You’ve probably watched Chip and Joanna Gaines’ Fixer Upper on HGTV. If you have not, you probably aren’t reading this review. As an avid fixer upper myself, I have probably seen all of the episodes, many, more than once. I inherited my ability to fix things from my father and really enjoy it. I might even enjoy watching it more than doing it myself thanks to shows like Fixer Upper. I have even been to their Magnolia site in Waco, TX – I would be what you would call a “big fan”.
I live Home Town better. Yeah, I know, that’s blasphemy to many people, but I really do.
The HGTV show, Home Town, is a very similar type show to Fixer upper that features Ben and Erin Napier as the remodelers who are based in the small town of Laurel, Mississippi. Chip and Joanna focus on their client’s buying the worst house in the best neighborhood with the goal of remodeling the home to their client’s needs and making it’s value much higher when they are done.
Ben and Erin’s entire focus is to support the revitalization of Laurel and the surrounding area by remodeling the homes all over the city, helping to create and foster a town personality that draws on its roots, history and traditions(1). This idea is so compelling that HGTV has green-lit a new show called Home Town Takeover where Ben and Erin take their “show on the road” to help revitalize someone else’s struggling town. I am from a small town and a big believer that it is incumbent upon us as a society to continue to revitalize these places, especially in light of the pandemic impacting larger towns in a much more devastating way than smaller ones.
Besides the focus of the show, I love the hosts. Ben and Erin are quite possibly the cutest TV couple ever. After just watching one episode, you can feel the depth of their love for each other, their family, their friends and their town. It absolutely oozes from them in every interaction from the opening montage to the final wrap-up. This is not surprising because they both love the Lord and don’t mind sharing that fact – two good stories can be found on Guideposts and Liberty University. They also have a good book about their life, have contributed to a coffee table cookbook and collaborated with other people from Laurel to document local stories.
It is so refreshing to see how God works in the Napier’s lives – loving their town, their neighbors and each other. God’s love permeates each episode and you can’t walk away without feeling strengthened and encouraged to love more. It is a show that features good Biblical models for loving your neighbors and each other – I just can’t get enough.
36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” 37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[a] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b] 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
– Matthew 22:36-40