Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, Setting the American Dream’s Homeownerships Standard of Living and its Costs


1 Prof, FWS,UT

2 MA Student, American Studies


This article discusses how the Extreme Makeover: HomeEditionUS
television reality program, which focuses on rebuilding houses for those in need,
sets unrealistic boundaries for the American Dream’s standard of living of
low-income homeowners in the United States. Passing through economic hardship
in the past several years, it is important to study how this program can meet the
real expectations of the deserved families and viewers in a way that it doesnot
lead to more economic pressure for the selected family who is having their
house reconstructed. Based on Gerbner’s Cultivation theory, the media shapes
the peoples’ reality and view on the world around them and in this case,
it shapes the expectations of an American dream home. This article analyzes
how homeownership has become an American Dream and how the low-income
families participating in Extreme Makeover: HomeEdition had struggled to become
homeowners. It will do so by looking at five examples of families who have faced
difficulty in maintaining the lavish homes that have been rebuilt for them by
Extreme Makeover reality program team, with the use of a multidisciplinary frame
and discourse analysis methodology. Hencit will describe how this program has set
boundaries and raised expectations for the target families and viewers according
to the Cultivation theory.