November 26, 2011

House Hunters International: London Calling to the Faraway Towns

Village Life in Hertfordshire, UK
Description: A couple looks for a family home near London for around $400,000
Air date: 11/26/11 5:30 Central

Ok, so here's what you should know up front: I hate Anglophiles. And Francophiles. And all other-country-philes. I think it's dumb because if you romanticize another country, you overlook its flaws and tend to be pretty obnoxious about how awesome said country is. So with that said, meet Amanda and Darren.

Darren was born and raised in the UK and Amanda is from Mississippi and has lived in England for the past six years and they have twin toddlers. Like Madonna and Gwyneth Paltrow before her, Amanda, our self-professed Anglophile, pretentiously speaks with a British accent and probably calls people named Anthony "Antony." Even the narrator likes to point out how "weird" it is that she picked up the accent so quickly. By weird she means obnoxious and affected. Amanda visits her family in Mississippi and her family is the kind of assholes who would name a child Holland. I bet there's a Madison in there somewhere too.

Back in the UK, Amanda and Darren begin looking for a home with the help of their realtor Katie. Damanda want a two bedroom, spacious home in a village close to the train for $400,000 American dollars and half a scone. Amanda wants a traditional English cottage because, ugh, of course she does, and he wants a modern home. At least she hasn't mentioned Jane Austin yet. 

House #1 is a modern two bedroom townhouse for $365,000. It's the kind of house that has doors on every room, which makes sense in that it keeps heat in the rooms, but still, a kitchen with a door on it would drive me nuts. They then look at the living room, which Amanda describes as small. Ok, so, she's lived in England for the past six years, yet it's still a surprise that an English house has small rooms? She is, as the British would say, daft.

They head upstairs to check out the bedrooms. She says the master bedroom is an odd shape. Yes, a rectangle is a very odd shape. Amanda then points out that, with regards to the size of the rooms, she has to keep in mind that she doesn't live in America anymore. Well, she hasn't lived in America for six years, so I don't know why this is such a problem. It was easier to pick up the accent than to get used to the room sizes, apparently. Darren likes the house, but she wants "something quirky" with "more of a cottage feel."

House #2 is an old, two bedroom home for $349,000.

The house comes with its own Sanford and Son-style junk pile. But it's British junk, so it's more refined. 

Amanda loves the house because it's what Americans think of when they think of an English cottage. Yes, I think of squalor and junk piles when I think of the classic English cottage. See what I mean about romanticizing? 

The kitchen isn't any better and the backyard doesn't have that much grass. It is at this point that Amanda says grass with an American accent and then asks, "I said <American accent>grass</American accent>, didn't I?" That's the problem with an affectation; you forget to keep it up and who you really are comes out. The realtor calls out the accent in the nicest way possible and Amanda tries to explain it, but the realtor, narrator, and I see through it.

The master bedroom looks like something out of Green Acres, but without fabulous Eva Gabor. New York is also where I'd rather stay.

The second bedroom is pretty small and Amanda whines, "This is the size of an American closet!" Here's the thing, she's right; it's the size of a closet and it's small even by European standards, but the inherent problem with going on House Hunters is that, even if your gripes are reasonable, you're always going to come off as whiny unless you're witty and most people on House Hunters aren't witty.

House #3 is a three bedroom home built in the 1960's that's $405,000.

It's also the house most likely to be seen in the movie Cemetery Junction. If you haven't seen that move, do. Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant walk the dramatic/comedic line masterfully. He likes the house because it reminds him of his parents' house, confirming my stereotype that all British towns are like Cemetery Junction. 

They again head upstairs to check out the bedrooms. The master bedroom is fine, but Amanda feels the second bedroom is too enclosed. Well, like most bedrooms, it has four walls and a door, so I guess that can feel enclosed.

It's decision time and Damanda have a lot to talk about. They eliminate House #3 first and go back and forth on House #1 and House #2.

Amanda's face really bugs me. Darren wants House #1, but Amanda still likes House #2. Darren logically points out that she needs to think about the family's needs and that her kids would probably resent her if she forced them to grow up sharing a closet-sized room. That last part goes unspoken. 

They pick House #1. Amanda says she has to "retrain [her] mind" to get used to the small rooms. We all have our crosses to bear.


  1. This episode always bothered me because of Amanda and her fake accent. What's more bothersome was that she really thinks she's convinced everyone around her that she sounds like a native Brit. Pretentious; hence why I loved that that good ol' MissERssipi accent came out when talking about the grass. lmao!! Great post. :)

    1. Thanks! I'm glad other people get as equally annoyed by contrived accents as I do :)

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  3. That American woman with a "fake" British accent happens to me. I am originally from Mississippi and have lived in the UK for 9 years. What the TV programme didn't reveal is I lived in various parts of the USA before moving to the UK and lost quite a bit of my southern accent then. I made an effort to pronounce my words clearly and didn't like to 'stand out' in crowds. When I moved to the UK, it wasn't the accent so much that I first picked up but the intonations in sentences ie., how the english sometimes sounds as if they are asking a question when they speak but really making a statement. For instance the last couple of words of the sentence go up in pitch. I also taught as a lecturer and probably altered some of my words so that I can be understood.

    By no means did I ever claim to have a british accent nor do I speak with a fake one. It is simply a mixture of places I have lived. Google "trans-atlantic accent". You clearly have never lived outside your bubble for any length of time. :p

    Of course, editing for the show hams this up a bit as well and pisses people like yourself off which is always comical. :-D

    1. Just admit that you and your fake accent are lame. lol no one cares about your response or where you've lived or how "accomplished" you are