Fool... but no pity.
EM:HE, and public perception
I notice there's a recent backswing on the popularity, or at least the social acceptance, of Surgical makeover shows. You know when Oprah builds a show around it, and Entertainment Tonight does spots about actors coming out against something, it's the point where the cultural phenomenon has maybe reached it's nadir and is starting it's backslide.
I'm wondering if the people behind Extreme Makeover: Home Edition--which I think has been a bigger hit than Extreme Makeover--have been beginning to regret the linkage of the "Extreme Makeover" brand name. EM:HE is a show which works HARD to portay itself in a good light--not only doing "good work" for people who need it, but also building on a premise of "helping the worthy, not just the needy". The best the original EM can do is play off the same weekly reoccuring theme of "helping self-esteem", and it gets old--even if the supply of willing participants will never ever dry out. In the end, EM can fall prey to criticism of being nothing but an exploitive freakshow--which devalues legitimate and medically advisable plastic surgery by equating it with things like chin and breast implants--whereas to see the possible heart of EM:HE's exploitiveness, you probably have to dig a bit deeper.
Of course, EM:HE still has it's own bad press to fight. The usual complaints, post-show, from one or two recipients that the work doesn't hold together. In the case of EM:HE this has been compounded by a scandal that the show is advising makeover recipients to use a weird formula to avoid their increased tax burdens, and the IRS doesn't quite agree with it--since they don't use the same definitions of "helping the needy" as network TV does.
So where does EM:HE go from here? I wonder if they have any concerns, or if the general glow around the show has been enough to overcome them?
Last edited by Krom; 05-22-2004 at 11:17 AM.
That is an excellent post, Krom! Really excellent thoughts, and I'm very curious myself as to whether there may be a name change in the future for Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. Thanks for the post!
Can't wait for this Sunday's show!!!!
What happened? I have not heard anything and I'm very curious, because we just finished paying taxes on our Monster House, and the Discovery Channel/Original Productions were wonderful to us, covering the whole burden outright.
Originally Posted by Krom
Never mind, I looked it up for myself. ABC Lawyers want the families to claim the improvements as rent, for the 10 days' shoot, and in that case, through a few loopholes and obscure codes, they would not owe taxes on it. If the IRS disallows it, I can't believe ABC would really stick a needy family with a $100,000 tax bill, though. I'm just glad Discovery didn't try anything fishy with us.
Re: the tax loophole, I think that's fair to do for needy families. The IRS is not exactly known for being compassionate, however, so I don't know how that will play out eventually. I'm not even sure ABC could just pay, because that in itself would count as prize money, which is also taxable.
Interesting, I never thought about many of the post-show ramifications.
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Fool... but no pity.
Frankly, it's not really the job of the IRS to have a heart. There does somehow have to be a way to "gift" something to these people and have it count more like charity than a "prize", or "rent", though.
Consider the family in the last episode. The value of that house had to be quadrupled, easily (I'm talking about the house itself--the land under it may only be worth marginally more). Once the house is reassessed, wouldn't that affect their property tax? (can you tell I'm a renter, not a homeowner? ) Now given the fact that there are only two salaries paying for a household of eight, and the salaries are coming from a pair of young twenty-something girls and not larger income-producing parents, there's got to be some way to assist them as if it were charity.
Last edited by Krom; 05-25-2004 at 12:06 PM.
Not only are the two older girls working, but I know that two other girls have jobs (grocery store and pizza parlor) and the male must have a job, right? It was hard to tell the ages of the kids ... they all looked so young, but the articles I've read states that the majority of the kids are over 18; they're 13, 14, 15 then all over 18.
The City of Livermore had helped them out immediately after their parents died. The 911 dispatcher and police officer rallied together and they fixed up the house a bit, the Sharon Osbourne show fixed their yard, but housing prices are sky high here in Livermore! It's ridiculous! I'll bet anything the house would start on the market at at least $2 Million now. (Old crackerbox 2 bd. 1 bt houses of 1000 sq. ft. fixer-uppers are selling for $400k ... insane, right? I'm a renter, too. I'll never be able to get outta here. Oy! SF Bay Area insanity!) If they ever sell, they're definitely looking at capital gains taxes, right? Somehow, they're going to have to absorb some of this. But in the meantime, I guess they could look at it as money in the bank. Borrow against the equity to pay taxes?
ABC could still pay, but then they would have to file a 1099 on the money they give the family, for the family to pay taxes on next year. All they have to do is give extra money (enough to cover taxes on the improvements, plus taxes on the money they are giving.) That is how Monster House did it for us.
Originally Posted by SnowflakeGirl
Since Monster House increased the square footage of our house by 80 sq ft (the balcony from Under the Sea) we got a call from the assessor, too, but they determined we did not need any increase.
Excellent posts and discussions!
I heard the often-made jokes of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition that people are doing plastic surgery in their homes. I heard it once from a local radio show and once on Regis and Kelly.
The show needs to change its name, or many people believe either EM:HE is a plastic surgery at home show or a "Mini-Makeover" show.
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