‘Nova makes ‘Space’ for TLC

Michael Lucarz

284A Murray Drive looks quite nice today, the inside suggesting little of the weekend debauchery and merriment known to go down from time to time. In fact, if it weren’t for the ALF poster slyly captioned by the phrase “Got Cat?”one might suspect the domestic dwelling of a few ‘Nova girls.

“Dude, it’d be so dope if this Trading Spaces thing went down here!,” Kevin Harty says with a laugh, leaning against the ALF wall. At this point it’s obvious that the only girls residing here would be on a temporary basis; this spot is a bachelor pad.

“Imagine what this place would look like if we had work done. Getting on TV would mean …,” Kev predicts rhetorically, his roommate “Crazy” Chris DuPrau nodding in approval. Jeff McLaughlin, completing the triumvirate of tenants, is on par as he contemplates the possibilities. It looks as though the reality TV bandwagon just stopped on the corner of Lancaster and Ithan, but the Murray Drive boys aren’t the only ones jumping on.

When students received an open call in their inboxes this semester for an opportunity to have Trading Spaces hostess Paige Davis and company come to Villanova, many responded, all hoped, but few were actually considered. And while the school is still in talks with Banyan Productions/DCI to finalize the deal, high hopes are “in the house,” so to speak, on the Main Line.

Harty’s is one of the few groups of students actually in negotiations with representatives from the network, narrowed down between different applications and even different schools within the area. And as roommates apprehensively await the final word, one thing’s for sure: no aspect of life is too dull for reality TV to somehow have its way with it.

For those not familiar with TLC’s most watched show, which boasts a six-million-per week viewership, it’s a competition-style contest between neighbors in which a set budget and timeframe allows for redecoration in the other’s house.

Sound a bit abstract? Surely, but then again this is reality television at its finest. After all, any interior design show that causes regular college guys to stop talking the usual and begin discussing pastels and color combos in the kitchen is a sign of a phenomenon.

But then again, the idea of gay men rummaging through a bodybuilder’s wardrobe and chastising him for not using the right hand moisturizer is also a bit odd, but it seems to work. Now that the TV genre has extended itself to the field of interior design, the sky is the limit. While ‘Nova kids like Harty look at it as just fun, the deeper sensibility is that the right shows appeal to us for the right reasons.

Trading Spaces is universal, with an energetic, Broadway-bound hostess catering to every demographic imaginable. The ability to merge seemingly incompatible folks with one another is a miracle made possible by TV, for all of its shortcomings and glamorization of the superficial. Allowing anyone with the chance to live vicariously in any way, through ordinary people, on television, as pseudo-celebrities, is a priceless privilege for most.

As Harty and company await the decision, they reflect the optimism and harmless good times fostered by such types of reality show-induced PR. There’s a sense of universality, and Kevin reflects it.

“We’re going to get it,” he maintains with a grin. “We’re going to get it.”