Home Makeover.

Now, I have friends who see this show as a tremendous waste of resources, but it's all marketing donations and publicity stuff to essentially transform the life of a family. Lately they're taking one family from each state that's suffering more spectacularly than usual. One family had four children who all had the same weird disease - apparently not inherited but obviously genetic - that caused them to treat food like a parasite, children with super-rare immune diseases.... tonight's family however, featured an 8-year old with pediatric cancer, and she had just found out she had a reoccurance when they decided to build her family a new, safer, less polluted by mold house.

So, they send the family and this stunningly beautiful 8-year old to Hilton Head while they build them a beautiful chalet in Oregon, and they come home to a Domino Magazine perfect house and the girl and her 2 teenage brothers freak out. This family is so overwhelmed by the beauty of what they've been given, as most Extreme Home Makeover families are, that they can't actually communicate effectively about how they feel. They have been given a tiny slice of paradise, and they know it.

Now, I have no idea how much they spend or what bargains these families make to get these houses. I like to believe that ABC is willing to dole out this cash and these beautiful homes with new appliances because 1) the appliances, etc. are donated by marketing departments and 2) the show produces way more in ad revenue than it actually costs to build a suffering family a beautiful, safe home (which is a tragedy of a whole different level). I like to believe that it's actually generous.

Yet, tonight they showed an 8 year old girl, for whom they built a beautiful house. But she had pediatric cancer. For the second time.

She didn't have a prayer. How can you fight something so persistent and stealthy?

I lost my best friend to cancer almost three years ago. I watched this show with tears in my eyes. And streaming down my cheeks.

And the show, produced whenever it was actually produced, had a post script... The girl passed away in December 2007. But before she died she saw the tremendous love and generosity her existence and her life inspired, so in one respect, if just that one, she was lucky.


ruchi said…
oh monkey this sounds so sad. =( but it was a nice thing for them to have done, even if the family probably couldn't afford the utilities to go with crazy amazing luxury Oregon chalet.

but Phatiwe knew just how much she was loved. not by psycho marketing people, but by you the very most. you made SURE of that. you're the bestest.

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