‘Zillow Gone Wild’ Review: Jack McBrayer Tours Weird Homes – KQED

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“It has to be something we’ve pretty much never seen before,” says Mezrahi, a former social media director at Buzzfeed, in an interview with NPR.

Setting a “wild” tone

The first segment of the first episode sets the tone: Homeowner Andrew Flair shows off the converted U.S. military missile launch facility in York, Neb. The unusual property has very thick steel doors and no windows.

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“It’s all underground, covered in concrete, and if, for some reason, a bomb goes off, you’ll be safe,” Flair says on the show.

And in episode three, homeowner Kitty Reign tours viewers around the Pirates of the Caribbean-themed residence in Las Vegas she’s selling. This swashbuckler’s paradise comes with a decorative wooden helm (“Everybody plays with it!”) and a tavern (“Kind of our own little secret pirate nightclub!”)

Hosted by comedian Jack McBrayer, who played Kenneth in 30 Rock, the show features 24 homes from around the country either up for sale or recently sold. But only one of them will be crowned the country’s “wildest” at the end of the series, as assessed by HGTV executives. Viewers who correctly guess the winning home can enter a pool for the chance to win $25,000.

Two women in short dresses stand in the middle of a room that looks like a pirate-themed bar. They are talking to a white man, wearing basic t-shirt and blue jeans.
Kitty Reign and her wife, Jennifer, show host Jack McBrayer around their ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’-themed house, as seen on HGTV’s new series ‘Zillow Gone Wild.’

The judging criteria include creativity, commitment to a concept or theme and a quality McBrayer describes as “wackadoo.”

“That special thing that sets this property apart,” says McBrayer on the show. “We reward impracticality.”

The growth of an American pastime

Ogling real estate listings on social media has become an enormously popular American pastime in recent years. Saturday Night Live even did a skit about the trend in 2021. (“The pleasure you once got from sex now comes from looking at other people’s houses.”)

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Mezrahi, who’s based in New York, says he has long made a hobby of idly browsing Zillow. He started Zillow Gone Wild as a side project in the fall of 2020, knowing it would probably catch on. Mezrahi initially launched it only on Instagram, but soon expanded his offering to Facebook, Twitter, TikTok and a newsletter.

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