by Frederick Pollack
The crew from “House Hunters’
won’t make him self-conscious: he is one, buzz-cut,
plug-shaped, fist-faced entity –
what would self-consciousness mean? And on that stretch
of that coast, one needn’t
jaw too much about Jesus and waste Sunday mornings,
which can be spent replanking
docks, upgrading systems
at his clubs, fielding complaints
from the properties in his wife’s name, consulting
whatever Martinez or Gomez
provides this season’s workers, and doing accounts.
Establishing shots –
teak decks with flowers, beach volleyball
(bikinis bouncing), eaters, a hanging swordfish –
are of a paradise he mostly owns,
best seen from the access road at a strictly enforced
(her brother is sheriff) forty. And
his House. But the house they are hunting
will be the younger son’s,
who has proved his usefulness in many ways;
whose biceps extrude like wurst from a sleeveless T;
whose pout (which is not the expression
of one who stands alone) contrasts
with the stolid brother and the brat-becoming-
slut kid-sister. Who are seldom shown.
It is the mother –
a wide blonde version of the boss –
who looms like a sandstone cliff
in background and reaction shots
as the boy repeatedly says that what he wants
in his new house is a game room,
and a weight room, TV room, and room
for his friends to hang out. The father’s face
is set in stern bestowal of reward.
Those of the friends,
briefly seen, though they are steadily, gamely
grinning, suggest not victory but loss.
And they choose — the boy chooses –
the second of three vinyl-sided mansions
in a treeless plain a mile inland.
There’s a yard, yards are good;
less pool than Number 1 but more garage
than Number 3 … we see him being judicious.
The mother talks, as women should,
about “nice light.’ The kid uses
for the eighth time in the program
the term “game room,’ and, somewhat baldly,
“babe-magnet’; pumps his fist and whoo-hoos.
We see him settling in.
There’s a girl, really smart, but the relationship
turns sour. A friend abuses
some privilege, gets kicked out –
though our hero himself breaks things,
lets crap pile up in long weeks working
for the Man. The camera
has long since left him, but the film continues.