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Brenda has been writing since grade school. She attended journalism school where she majored in professional writing. She loves to decorate, garden, read and spend time with her Yorkies.

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Biggest Failure On Extreme Makeovers Home Edition


The Biggest Failure On Extreme Makeovers Home Edition

Extreme Makeovers Home Edition is known for tugging on viewer heartstrings. The Higgins family was perhaps one of the most beloved groups to be on the show. A family with a soft heart and an unreal desire to do well for mankind had taken in five orphaned children, ages 14-21. 10 people ended up living in cramped quarters to make ends meet for the Higgins children as well as the family that took them in.

The Makeover

The makeover was just as spectacular as all of the others on the show. In 2005, the Higgins and their “adoptive” family were given a spectacular space that boasted nine bedrooms after they returned from a vacation, courtesy of the show. The family went from having essentially no room and no boundaries to having everything they could desire. It is hard to imagine the relief the privacy of adding a door and your own room can have after being so cramped for so long. There were tears from the families and viewers alike. No one could believe that such a great thing could happen to such great people. It appeared a little too good to be true, perhaps because it was.

Ugliness Between the Family and the Higgins

The saints turned out to be ne'er do wells. They asked the Higgins clan to leave the spectacular home that was paid for by the show. The eldest Higgins child and the legal guardian of the rest of his siblings contacted the producers. Almost instantly, the producers showed the 24-page contract signed. There was nothing they could do. However, the tragedy suffered by the Higgins would make a great follow-up episode. After all, this is reality television.

The Higgins Take Matters to Court

The Higgins were obligated to participate in a follow-up as outlined by the contract. The eldest decided to do what any reasonable American would after being left out in the cold by a company that promised a home. Charles Higgins decided to sue the various companies involved in the show as well as the couple that evicted him and his siblings.

The California Court of Appeals Made a Ruling

The California Court of Appeals granted the Higgins a full trial with a jury. In a recent ruling, the Court decided that the contract was unenforceable as it was procedurally and substantively unconscionable. The Higgins are going to court, and the show is under scrutiny.

The Most Spectacular Failure In the History of the Show

In past episodes, participants on the show had been unable to pay for maintenance and mortgages for their new homes. The show attempted to remedy the issue by paying for the Higgins home. Granted, the Higgins were only houseguests. Heartstrings were still tugged, but in very different ways. It was still great television. However, ethics and legalities involved in promising a home to a group of people that are later evicted were brought to light.

The family with a heart of gold that took in the Higgins has successfully faded out of the spotlight. What kinds of people bring in a bunch of orphans only to ditch them once they get a larger house? Evidently, these people do.

Not Just an Ugly Bathroom or Bad Living Room D├ęcor

The Higgins episode in 2005 has to take the prize of the biggest failure in the history of Extreme Makeovers Home Edition. After all, the idea was to give people better homes, not make them homeless. 

Brenda Pruitt
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  1. I used to watch that show faithfully and really enjoyed it. But it got to be too much. I ended up in tears because it is truly uplifting and I very much wanted to believe there are really good people in every community that would come out and build homes for strangers. But I often wondered how truthful was the show. I watch alot of HGTV shows. House Hunters I do know is half fake; there are many articles and people who were on that show that have come out and spoke about it being somewhat fake. I watch Love It or List It and that show is scripted to the death and it also is fake to some degree. But it is good clean tv and I like to see before and after's of homes. I also watch Property Brothers and that has got to be one of my favorites. But I am sure that is fake too, but I won't be looking on the internet to find out. Those brothers are just as handsome as handsome can get and very likeable. I don't believe Extreme Home Makeover is on any longer, but if it was on, I still would not watch it.

    1. I think it stopped filming a few years ago.

  2. What a sad story but not surprising. I watched one episode years ago and that was enough for me. The family in that episode did not deserve a new home. The man and his wife both had jobs but did not take care of the home they already had, attracting termites and letting trash pile up. It seemed totally fake to me.

    1. I agree. Who on earth picked those people anyway?

  3. I think there was more than one instance of fraud on that show. I wonder who was being duped more, the producers of the show or we the viewers. xo Laura

    1. Judy told me that the show got sued here in Tulsa for not putting back up neighbor's fences, etc., after remodeling a house. They just left town and left things as is I guess.

    2. So many of these 'reality' shows are so scripted and fake. I enjoy some of the makeovers, but these were kinda way over the top and I always thought a more realistic home would have been practicable...of course not as good TV. Oh well.

  4. How bazaar. You really have to wonder what goes on behind the scenes on both sides of those shows- not just Extreme Makeover. I kind of agree with Deb that sometimes a new home is given to people who didn't take care of what they had. Or a new home is given to people who couldn't afford what they already had and surely can't afford the large elaborate homes they are given. Most of us will probably never know the truth except that I'm sure the families are paid to participate. Let's hope there really is something wonderful going on behind the scenes.

  5. One of the things that they never tell the "unfortunate homeowners" is that when they renovate the home, the property taxes are going to increase substantially. That happened to a family near where I used to live and they ended up having to sell the house anyway. I never liked that show. The idiot with the bullhorn used to drive me nuts.

    1. He drove me nuts too! How obnoxious was that? When I lived in Tyler, TX, I went to see the house that had just been HGTV's home of the year for I think 2005. I don't think any of the people that win those homes can pay the taxes, so they always get sold. That one did too.

  6. My son-in-law volunteered on one of these shows in New England. He said it was so staged and the filming was tedious. The volunteers were belittled and made to do things they normally would never do. The folks that inherited the house are no longer able to afford the home. I think these shows do anything for ratings.

  7. I have never watched "Extreme Makeovers." I've never been one to watch reality shows. I used to watch HGTV religiously, but after the housing crisis, it became more about renovating homes, or buying and selling homes. Never any decorating shows. I miss Candice Olson and definitely "Room by Room" with Matt and Shari. Those two shows were my favorites!


    1. Carol, I loved watching Matt and Shari!

  8. I watched that show several times and always wondered how they could even pay the taxes and upkeep on them after they got them. As fast as they were built, too, I wondered how many corners were cut and how good the work was. I know they looked beautiful. And Ty Pennington, wow, he was so hyper! I always fully expected to read where he'd had a heart attack during the filming of one of these shows.

  9. I never really watched this show. I was familiar with what it was about. It always seemed too good to be true. So I guess I'm not surprised that something like this would eventually happen. I really don't like how fake reality t.v. is, so I don't watch it at all.

  10. My favorite show is "Rehab Addict" with Nicole Curtis. She saves old houses in Minnesota and Detroit from being condemned. These are wonderful old homes with tons of charm, such as stained-glass windows, oak trim, fireplaces, etc. I love the fact that she does a tremendous amount of recycling and shops in thrift stores and architectural salvage warehouses for things to use in the homes. She doesn't just rip everything out like most of the shows. She scrubs old clawfoot tubs, cleans, digs, paints, and in general pinches the pennies to get the most out of her budget. She really cares about saving these old places. I am sure perhaps there is some staging, after all, it's television, but I love this show!

  11. A very good question indeed- what kind of people bring in orphans and then evict them? Especially after the house has been renovated, based upon the compassion of said people for orphans.

    The show host irritated me. Never really watched it.

  12. They did a home over in the next City over from us. I know people who worked on it and they said it was awful. When they filmed the "final" scene it was done three or four times because they did not show enough "emotion". Phoney from the word go.

  13. A friend of ours had a relative that worked on the show. He said it all looked great for the finale, but chances are the stove and fridge were't hooked up, and there may or may not have been water to all the plumbing. None of the reality shows are real. I always have thought Survivor should have a show somewhere in the mountain West calving out 250 heifers in February. We would see just who could survive.

  14. I always wondered how these families that couldn't keep up the home they were in were going to pay to keep these elaborate homes I know..they couldn't..It might have been a good thing if the show would have built these people nice practical homes that they could afford to live in..


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