I’m Ready for Fixer Upper to be Over


I can’t remember when exactly I started watching Fixer Upper, but I was pretty immediately hooked on it. I loved Joanna’s design style and I loved watching the sweet couple’s witty banter with each other. Most of all, I think I loved the concept of investing in a truly ugly, sometimes condemned-looking house and renovating it into a beautiful home.

Last summer, I read Chip and Joanna Gaines’s memoir, The Magnolia Story, and I stalked social media in envy as one of my friends trekked to Magnolia Market in Waco and posted a million pictures of it. I was in, you guys. I was all in.

Now I find myself nearing the end of their final season, and I’m ready to throw in the towel and stop watching. I’m not even interested in seeing the season finale. Here are a few of my issues with the show:

1. Chip and Jo are no longer renovating fixer uppers. 

My all-time favorite episode of Fixer Upper (with the only possible exception being the house with the terrarium) is season one, episode one, when Chip and Jo renovated a dilapidated 1930s mansion for Charmaine and Chuck Gorman and their adorable little girl. The house was a complete tear-down — the kind of abandoned spectre you see at the end of the street in a horror movie. And Joanna touched it with her special brand of magic and turned it into a dream house on a budget of only $125,000. I have watched that episode over and over again, and the transformation never gets old. 

The way that they’re choosing to end the series couldn’t be any further from the way that they started it. This season, we’ve seen couple after couple tour houses that look move-in ready, with “budgets” that make my eyes bulge. If you have three-quarters of a million to spend on a house, why are you buying a “fixer upper?” Why are we watching Chip tear out perfectly good kitchen cabinets and Joanna install antique doors and shiplap in homes where it isn’t historically accurate? One of their “fixer uppers” this season wasn’t even a fixer upper in any sense of the word — it was a new build! Chip was quoted this season saying that Joanna likes to make old homes look new and new homes look old. It may just be my personal preference, but I would rather watch an old, beat-up home get renovated for a sweet family on a small budget than watch a crazy rich family pay to have the Gaines renovate a home that needs no renovation — with no expense spared. Time to turn off Fixer Upper and start watching Hometown instead. 

2. It’s also becoming harder and harder for me to buy into Joanna’s brand of perfection

One of the biggest take-home messages from The Magnolia Story is to stop striving for perfection. How many times have I, as a mother, struggled with feeling like my house needs to be more clean or needs to have nicer decor, but then I just don’t bother because of my kids? I was shocked to realize that Joanna Gaines, who seemingly has it all together, has struggled with the same thing: 

“I realized that my determination to make things perfect meant I was chasing an empty obsession all day long. Nothing was ever going to be perfect the way I had envisioned it in the past. Did I want to keep spending my energy on that effort, or did I want to step out of that obsession and to enjoy my kids, maybe allowing myself to get messy right along with them in the process? I chose the latter – and that made all the difference.” (excerpt from The Magnolia Story)

I loved reading about how Joanna has been on my level, dealing with the same unrealistic expectations that I wrestle with on the daily. However, the more I watch the show, the less I believe in her quote (or, at least, that her quote is accurate anymore). If she believes in making messes, why is her farmhouse always so spotless? (And when does she have time to actually feed and care for those farm animals, or tend her garden, for that matter?) Why does she install white couches and glass feature walls in homes with young children, where it will be impossible to keep them clean? How does she expect all of the crayons to stay organized in the antique farmhouse toolbox? I realize that much of what she does is “staging,” but I would love to get just a glimpse at where staging ends and real life begins. Why strive to maintain a perfect image when you have supposedly given up the pursuit of perfection? It seems disingenuous to me. 

Which brings me to the last reason that I’m done with Fixer Upper:

3. Over time, watching Fixer Upper has only served to make me feel more discontent with my home.

The house that I’m living in right now looks nothing like the homes being renovated on HGTV. It’s a “starter home,” the first home that my husband and I have ever bought together after seven years of apartment-hopping. When we moved in, we immediately began filling our new home with children, and we haven’t really had time (or the budget) to renovate. There’s nothing terribly wrong with our house, and it suits my little family just fine, but it can be easy to ignore all of the sweet family memories that we’ve made here and become focused on the stray crayon markings on the walls and that spot on the floor where my son scratched the wood laminate. After hours of binging Fixer Upper, I’m left with a wistfulness, and…let’s face it…an envy that does more harm than good. Lately, watching the show is the equivalent of watching an extended infomercial for Kilz paint and Magnolia Homes furniture (and don’t forget the new Hearth & Hand decor line exclusively available at Target). 

What has happened to the heart and soul of the show that I used to love? In the future, I may still indulge in the occasional Saturday morning re-run (I’m looking at you, pilot episode!), but for now, I’m kissing Fixer Upper goodbye. 


  1. I couldn’t agree more. When the show first came out I DVR’d episodes and my best friend and I would binge watch episodes(she doesn’t have cable). The overexposure that HGTV created of 24/7 loop of Fixer Upper episodes really burned me out. Plus it really felt like a big Magnolia experience infomercial. Showing the Silos, B & B, Bakery & Restaurant just felt like an oversell IMO. I loved the beginning of the show and I genuinely love that they seem to be stepping away knowing that this is what’s best for them. I just wish they had gone back more of what first drew people in.

  2. Yes! The way they’ve got Chip saying, “I only use Kilz paint,” and constantly plugging all of their side businesses just really leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Their first few seasons were the best! Before they were famous! 🙂 And before they used to shiplap basically everything.

  3. Ditto to all. So overexposed. They turned a sweet and simple gig into a soulless empire. I am turned off by it all….actually repulsed.


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