I watch a lot of House Hunters International before bed because I find it to be soothing and I like seeing how people live in other parts of the world. Over time, however, the format of the show has become predictable, so I did my own version that’s slightly different from what you would see on HGTV. I know this isn’t even close to what real scripts look like! Please forgive the formatting.
NARRATOR: Mallory and Ted have left Johnsonville, a small town in Wyoming, to make a fresh start in Sydney, Australia.
TED: Hi, I’m Ted, and I work in online advertising. I’d always wanted to live abroad, and suddenly the opportunity presented itself.
MALLORY: What actually happened was that a producer from House Hunters called Ted’s office and asked his boss if they could transfer an employee to Sydney so that House Hunters could film them looking for a house. Ted can do his job from anywhere, so his boss said ok. Oh, and I’m Mallory. Obviously.
TED: I was ready to never see another snowflake again.
MALLORY: I hate warm weather. And poisonous ocean creatures. Sunscreen gives me hives.
TED: Ocean life thrills me.
MALLORY: You won’t feel that way when a cone snail shoots a poison dart into your big toe and you die a slow and painful death. Ted.
Cut to Ted’s face. He has a plastered-on fake smile that looks awkward.
TED (weakly): We’re so excited.
NARRATOR: Ted and Mallory may have a tough time finding a house that fits all of their requirements, in part because the housing market in Sydney has recently become very competitive, but also because Ted and Mallory seem to have nothing in common. Ted wants to live in the center of the city, so they can “enjoy all the nightlife that Sydney has to offer.” Ted seems to have forgotten that he and Mallory have five children.
MALLORY (to the camera): It’s hilarious that he thinks we have time to enjoy anything.
NARRATOR: Today, Mallory and Ted are meeting with their relocation expert, Amber. Amber is inappropriately dressed for an HGTV show.
AMBER: So guys, tell me what you’re looking for in a house.
Cut to Ted being interviewed privately.
TED: Amber is hot!
Cut back to the group.
TED: We have five children—
MALLORY: Oh, he does remember.
TED: — so we ideally want six bedrooms, three bathrooms and a large garden for the kids to play in. And we have a dog (it’s a prerequisite for being on the show) so we need the garden to be fenced in. Plus, we’d like an in-ground pool and room for a swing set. Do you think we can get all that in the center of the city?
Amber looks at Ted like he just might be the dumbest American she’s ever met.
MALLORY: I want an American-style house: open concept, updated kitchen and baths, and stainless steel appliances. The fridge has to be American-sized. And I don’t want a pool because I don’t want to have to worry about the kids’ safety in the backyard.
[In the background, a huge snake dangles from a tree branch and then drops to the ground].
TED: I’m looking for a more traditional Australian home, like Queen Ann style.
MALLORY: Do you even know what that means? Ted.
AMBER: Anything else I should be looking for? [under her breath] A divorce lawyer, maybe?
MALLORY: I’m vegan. I should have mentioned that earlier. I always do. I’d like space in the backyard for a vegetable garden.
TED: And I don’t eat vegetables, only livestock and food products derived from livestock. I’d like room for a chicken coop so I can collect eggs and then eventually eat the chickens.
MALLORY (looking disgusted): I also need good Internet access for my online business. And I’m thinking of opening a llama rehabilitation clinic on the property, so we’ll need room for that as well.
AMBER: And what are we thinking for the budget?
MALLORY and TED: No more than $1,000 per month.
Cut to Amber being interviewed privately.
AMBER: It’s going to be quite a challenge to find a six-bedroom house for $1,000 per month. Plus, Mallory and Ted are looking for such different things. But I’m confident that I’ll be able to find them something.
NARRATOR: First up, their relocation expert takes them to see a house suitable for Ted.
TED: Amber, do you know if this house faces South? I may have forgotten to mention that I don’t want a house that’s South-facing. It’s a Sri Lankan superstition.
AMBER: I didn’t realize you were Sri Lankan.
MALLORY: He’s not.
AMBER: Well, anyway, this house features 3 bedrooms and 1 bathroom. It doesn’t have a pool, but there’s room for a pool. Maybe you could arrange with the landlord to have one put in.
MALLORY: What’s the price? And is there room for my garden? I’m vegan. Did I mention that?
AMBER: The rent is $1,200 US dollars per month.
MALLORY AND TED: Ooooh, that’s a bit over our budget.
They tour the house. A huge tarantula is glowering in the corner of one of the bedrooms, and you can hear the sound of some type of animal scratching around in the ceiling.
MALLORY (looking worriedly at the ceiling): Any idea what that sound is?
AMBER (casually): Probably just a wombat.
MALLORY: Are they dangerous?
AMBER: Not always.
TED: The kids would have to share bedrooms in this house. Jane is not going to like that. We promised her her own room.
MALLORY: Maybe we should just go back to Johnsonville?
TED (whispering to Mallory): We signed a contract with the production company, remember? We have to buy a house and live here for at least three months.
Amber clears her throat.
TED (to the group): I like the style of the house. It’s a typical Sydney home, and it feels cozy and comfortable.
MALLORY: Cozy is not the word I’d like to be using to describe a house for seven people. Plus, the refrigerator is barely big enough for two people. And the bathrooms definitely need to be updated. I really don’t want to do any work.
TED: I don’t mind doing a little work. We could put our own stamp on the house, really make it our own.
AMBER: Keep in mind that it’s a rental, so you won’t be able to do any work without the landlord’s approval.
Mallory smiles triumphantly at the camera.
TED: Oh wait, one more thing. I have an extensive gun collection that’s being sent from Johnsonville, and I’ll need a room in the house to display it.
AMBER: I’m afraid that won’t be possible, Ted.
TED: Why not?
AMBER: Because we have sensible gun laws in Australia, passed in response to a mass shooting in Tasmania in 1996. Since then, the number and rate of homicides has fallen markedly.
TED (to Mallory): I don’t think I can do this, babe.
END OF ACT 1
* * *
NARRATOR: Mallory and Ted have left Johnsonville, a small town in Wyoming, to make a fresh start in Sydney, Australia. So far, their relocation expert has shown them a Queen Ann style home for Ted. But Mallory thought the refrigerator was too small, and she wasn’t crazy about sharing the house with a wombat. So next up, they’re seeing a house that’s more in line with what Mallory asked for.
MALLORY (looking at the enormous house with awe): This house is how much??
AMBER: It’s $3,000 US dollars per month.
Mallory and Ted exchange a look.
AMBER: I know it’s over your budget, but I think you should give this house a chance. It has everything you’re looking for.
MALLORY: Room for a llama rehabilitation center?
Mallory and Ted walk around the house.
MALLORY: I feel like we’re back in the U.S. This place is huge!
TED: True. But I don’t see the point in moving halfway around the world to live in a house we could have back in Wyoming.
MALLORY: You’re right. We should move back.
An emu runs through the kitchen. Ted screams and jumps into Amber’s arms. She holds him like a baby.
TED: What?! Oh. Right.
Ted climbs down from Amber’s arms and smooths his shirt, looking embarrassed.
MALLORY: I think this house is perfect, except for the budget.
TED: It’s way over budget. But everyone can have their own bedroom, and we have space in the garden for vegetables, a llama rehabilitation center, and a chicken coop.
MALLORY: I wonder if llamas and chickens get along.
TED: I don’t think llamas get along with anything. Don’t they spit?
Ted leans over a plant in the garden to get a better look.
AMBER: Don’t touch that plant!!!
Ted jumps back.
TED: What is it?
AMBER: It’s spurge. Just touching it can kill you. Oh, and there’s a gigantic huntsman spider hiding under its leaves. Do you see it?
Ted looks and sees a spider that’s at least 14 inches across. It would take a car to kill it.
AMBER: The huntsman spider stalks its prey, rather than spinning a web as a trap.
MALLORY (to Ted): Why are we here again? We can’t even bring our guns! So many things to kill and no way to kill them.
TED: Maybe we should go back to Johnsonville and get a tiny house instead?
MALLORY: Oh hell no.
END OF SHOW