If you’re a fan of the ole renovation, remodeling and reshaping “skill” reality TV shows, then you need to be watching Hotel Impossible. You need to be watching it because I am a connoisseur of all of these shows, and let me tell you, it’s the best one by far, which is weird and inexplicable because it gets no publicity, and I think it airs about once a month at 2 a.m. on the Travel Channel or something. (Reality check: It’s actually Mondays at 10 p.m., but yes, Travel Channel.)
For some reason, you might decide that you do not want to take my word about this show’s wonderful quality. In that case, I have several retorts. Firstly, you can check out clips here. For something I recommend, here’s him checking out a 1970s style room in the Catskills.
What should be immediately apparent from the clip is that the show has a slightly relaxed tone as compared to the hyperbolic mania of Robert Irvine, Gordon Ramsay and John Taffer’s offerings (Kitchen Impossible, Kitchen Nightmares and Bar Rescue, respectively). With most of these “improvement” shows, they start out focusing on the renovation aspects before giving into episodes about DRAMA as time goes on. You could call this Real World syndrome, as the novelty of “strangers living together!” erodes into “strangers forced to work together!” and finally “strangers forced to drink, fuck and fight together!”
Hotel Impossible is still in that sweet spot of mostly just focusing on the host, Anthony Melchiorri, fixin’ up horrible hotels. It could be the fact that seasons only seem to run about 10 episodes, but that hasn’t gotten formulaic yet for me through three seasons. Yes, they have the contrived aspect of “Will the designer finish the renovation?” every episode, but the problems at the hotels are varied enough from episode to episode to keep me interested.
Examples of these problems? Alcoholic owners, people trying to turn over 200 rooms with no previous hotel experience, cheapskate owners who can only identify short-term money savings, improper housekeeping standards, horrible attached restaurants, and in the most recent new episode, the afore-seen Catskills resort that was staying open in the winter despite no customers, because it was a million miles away from a proper ski range.
To me, there is always a balance that producers of these shows need to strike between accurately portraying the issues a business faces, and actually having enough footage to make for a viable episode. I’ve always been far more into the slower, less dramatic shows, like the UK version of Kitchen Nightmares and, currently, Hotel Impossible. The other shows on the air now have veered too much into obviously staged drama, or they don’t focus enough on the nuts and bolts of the changes. Bar Rescue used to be a lot better at showing you why Taffer was doing something, whereas now, it’s normally like 40 minutes of him yelling at someone.
|Casey Noble [left] and Blanche Garcia.|
There is also one prurient reason that the show is appealing to male viewers – All of the designers are attractive ladies. And by this, I mean Casey Noble and Blanche Garica. They are sassy, and all sorts of all-right. (Ladies, they do also usually have some sort of hunky construction guy at various sites, but no, there isn’t anybody on the Robert Irvine gunshow level.)
The picture of Noble comes from this thread on an IGN board. Garcia’s photo from comes this blog, which republished or scanned a newspaper article about one of the renovations.