TLC's 'Four Houses' a catty look at unreal estate

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There's something about people who are passionate about aesthetics -- they're so easy to offend. And yet they really do put their aesthetic beliefs into practice with often interesting or even astonishing results. And of course, that makes them perfect subjects for the catty world of reality television.

Similar to TLC's "Four Weddings," the network's new series "Four Houses," premiering Monday, July 2, takes advantage of all of that passion, setting up shop right where the fence between good and bad taste meets the wellspring of creativity.

The concept is pretty simple: Each episode of "Four Houses" puts four very different homeowners on tours of one another's homes to see just how much a reflection each home is of its owners' personalities. As the participants wander through the others' homes -- with the owner out of earshot -- they give their unvarnished take on what they see and rate the homes accordingly. And of course, each home is spectacular but not so spectacular as to be flawless in the eyes of anyone with a modicum of taste. You'll see golden toilets, copper tubs, curious antiques, more beige than you thought possible and definitely a few homes that you never thought possible.

In the end, the ratings are tallied, and the winner takes home a prize of $10,000 as well as the chance to have his or her home featured in a spread in Better Homes and Gardens. But unless you're one of the contestants, that's not what this show is really about. What this show really delivers, if the pilot is any indication, is the voyeurism of what people will say about other people's homes when they're not around to defend themselves or their tastes.

Because where there's passion, there's opinion, and when these people's sensibilities get offended, they do not hold back. The end result is a show with a lot of interesting decor, a lot of drama and a lot of laughs.
Photo/Video credit: TLC