Here is a typical modern situation: A couple – or throuple – hires two television stars to renovate their historic house. The homeowners leave for two weeks while the celebrities argue about what tiles, fixtures, and lamps they plan to install. Meanwhile, an actual crew of laborers work behind-the-scenes to do the real painting and tile installation. In fairness to the television stars, they do show up on the last day of the renovation to fluff a few pillows and talk about how stressful the process has been. The day of the reveal comes. In walk the homeowners. Their jaws drop and they utter the rehearsed crude line: “Oh ***! Is this even the same house?!” Awkward laughs ensue. Another successful home renovation episode concludes.
Such is the exalted state of television these days. I imagine one John Senior calling down from heaven: “Smash the television set!” Someday, Mr. Senior, someday soon. However, for now there is an analogy to be derived from this.
Let us take the scenario one step further. Suppose the television stars take the house renovation and, without the homeowner’s knowledge, start smashing down all walls, cupboards, and countertops. The roof and front porch are removed. Even the foundation is jackhammered away and replaced with a combination of untreated wood, spray foam, and sand. The star renovators, being as ruthless as they are arrogant, leave little behind of the original house. To the dumpsters go the antique furniture, hand-crafted bannisters, and rock-solid oak flooring. In comes the shag carpets, rainbow wallpaper, and checkered linoleum. As the great reveal is made, the homeowners drop their jaws, though in disbelief, and murmur, “Is this even the same house?” This time the phrase is not accompanied with awkward laughter.