Werner Herzog Narrates Fixer-Upper

As Andrea enters the kitchen, she sees no island. Andrea has hoped for an island in her kitchen for perhaps her whole life. To her it represents a steady point in the midst of whirling insanity. An island jutting up in the ocean of her kitchen would mean that man may take a stand against the unfeeling forces of nature and cry for order in the black cosmos. You can see how crushed she is in the tremor of her right eye. There. Hope has drained away in an instant.

She shows us an intensity that I have seen in the eyes of a person who has been overcome by the barren wastes of Antarctica. Who sees in the austerity of the landscape not possibility, but nothingness.

There’s a nobility in Joanna that surfaces in moments like these. She reads Andrea with total understanding. She suggests that an island may be added. Further, she turns to Chip and asks if he believes that the walls in the adjoining dining room could be covered in shiplap. He says that he believes such a thing may be possible.

In this moment, Andrea’s face changes. She acknowledges here that she has escaped the terror of a kitchen without an island. She acknowledges the joy that will be hers when she possesses a dining room whose walls will bear plain, rustic wooden boards, this “shiplap”.

However, look closer at her face. As a filmmaker I’ve become attuned to the myriad types of emotion. To me, even a program on HGTV is like a cereal aisle in a grocery store of human despair. So much variety.

And I see on Andrea’s face a mask of relief. By this I mean that her expression hides her true feelings. She has not truly felt a change.

In the moments when she believed she would not have an island in her kitchen, she contracted a kind of disease of dissatisfaction. She learned then that such abysses of disappointment do exist in human experience. Though the horror of living without an island in her kitchen has been avoided, nevertheless she has learned of the existence of such terror. Having witnessed the truth of the howling void within her, she will never again be free of it.

Andrea and her monosyllabic husband, Dan, choose this house.

Finally, it is demo day. But the truth is that demo day has already come and gone. A demo day of Andrea’s trust in a universe that cares about her desires. A demo day of her belief in a harmonious and meaningful existence. Unlike the house, Andrea will never be fixed.

Chip and Joanna see themselves as agents of order and harmony. I see them as purveyors of an impossible dream, one from which Andrea has only just awakened.

Chip is very funny. A comedic genius, I think.

Werner Herzog Narrates Fixer-Upper

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