Two Different Homebuying Shows
As far as “reality” TV goes, you can’t get two more different personalities than Tatiana Londono (on the left) and Sandra Rinomato (shown below). Granted, the premise of each show is entirely different: The Property Shop “follows” (scare quotes because the show is scripted as reality shows really are) the trials and tribulations of Columbian Canadian Tatiana Londono’s opening of a real-estate agency here in Montréal, while in Property Virgins, Toronto-based Sandra Rinomato guides buyers into purchasing their first home. But there’s enough in each show to like and dislike to keep me coming back.
I’m pretty sure Tatiana would agree with me if I said she’s loud and has an extraordinarily big ego. In fact, she would probably laugh and take it as a compliment. Self-effacing she is not, and I suppose no successful real-estate broker can afford to be. But, despite that, there’s something about her show I really like although I can’t quite put my finger on it. Clearly she likes the camera as much as it likes her, but I think the draw for me is how the camera presents Montréal, either from the air or at street level, showing the city’s good sides as well as its warts. I can’t imagine people who have never been here to be turned off by the images of this city; they might even be intrigued enough to see it for themselves one day. Plus, the producers also manage to include a host of quirky characters who truly represent the range of eccentrics who reside in this city.
Certainly no one can say Tatiana lacks guts: it takes some doing to go against the established big boys and start a real-estate agency in a market like Montréal’s, and succeed despite the economy coincidentally taking its biggest nosedive in decades. Although helped by her husband and business partner Oran, she definitely has a lot of business savvy or else her venture would have disappeared long ago. But, that leads me to the part of her show I don’t like: her “genius,” if you’ll allow me to employ that term, simply doesn’t come across on the show. Sometimes we get these close-ups with her where we expect nuggets of wisdom matching the pearl necklace she may be wearing to fall from her mouth, but those pearls consistently fail to materialize. At least on camera, she’s long on theatrics but short on insights.
As I said at the start, comparing The Property Shop and Property Virgins is a classic case of comparing apples and oranges in that the only commonality is that both are shows about real estate. But one stark contrast is that I feel Sandra Rinomato is scripted to provide insights. And I can’t say I dislike her perky on-screen personality.
So, I guess that’s why I was quite surprised prior to writing this post to find just how many people viscerally dislike Sandra. It’s open season on some parts of the Web to insult everything from her appearance, her manner, her age, her dress, her voice, her rack, and what not. One would think she’s the most vile and hideous thing to ever hit the real-estate market and TV screens. She described as pushy, sounding like a squirrel, dressing age and size inappropriately, and ugly because of the gap between her two front teeth. It all comes across to me as extremely misogynistic. She’s not the pretty and young bombshell that Tatiana is, but good grief!
Critics of her show also dislike how the first scene is always a meeting with the future homebuyers in their preferred neighbourhood, which is almost always way out of their price range, and the fact she makes them take a stab at the price of the house after they’ve viewed it. Some point out that no decent real-estate agent would do that, and truth be told, they wouldn’t if this WEREN’T A TV SHOW! The homebuyers are brought into houses priced in the range they said they were willing or able to spend, so, aside from providing a bit of entertainment value, this practice is simply part of “educating” these first-timers.
I always find it a little weird, not to say unsettling, how some people take so personally and literally what they see on TV. I would never decide, based on their respective TV shows, that Tatiana is a bubblehead or a genius or that Sandra is a bitch or a saviour. I just think both are simultaneously likeable and dislikeable, and that’s all it takes to keep me watching. And while there are plenty of dislikeable people on these “reality” shows, I fail to see the point of posting execrable things about them online. Just change the channel!