King's Eye Land: 'Trading Spaces' redecorates rooms, alters minds of weak

When I relinquished the remote control recently, I had no idea that the montage of rapidly flipping television programming (mostly containing William Shatner), would end with The Learning Channel's hypnotic force - "Trading Spaces."

I couldn't react fast enough.

It had my girlfriend.

The Learning Channel's "Trading Spaces" Web site tells the thrust of the show, for those who have not been body-snatched yet:

"Ever sit in someone's home and wonder what would happen if you stripped, ripped and painted as you pleased? [No.] Find out during this one-of-a-kind decorating show when two sets of neighbors swap keys to transform a room in each other's home. They have two days, a set budget, and they're not allowed back into their own homes until the moment of truth. This is how-to with a neighborly twist."

The show features several recurrent personalities who guide the remodeling, including:

Paige: This woman is the host. She never stops smiling. She never lifts a hand to help, either. She's bubbly and it's contagious. Run before her teeth mesmerize you.

Hilda: As if the name didn't clue you in, this woman is loony. She will generally make a room as uninhabitable as possible. If you get on this show and this woman arrives to re-decorate your home, forget remodeling for your friends - you should burn their home to the ground for getting you into this. Tell them you went with the "charcoal" look.

Frank: This short, gray-bearded guy will come into your home and hang garbage on your walls. Everything will be sea-foam green when he's done. He can make cans of tuna into decorative sconces. He can do wonders with scrap metal.

Amy and Ty: The carpenters I know have names like "Mugsy," "Ordell," and "Jesus." My carpenters always arrive late, drink beer on the job, and shoot nails at each other. Amy and Ty are good-looking carpenters who rarely get splinters - and they can build anything!

Vern: He is the Asian guy. I don't have a problem with him. I like what he can do with a window treatment. I'd trust him with my home, garage, wife and children.

This show operates around a few basic tenets of redecoration:

1. If a room is white, it shall be painted some

other color.

2. If there is a couch, it shall be re-covered.

3. If there is a fireplace, it shall be ruined.

4. If someone gives specific instructions not to touch something within a house, that will be the first thing to get painted green.

These changes are often traumatic to the homeowners, who return and poignantly remark, "Oh my gosh, it's so different." Show after show, some woman will cry.

This is not to be sexist; the men just want to make sure Hilda didn't touch the fireplace. Later, these traumatized men will retreat to their safe places, where they can sob, rock back and forth and sing "Jimmy Crack Corn."

Regularly, this show absorbs my entire social circle into a dreamy, twenty-something trance that invariably keeps me from watching "The Price Is Right." This program will make you believe that remodeling is easy, cheap and fun. Stay away, before it entrances you. Change the channel, quickly!

Hey, back to back episodes. Sweet.

I'll meet you guys at Menards later.

Write to John at


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