Last night’s postponed airing on ABC of the first Extreme Makeover: Home Edition filmed in Houston proper made no mention of the mud-inducing and deadline-destroying downpours, the organizers’ multiple pleas for Gatorade, patio furniture, trim carpenters, siding installers, and plumbers — or the mad (and ultimately futile) rush for an on-time finish that was a major source of drama at the South Union site. But it did feature a brief pre-demolition “roast” of the Johnson family’s dilapidated original home on Goodhope St. by comedians Tommy Davidson, Ralphie May, and Paul Rodriguez, as well as a later appearance by supermodel Brooklyn Decker, (wife of tennis star Andy Roddick), flown in to design the 5 Johnson girls’ elaborate pink closet. Plus: plenty of those fawning building-product-delivery placement shots. On what looked like it could have been the limo ride back from IAH after the family’s Paris vacation, Cedric the Entertainer briefly “joked” to the girls that they wouldn’t get to see their new house right then. But viewers’ only delay was a commercial break.
If the new residence — built by HHN Homes and thousands of volunteers — wasn’t finished by the time the Johnsons returned, you wouldn’t know it from watching the big reveal on teevee. For the most part, views of the finished home and interior were spliced into footage of the family’s ecstatic reactions. Among the home’s secret-until-showtime features: The 3 girls’ bedrooms in the “Spanish-style” house were designed to evoke fashion capitals Milan, London, and Paris respectively. And to turn the home into the “fashion capital of Houston”: The huge upstairs hallway boasts a full-size runway, so the girls can put on their own fashion shows, the white catwalk lighting up at each step. Parents Eric and Elaine Johnson got a more conventional hotel-style bedroom “retreat,” and yes, a room downstairs to house marriage-counseling sessions for their non-profit venture, Optimum Lifestyle Unlimited. The home’s garden and playground next door, construction of which appeared to drag on after the deadline, didn’t show up in the episode at all. Also left on the cutting-room floor: Any explanation of the home’s green features, or help the family will be receiving to pay for its new utility bills.
But why hold back? A few not-seen-on-TV video clips now posted on the show website — including this very quick look at the construction process — provide a little more detail. And here’s a walkthrough:
- Extreme Makeover: Home Edition — Johnson Family [ABC]
- Extreme Makeover: Home Edition coverage [Swamplot]
Photos and video: ABC