Colin McAllister and Justin Ryan have made a career of criticizing peoples’ drapes since 2000. The openly gay Glasgow-based design gurus’ home makeover reality series — Trading Up, The Million Pound Property Experiment, How Not To Decorate among them — have been some of the most popular of the genre, both on the BBC ‘over ‘ome and on HGTV here in the colonies.
The bickering twosome — McAllister’s the tall slightly more sensible one, Ryan the blonde prone to too-short ties, over-sized floral arrangements as corsages, and hissy-fits — have just launched their first made-in- Canada production. Sadly, Colin and Justin’s Home Heist has the feel of a franchise in its death throws.
Remember when the Avengers moved to Toronto to shoot its final series back in the 70s, how one of the era’s most stylish shows fell apart due to cheap production values and tax incentives? Welcome to Home Heist.
I’ve been a fan of Ryan and McAllister from the get-go but Home Heist is their first flop. The format seems to have been lifted from TLC’s Take Home Chef that cooking show starring that Australian dude who looks like Princess Di who ambushes “unsuspecting” victims in a supermarket with a film crew before taking them back to their place to make supper and A&E’s Sell This House with the busty Tanya Memme and the even bustier Roger Hazzard.
Take Home Chef's Curtis Stone (above) Sell This House's Roger Hazzard and Tanya Memme (below)
Instead of the truly appalling examples of DIY decorating the duo gleefully destroyed for their UK shows, Home Heist’s first episode finds Colin and Justin in an anonymous Oshawa living room decked out in 80s cast-offs from the Brick and a Pink Floyd poster. It’s downhill from there. At one point, they insist that the typically hapless hubby get dolled up in drag for some reason to assemble a bassinet. There are also a lot of shots of a white rental van racing between locations. Couldn’t afford to get the logo painted on the side, guys?
Ryan and McAllister — a couple off-camera as well as on — have rented an apartment in downtown Toronto for the duration of the show’s shoot. If the debut of Home Heist is any indication, they won’t be renewing their lease any time soon.
Colin & Justin's Home Heist airs on HGTV at 9 pm and 1 am Tuesdays and 2 pm Sundays.