Sunday, April 1, 2007

Flip This House Just Lost Me

One of the things I liked most about A&E's Flip This House is their tendency to use less than typical subjects as the "stars". The home improvement/pimp the real estate game in underserved markets show was really good the first two seasons with country assed Richard, ditzy and slightly fugly Ginger, and the rest of the crew from Trademark Properties. They were so down to earth and good ole' boyish, that they felt more like folks I went to high school with back in NC than people with a legit business on teevee.

Last season, they literally flipped the game by splitting the cast amongst not one, but two groups of minorities. The Leccima's in ATL were a black couple who, with portly sidekick Lamont, made a grip in the seriously undervalued (or would that merely be appropriately priced) market in the durty. And a Hispanic family named the Montelongos in San Antonio did the same, mostly catering to immigrant families. I dug this dual setup, and I've even watched the repeats, waiting for the next season. When I saw a promo last week, with the Montelongos returning, along with Leccima associate Angela and husband Harris, I figured we had another winner. Wrong!

This season's premiere showed that A&E can bow to the least common denominator and try to appease suburban soccer moms with the best of em'. To my chagrin, the show now focuses around an Yalee and ex-NFL player named Than (Than? c'mon playa) Merrill and a bunch of stoner buddies living in New Haven, CT who just happen to look like Calvin Klein models. I immediately erased this crap from taking up precious space on my Tivo.

I guess the Leccima's and Big Lamont weren't bringin sexyback, so the suits at A&T decided to spice things up. This is a shame, for a couple of reasons.

1) The Leccimas and Montelongos are among the smattering of minorities on home improvement and real estate based shows, which make up the bulk of my TV diet since The Wire is off season, and The Shield has yet to start (Tuesday, I know, and I can't wait of course). No, this isn't a travesty of grand proportions, but it's a bit disappointing nonetheless.

2) How many shows with white dudes with 4% body fat and $200 haircuts do we need? Enough already.

3) I will miss Big Lamont and his impromptu sangin'. Dude was entertainment to say the least.

Update: A look at the A&E website says that The Leccimas, Montelongos, Big Lamont, Harris, and Angela will still be part of the rotating cast this season. But hey, they lead the season with the New Haven guys, so I can only see this as writing on the wall.

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