Tiny House Nation provides seen-it-all-before reality-TV makeover shenanigans with a hook that’s just interesting enough for an episode or two.
The history of the reality-TV makeover show is a storied one, but these things always amount to the same essential lie: They’re nothing to do with whatever they pretend to be about. Queer Eye isn’t really concerned with whether its subjects learn to dress more stylishly; Tidying Up With Marie Kondo has little to do with whether or not your house is clean. These shows are always about people. They’re about fostering better habits and providing those who’re struggling with a helpful lifeline. Most people would like, say, a new kitchen; very few people need one. But if you had that new kitchen, or you binned that years-old outfit, or you lost 200lbs, then perhaps you’d be better positioned to go out and fix the real issues in your life. Tiny House Nation continues this trend by only superficially being about tiny houses. Of more obvious concern is the people who want one, and what it might mean to those people to have one.
There are lots of different reasons to have a tiny house. They’re cheaper, they leave less of a carbon footprint, they’re exercises in creativity, they bring you (much) closer to whoever you’re living with. Take your pick. Whatever the reason, people are increasingly downsizing their homes, oftentimes so that they’ve only got space for the things that matter. It isn’t the worst idea.
Tiny House Nation purports to be a Netflix Original series, though I’m sure the show has been around in some form for quite a while. Either way, it’s presented by absurdly enthusiastic renovation experts John Weisbarth and Zack Giffin, who tour the U.S. helping to realize dreams of under 500 square feet. The novelty of seeing homes closer in scale to doll’s houses is reason enough to endure an episode or two of this new series, but its adherence to the typical makeover formula really starts to grate after a while. You’ve met all these people before, in one form or another, and after a short while you come to realize that no house is quite small enough to give these overly familiar underpinnings a new lease of life.