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London calling (from your TV)

My love for HGTV is pretty well documented (just look at my DVR list). I’m so in love that I’ve considered massive career changes including interior design and real estate (waiting to buy and decorate my own place and rate the experience before I drop everything). I love this darn TV channel so much that I terrified a new coworker, fresh from Toronto, about the suburb of Mississauga where Sandra Rinomato leads around property virgins and where Sarah and Tommy do all their flea shopping on Sarah’s House and Sarah 101. Luckily this new coworker still speaks to me.

But just when you think I couldn’t love HGTV more, they launch “Selling London,” the next edition of the hit real estate show that started in New York (love when I see realtors from that show on the street!) and continued into L.A. I’m just a bit of an Anglophile (despite only having been there, uh… four times?) so when you pair real estate, London glitz and that accent, I am SOLD (bad pun intended, as usual).

Here are some of the reasons why I love this show after just one episode:

1. Reality bites
They ditched the “real” and are just called estate agents. At $25 million for a house, it’s a much more apt title and so much more chic, don’t you think?

2. Cheeky buggers
Brits have that dry, understated style of description that is the best. Examples (read with accent in your head, or out loud if you feel so inclined, it’s a free world):

“You’ve got paps outside, just a nightmare.”
“I rather liked it myself.”
“Look at that fireplace… that’s superb.”

The estate agents are also harsher on their clients than their American counterparts in a Maggie Smith/Downton Abbey/dry humor sort of way and it just makes for entertaining watching. This one estate agent, who sounds exactly like Michael Gambon, loves to hate his gajillionaire Chinese client Elaine Zhang, saying “she’s a bit fickle” and rejects properties for the “stupidest of reasons.” Once she was late and called to cancel, and when his assistant let him know, he called her “my dear friend Elaine Zhang” and “how kind of her… she’s already an hour and a half late.” So good.

“Michael Gambon” and Elaine Zhang. I want her hat. And she was a brat so I wanted to post a picture of her with a stupid facial expression.

3. It was, like, in the news
The properties showcased on the show directly relate to current events and trends and we’ll take whatever slim chance TV gives us to keep things culturally and intellectually relevant. So, for example, one estate agent said “London is very a global market: eastern Europe, southeast Asia and the far East is where the buyers predominantly come from.” To his point, last week in The Economist there was an article all about rich Russians coming to London and using services to source their entire lifestyle — their home, kids school, even what art they collect — in order to be at the top in their new city. I suppose that is why everything sold on the show appears to be furnished and decorated to the max.

Speaking of decorating to the max, all the houses (in absurd price points like $25 million, where as Selling New York listings are usually $1-10 million) have pools. That reminded me of this article last year in The New York Times about the “big dig” in London — rich people creating more space underground for pools and other things. All the rumbling had their neighbors getting their proverbial knickers twisted.
Did I give you enough reasons to watch it? I hope so because it’s on tonight! DVR is set. HGTV USA, airs Thursdays at 9:30 p.m. EST.

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