In the premiere episode of the new HGTV home makeover show “Unspouse My House,” a recently divorced woman gets to complain on TV about her ex-husband, who is presumably the father of her two small children.
This hapless ex is described as a beer-swilling, football-watching slob whose primary activity was sitting in his favorite chair watching TV while she did all the work of child care and housekeeping.
In this half-hour show, premiering Thursday night, his stained, worn chair is a constant topic of conversation and a conspicuous irritant to this now-single southern California mom. She even points out the worn spot on the tabletop next to the chair that was apparently caused by her ex's distaste for coasters.
Grounds for divorce? Possibly. We don't really know because the full details of how this marriage went south are not revealed. Nevertheless, one gets the feeling this wife just grew to seriously dislike her husband, and that was that.
In the show, this ex-husband is depicted in cartoon line drawings in which he sits in his chair belching and man-spreading. Certainly, the real person is nowhere to be seen in this show, nor is he shown in any context giving his side of this one-sided story.
One can only wonder whether he will be among those watching this series premiere, and if so, how he will react to the abuse his ex-wife and her interior designer -- this show's nominal star Orlando Soria -- heap upon him for his anti-coaster lifestyle.
One also wonders if his ex-wife sought his permission to put their children on television or whether she will allow the kids to watch this show in which she complains about their father.
Obviously, this show gives a viewer a lot to think about, even if, when you get right down to it, it is just another home makeover show. The theme is “unspousing” a home's interior design to make it less reflective of the broken marriage that it spawned and more pleasing to the spouse who got the house.
In some ways, this show gives evidence of the takeover of the Scripps networks by Discovery. It is as if the new owners have decided to apply a little TLC to this property they now own.
As a title, “Unspouse My House” has a Discovery/TLC ring to it, as does another recent entry on the HGTV lineup, “Say Yes to the Nest,” whose title seems descended from TLC's bridal-gown show “Say Yes to the Dress.”
But some HGTV traditions remain. The makeover seen in the premiere episode of “Unspouse My House” is completed perfectly in about 15 minutes. It is the stuff of fantasy and happy endings, and HGTV has gone very far adhering to that formula.
Hopefully, the network's Discovery overseers will come to realize that too much TLC can be smothering.
“Unspouse My House” premieres Thursday (June 6) at 9:30 p.m. Eastern on HGTV.