Stream It Or Skip It: ‘Zillow Gone Wild’ On HGTV/Max, A Series Based On The Popular Instagram Account With Crazy Houses For Sale – Decider

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The new HGTV series Zillow Gone Wild is based on the popular Instagram account that shows real estate listings for insane houses. These could be houses that are insane on both the inside and outside or, sometimes the better choice, normal-looking houses hiding some really insane decor. Host Jack McBrayer visits three insane houses in every episode. What kind of craziness will he find?

Opening Shot: A candle is lit. Sexy music plays. “You know you’ve done it,” says host Jack McBrayer. “alone at night, scrolling, scrolling, until you find that one… perfect… real estate listing!”

The Gist: In every episode, McBrayer visits three houses and rates them on three categories: Creativity, Commitment and Wackadoodle. Why does he rate them? Because the winning house goes into a bracket, where the “Wildest” house will eventually be determined.

The first house, in York, NE, is made from a decommissioned missile silo. The guy who’s trying to sell it made it into an “extreme man cave”, though it looks pretty cozy 50 feet underground. And it’s protected by multiple blast doors! As a bonus, the owner takes McBrayer to the actual silo part, where the missile was once at the ready.

The second house, in Los Angeles, is what they call a “Snow White House.” Just purchased by its current owner, the house looks like it might have been occupied by the OG Disney princess and her dwarf buddies, complete with scaled down items like windows and banisters.

The third home, outside Las Vegas looks somewhat normal on the outside, though there are cars and motorcycles out front. It’s essentially a labor of love for its owner, who collects vintage cars and motorcycles, and uses old cars as part of his decor. Inside, for instance, he has an old Model T as an entertainment center. In the backyard, a 57 Chevy lights the pool area.

What Shows Will It Remind You Of? There have been shows about wild homes before, like The World’s Most Extraordinary Homes, but Zillow Gone Wild gives the genre a bit of a comedic spin.

Our Take: It’s hard to translate an Instagram feed to a series. The surprise we often get from a listing posted by the Zillow Gone Wild account is seeing the normal-looking first few slides, then getting the shock of seeing, say, a BDSM-room in the basement or multiple rooms that have the look of Studio 54 circa 1978.

You don’t quite get that level of surprise in the series Zillow Gone Wild, but McBrayer more than makes up for it. He’s pretty much the perfect host for a show like this, because he has the rare combination of being genuine while also being sharply funny at the same time. He’s never punching down here; he’s truly engaged and amazed by what he sees, and his G-rated exclamations like “Oh my gosh!” sound authentic. But when he’s being funny, he manages to do it without being exceedingly corny.

The tournament aspect of the show, which includes viewers being able to vote on what ends up being the “Wildest House” during the show’s next-to-last episode, is superfluous, but harmless. What we did like were the updates that were given about the houses that were on the market when McBrayer visited them.

Sex and Skin: Besides real estate porn, there’s nothing.

Parting Shot: After the house that gets put into the bracket is selected, we see some scenes from the next episode.

Sleeper Star: Steve, the guy who owned the auto-themed house near Las Vegas, really put his heart and soul into that place, including every aspect of his very interesting life into the decor.

Most Pilot-y Line: To be honest, do we need any rating other than “Wackadoodle”?

Our Call: STREAM IT. If you like crazy houses, then Zillow Gone Wild is your kind of show. It may not have the same vibe as the Instagram account that inspired it, but McBrayer’s enthusiasm makes the show very watchable.

Joel Keller (@joelkeller) writes about food, entertainment, parenting and tech, but he doesn’t kid himself: he’s a TV junkie. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, Slate, Salon,,, Fast Company and elsewhere.

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