Celia Rivenbark

HGTV’s ‘Flip or Flop’ couple could use some fixin’ up | From the Belle Tower

By Celia Rivenbark

Tribune News Service

It’s rare, perhaps even unheard of, for scandal to erupt in the wholesome can-do world of HGTV. But that was before the marriage of the popular hosts of “Flip or Flop” imploded in public. Cheating Tarek El Moussa must’ve decided marriage should be as “open concept” as whatever mid-century ranch the couple is perpetually renovating.

Naturally, I side with Christina, the Barbie doll wife who has always been the brains to Tarek’s brawn.

An intervention is called for now that Tarek has been outed for having numerous affairs with various nannies tending their two adorable children, all the while filming this popular show fueled by their chemistry as a couple. Sipping coffee from oversized mugs every morning while looking at their laptops for houses to flip, Tarek and Christina were the #goals of how married couples can succeed at running a business together. Alas, his affairs came to light after the cops were called to settle a domestic dispute. This might be a house that couldn’t be rehabbed into something better, shinier and possessing more Travertine. Or could it?

Clearly this is a case for Chip and Joanna Gaines, HGTV’s relentlessly plucky hosts of ratings blockbuster “Fixer Upper.” This show has managed to transform Waco, Texas, from a small city known mostly for having hosted violent cult leader David Koresh and his (“I’m With Crazy”) Branch Davidians back in ‘93 into a sunny and welcoming Texas town where the residents (seriously) greet one another with robust high 5’s (a fun drinking game while watching the show, by the way).

Before Tarek’s bad behavior, cheating multiple times on his hot but slightly robotic wife as they renovated rundown houses in overpriced Orange County subdivisions, I often thought they were the high falutin' couple compared to the Gaineses of Waco, where you can buy a two-bedroom house for roughly $250. OK, maybe not that cheap but REALLY cheap compared to those wretched fixers Tarek and Christina “snap up” for $500,000 in “the valley.”

The valley was filled with dolls like Christina, so different from the makeup-free beauty of Joanna Gaines and her sweat-stained goofball husband Chip.

They were HGTV’s yin and yang, both doing the same work but in vastly different parts of the country. I’m pretty sure Tarek’s idea of a good time wouldn’t be spending Saturday at the blacksmith shop forging a single nail like Chip did.

Just an idea: Bring the four together for a TV special in which Chip and Joanna “fixer up” the marriage of Tarek and Christina for a no-doubt astronomical TV audience.

Joanna could encourage Christina to lose a few dozen of her sparkly bracelets (can’t grout subway tile with all that jangling), wear more chambray shirts and maybe buy some goats to graze in the back yard. Chip could counsel Tarek on investigating new hobbies that don’t include doing the nanny; things like juggling fresh eggs, arm wrasslin' the young'uns and going to cockfights. OK, maybe not that last.

Ratings gold, my friends.