Hi, HGTV fans! Good Bones Season 6 is back and so are we, last season’s recap team—Megan Fernandez, the homes editor for Indianapolis Monthly, and art director and designer Kristin Sims. Our partner in crime Josh Cox sends his regrets this season.
As a reminder, in Season 5, the camera followed co-host Mina Hawk and husband Steve to their fertility doctor, where they learned that Mina probably wouldn’t have more children, then were later surprised with a miracle pregnancy. The season ended with a gender reveal cliffhanger. But while the most recent episode of Good Bones went out with a literal bang (an exploding balloon filled with colored powder), the premiere didn’t have any fireworks. It was filmed in the thick of the pandemic last year, so it’s a miracle they pulled off a season at all. Hoosiers—we just get on with it. The first episode was business as usual. And that’s what actually makes Good Bones unique—as we learned in our profile of Mina, HGTV considers this a docu-follow, not a formatted show for which the final product drives the decisions. Instead, HGTV’s cameras document the Two Chicks and a Hammer home-reno business and try to stay out of the way as the crew flips houses in neighborhoods near downtown. In this case, it’s a modest two-story with gingerbread trim that Two Chicks will try to save, in the Old Southside.
Kristin: This has a lot more charm to preserve than so many houses they come across. I hope they keep as much as possible. I was surprised at the budget, though. They will put in $200,000 and expect to make $20,000. I expected the profit to be more with a lot of houses already renovated on that block. It seems like a lot of work for 20 grand.
Megan: I thought the same thing, especially as the demo crew—Austin, Cory, and Tad—wrestle with removing a toilet with a full bowl until it falls over. Tad gets so grossed out that he has to run out of the house. You couldn’t pay me 20 grand to do that. Then they find a bag of liquified bread in the refrigerator.
Kristin: People don’t think about how much really goes into flipping houses. They think it would be easy to make a quick buck, but they don’t take all of the clearing, hauling, and foundations into account.
Megan: Mina and Karen also detect feces in the house on their walkthrough, and then Mina uses the shovel of an earth-mover she’s driving to shake a Porta Potty when Cory is inside. It’s very much the Good Bones we know and love: gross stuff, horsing around, a sweet house sadly forgotten—and Karen screaming at a secret treasure before cutting to a commercial.
Kristin: It was an item a contractor found in a wall—I thought it would be a carcass or an animal skull. By the way, it’s ridiculous that Mina is wearing flip-flops into a demo site. Tiny ones at that.
Megan: Speaking of shoes, that was the surprise: a child’s old shoe wrapped in material. It leads to best line of the show, from the contractor: “I spoke to a couple Wiccan friends …”
Kristin: Yeah, they told him it was a binding spell to ward off evil spirits … but then Karen opened it up to insert a message before putting it back in the wall, so does that make it null and void?
Megan: I guess the new owners will find out. Back to earthly matters, Tad wants to raise the ceiling to the heavens. He is beside himself when he shares the idea to vault the kitchen ceiling with Mina and Karen.
Kristin: It was going be a $1,600 venture and Mina vetoed it because they also have about $7,000 in foundation and flooring repairs and can only spare $1,000 for the vaulted ceiling. So Karen kicks in the extra $600. I’ve never heard of a host chipping in their own money.
Megan: It’s Season 6, they can afford it. The vaulted ceiling is the biggest change in the house. Otherwise, they aren’t altering the floor plan very much, and everything goes smoothly. The design is “nature chic,” meaning a clean palette of cool earthy grays and browns, anchored by a metallic-black glass chandelier dripping with drip. That’s what the kids say these days, drip.
Kristin: I like that their style and staging have mellowed. It’s not so kitschy and themey. You can see the difference since designer MJ joined the team.
Megan: There’s something unusual in the staging: a TV. They never use a TV because you’d see the camera crew in the reflection. They put artwork where a TV would go. But this TV is special. It was in the house many years ago, and they got it from a man named Denny, whose godfather lived here. Denny remembers watching the 1969 lunar landing on the TV in this house.
Kristin: I really enjoyed a visit from former owners or neighbors. The stories were more interesting than the usual potential-buyer tour.
Megan: Overall, the house was nice but we didn’t get to see the upstairs. The main bedroom—the show doesn’t say “master” anymore—is so small, they couldn’t fit end tables on each side. I felt the episode was more about the people. Karen’s red hair is silver now, Mina is mega preggers by the time of the house reveal, and Tad was as funny as ever, especially when Mina opened the front door to see Tad suspended on floating shelves in a herkie position. It was just so weird!
Kristin: I was thinking Tad on a shelf is your ideal piece of art. The Iron Timber guys made a hell of shelf if it could hold Tad like that. I was glad to see them back.
Megan: What did you think of the episode as a premiere?
Kristin: I’ll be curious to see if it’s a preview of things to come, like with a nostalgic reveal and the design direction. I feel like there is more maturity to their design, like they’re hitting their stride, especially with the staging—I think it is a huge part of the reveal because prospective buyers don’t always pay attention to the “good bones” of a house. Last season, we questioned the labeling of their themes, but this was a little tamer than, like, Hawaiian Cabin or something.
Megan: I’d actually love to see a Hawaiian Cabin. Fingers crossed for next week.