Life at № 42 by E.M. Coutinho
Imagine this scenario: There are British people who want to live in a grand French country house, but they (a number on this program) can’t quite afford to do it. But they buy a chateau anyway and are then left to do things for which they have no knowledge or qualifications.
That’s the first part of the concept, the second is that they embark on “business” ventures which will then support this “lifestyle” — which in turn means they end up living like the help at a chateau, where they serve paying guests who actually get to use the good parts of the house.
Oh, I almost forgot to mention: MOST OF THE HOUSES ARE NOT ACTUALLY CHATEAUX! In fact there’s one called Chateau La Grande Maison, which is a contradiction if ever there was one. Another which was visited by a potential buyer was hilariously called Chateau Maison de Maitre which is a step up from a grande maison, but still not a chateau. I know this, as I own a Maison de Maitre myself 😀
All of this is narrated by the most horrifying voice over “professional” you have ever heard in your life. The woman puts the word chateau in front of anything which magically transforms the noun. And this is a chateau broom, which means you poor people can’t touch it. Everything about the show is so absurd one can’t take their eyes away from it. We have now watched every series and I narrate parts of the day like the voice over artiste. Making sure I put exactly the same nonsensical emphasis on the wrong words, Every Time.
All fun and games aside, I do have a very serious objection to this type of British program, which they’ve been making for about 20 years in various iterations. They inspire people to embark on adventures that put not only the person’s finances in peril – but are also detrimental to buildings. Not everyone, of course, some people in the show do know what they’re doing and accomplish it with great care and style — but you do get to see people slapping glossy paint on fine wood boiseries without any preparation and the use of gold paint in ways which I can only call obscene. In fact, gold paint should be prohibited altogether. Either do the real thing which is gold gilding, or leave it be. As Nancy Reagan used to say: Just Say No (to gold paint). Back in the real world, you cannot MacGyver a house of substance into existence. A kitchen is expensive. If you need to replace the central heating boiler you’ll spend twenty thousand euros. Trust me, we’ve done it all.