"a family spent three months living as Victorians, and THE 1900 HOUSE chronicles their experiences."
August 6, 2000 7:52 AM   Subscribe

"a family spent three months living as Victorians, and THE 1900 HOUSE chronicles their experiences." Personally I find everything from Real World to Big Brother to Survivor disappointing, and only occasionally more entertaining than dog food commercials. The 1900 House takes the idea of 'reality-based' programming to an unprecedented level of maturity and elegance. I wish we had more shows like this one.
posted by ZachsMind (3 comments total)
I just read the whole website on the 1900 House. Wow! What an experience for that family. I would've LOVED to be in their shoes. I have a whole love for Victorian Houses and now I really wanna see this show. They need to do more things like this....at least you can learn something. The other shows like the ones you mentioned are just a waste of time.
posted by FAB4GIRL at 1:42 PM on August 6, 2000

Agreed. While I do watch junk TV like Real World, 1900 House was unique and - more importantly - interesting. I watched an ep in which they had to clean the house... it took all day. Cleaning the bed, for instance, took complete disassembly of the bedframe for starters.

Now if they could do 2200 House, that'd be neat.
posted by hijinx at 2:18 PM on August 6, 2000

Oh I used to watch Real World too, and I saw Big Brother for the first time the other day (I can really relate with that George guy). I'm not saying anyone who watches that is uncultured or something. Occasionally these programs rise above themselves and do something memorable. It's too few and far between though. 1900 House was consistently above the bell curve. I read somewhere they're considering doing a similar mini-series called '1940 House' but it won't have quite the impact that this one did.

It's difficult to properly 'invent' the right story concept for a series of this sort. There appear to be two types.

1) A completely controlled environment

2) An attempt to just chronicle what happens

1900 House does both and yet neither. The producers and Behind The Scenes people provided everything they could think of ahead of time, calculated all potential hazards and risks involved, and created a restrictive but exciting environment that is both realistic and true to itself. Everything is controlled and monitored early on. Then the family actually is placed into the situation. From this point on it shifts. All attempts are made by the crew itself not to be too intrusive and just let them live in this new environment. So it works a bit more like a classic documentary. It's a controlled, uncomfortable, at times even unfriendly environment. It's been proven in history that people can live this way. This family has to find out how, and we learn as they do, which builds the suspense.

Rules are laid out beforehand and constantly referred to. They're intricate but based on common sense. It's not something concocted and stupid like, "if you eat this frog and jump on one foot across a room filled with hot coals, we'll give you a chocolate milk and your friends will hate you." The challenges are bourne naturally from the situation they are in. This is how Survivor SHOULD have been, but the insurance companies probably would have all committed harikari.
posted by ZachsMind at 3:39 PM on August 6, 2000

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