More Brunetz Musings on 'Clean House: Messiest Home in the Country 3'

Today's cuppa: breakfast-blend coffee


Clean_House_Mark_Brunetz On July 1, Style Network premiered "Messiest Home in the Country 3," the third annual "Clean House" special in which the show's host, Niecy Nash, and her team -- "yard sale diva" Trish Suhr, "go-to-guy" Matt Iseman and designer Mark Brunetz -- tackle the the most mind-bogglingly cluttered home in America.

Click here for the original post I did on the day of the broadcast with Brunetz, which inspired some passionate comments from viewers.

Some of what Brunetz and I talked about was a little too spoiler-ish for people who hadn't yet seen the show -- or wouldn't really make sense unless you had seen it -- so I've held part of the interview back until now.

(I'm sure more will come out when the "Clean House Comes Clean" behind-the-scenes episode airs. I've checked, and there's no airdate yet announced for that.)

In brief, the special focused on Cincinnati, Ohio, homicide detective Sharon Baglien and her adult daughter, Brigitte, whose home was impossibly stuffed with junk, a result of Sharon's shopping and her unwillingness to part with possessions, in particularly Brigitte's childhood toys and mementos.

Here's Brunetz on some of the background that may not have come out in the special:

"This particular story, more than any in the past, was a story of a woman who came from very humble beginnings, grew up and really wanted to give what she thought was the best life possible for her daughter.

"And, in doing so, she just thought that you buy, buy, buy, shop, shop, shop. The more material things you have, the better your life is. And we just so happened to catch her 30 years into it.

"And of course, her daughter was only 20, but this was their entire existence. I think that's something we haven't seen before. They don't know life (as being) any different. It was really difficult to pierce that layer."

The sheer volume of the clutter seems to have paralyzed the inhabitants, which often happens on "Clean House." Says Brunetz:

"It also speaks to many of us in our generation, that are looking for a simpler way of life. It can be overwhelming. Not to quote Sharon's word -- I don't know how many times she said it on the show -- but it was so far beyond that everyone was just numb to it.

"They weren't even numb to it, because they didn't even know it existed. They could call it clutter, and look around and see it ...

"What's really interesting, one of the things we discovered when we got there is that Sharon and Brigitte had completely altered their life and how they lived it. Getting up every day was like an obstacle course -- at least that's how we viewed it.

"They couldn't use the bathroom; they were drying dishes in the dishwasher; they couldn't use the oven; they had to do laundry at a neighbors'.

"There were so many thing that they had re-routed their lives around as a result of the accumulation, but yet that was just status quo. That was just a normal day in the life of Sharon and Brigitte."

At the root of it, the show is not about a "Clean House," but about the people inside, says Brunetz:

"The issue now is why we watch these reality shows. The cool thing about 'Clean House' is it is very human. More than ever, this is a two-hour special about humanity.

"I don't care where you are in your life, on some level, you're going to identify with this, whether it's an acknowledgment that you live clutter-free and orderly, or whether the extreme is, 'Oh my gosh, she's me,' or a million places in between. That's what makes the show so powerful.

"We're doing a local show right now where we have a mom who is almost OCD. She has P-Touched her closet, but yet she has called 'Clean House.' But that sets up a whole other dynamic, in which she's too controlling, and as a result, the husband's underrepresented in the relationship and in the house.

"It's amazing. Life is holographic. One thing has an amazing effect on everything else in your life."
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