Genius Products // 2008 // 215 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // March 12th, 2008
Raise the roof.
For you home improvement suckers, here is a disc full of cutesy do-it-yourself renovation, one room at a time. Trading Spaces: The Specials features four full length Trading Spaces programs, apparently distinguished from their broadcast brethren by the fact they're special.
If you're not in the know, each 40-plus minute episode finds two sets of homeowners swapping houses for two days to work with a loopy designer and totally redecorate one room of the house. Teams get a wad of cash to spend, their own carpenter and access to a variety of power tools that would prove lethal for untrained amateurs. At the end of the two days, the couples switch back to take in what was done to their rooms and either weep uncontrollably or leap for joy.
The four shows on this disc represent some kind of gimmicky take on the formula.
* "Trading Castles"
Host Paige Davis and the Trading Spaces crew head across the pond to Scotland to redecorate rooms in two castles-turned-homes. On one side is a low-key dairy farming couple, on the other a lively pub-owning husband and wife team.
* "Home Improv"
The production team decides to turn the tables on popular designers Hildi and Doug by playing a massive prank on them. Instead of real homeowners, professional actors have been brought in to play a mother/son team (mom is a flirt and smitten with Doug, son is insecure) and a dysfunctional couple that recently suffered the loss of a dog, which will reappear in the design, stuffed. As the show progresses the drama gets out of control, mystifying the designers and turning out to be a lot funnier than I expected.
* "Town & Country"
Typically, neighbors swap rooms, but this time, two couples from thousands of miles away will participate: one pair from New York City, the other from a tiny town in Oklahoma with a population of 100.
* "Through the Roof"
In this 80-minute super-episode, all the designers and carpenters of the series gather for a massive, house-wide redecoration. Two couples from Georgia offer their homes up and the traffic glut of designers leads to uttered phrases like this: "Everybody's crazy. We're getting nowhere." A true cluster-@#$%.
OK, to be honest I don't know what to tell you that could possibly dissuade or persuade you to check out this DVD if you're not familiar with Trading Spaces. If you can't get enough of the show, like, say, my wife, then there's no doubt this selection of quirky spins on the series game-plan will appeal to you. If you can't stomach any more home improvement shows, then run away fast. All four episodes are interesting and different in their own way, but my favorite is easily "Home Improv," which had the potential to be lame but turned out to be pretty funny.
Full frame and 2.0 stereo audio mix is serviceable. A bonus episode called "Unglued," a clip show of gaffes and outtakes, is the lone extra.
That's it I think. Scope out the disc if you enjoy the show. There's a lot of bang for your buck.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Genius Products
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 215 Minutes
Release Year: 2008
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Bonus Episode
* Official Site
* DVD Verdict Review - The Best of Trading Spaces
* DVD Verdict Review - Creative Home Decor
* DVD Verdict Review - Great Kitchen Designs