Extreme Gloss-Over: Home Edition - Greg Gelpi

Perhaps its na?vet?, but not until Extreme Makeover: Home Edition did I realize how unreal "reality" television actually is.

The television show really was a show and the designers nothing more than actors. Although I'm a reporter, I prefer to refer to myself as a truth-teller and the truth must be told about television, especially so-called reality television.

There exists a myth that if it appears on television it must therefore be true. In truth though, television, including reality television, doesn't depict reality, but instead creates and establishes reality.

Let me offer apologies in advance for shattering the paper-thin images of Extreme Makeover's designers turned actors, but my allegiance to truth-telling compels me to do so.

Before I proceed, let me offer an analogy.

If I go to the local burger joint, buy a meal, unwrap it and cover it in a wrapper with my name on it, then proceed to give the meal to someone that's a nice thing to do. It's nice on my part, but in reality I did little and the restaurant did most of the work. The wrapper with my name in bold letters can't hide the fact that I didn't do the cooking.

That is the case of the television show. They put the wrapper, the superficial touches, on a project done primarily by the builder, Beazer Homes.

According to the show, lead actor Ty Pennington suddenly scribbled plans for the 5,300-square foot house as he recovered in a hospital bed and immediately show designers contacted Beazer, got the company onboard and minutes later construction began.

Time, we must remember, doesn't exist in Botox-riddled Hollywood.

Speaking with a Beazer designer, though, time does exist in little ole Georgia and the company was contacted months before any actors arrived on scene.

What seemed like an insignificant conversation at the time, the real lead designer, a Beazer Homes employee, chatted with me prior to the demolition of the house, describing the process of tackling the project.

In fact, he said that the house was entirely designed by Beazer and not the actors of Extreme Makeover. This fact was glossed over by television obviously or left somewhere on the cutting room floor.

He also explained the real "How'd they do that," describing how workers prepared well before the mad dash to build the house on-site by building the house inside a warehouse in a Hollywood-style dress rehearsal.

Before the letters, calls and e-mails clutter my desk, I in no way want to take away from the finished product, the house and all the stuff that went along with it.

The gifts were incredible and obviously went to an extremely deserving family. It's important, though, to give credit where credit is due. It's also important to bring a little reality to reality TV.

"There are moments that are so real, that we're just lucky to have a camera there to capture them," one of the actors said during the show.

But how real is real?

Police officers cordoned off the street, taking orders from Hollywood big wigs as actors filmed the same one-liners time and time again, each time cutting away the reality of the "reality" television.

With all of the makeup and fancy lights gone, I'm left to ask at what point is reality no longer real?

Greg Gelpi covers education for the News Daily. He can be reached at ggelpi@news-daily.com or (770) 478-5753 Ext. 247.