In season four of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, the central character is still getting to grips with modern life after being detained in a bunker by Jon Hamm since the late Nineties. So her friend, high-maintenance musical performer Titus Andromedon, has to explain Netflix to her (which is called Houseflix on the show, for legal reasons).
“You know Al Gore, who invented the internet?” he breezes, confidently. “Well, there’s an ‘Al Gore rhythm.’ It’s a very powerful rhythm and it picks things it thinks you like.” However, Kimmy is perturbed to find so many murder documentaries. “It’s white lady porn,” Titus continues. “Their lives are safe and predictable, so every once in a while they need to see a guy push a woman down a staircase.”
After laughing at this, I then went on to assess my own Houseflix Al Gore rhythm, and sure enough, I’m a hideous stereotype. But Titus failed to mention the other kind of white lady porn; Netflix interiors shows. They make The Real Housewives franchise look like Straight Outta Compton. Take Stay Here, which is a monument to insufferable white privilege – a makeover show for your Airbnb property. I mean, I don’t know about you, but it’s so hard to furnish your Seattle houseboat when you’ve got a busy life. Who has the time to shop for doodads AND make sure your post is search engine-optimised? Not me! Luckily, there are two people who do, a woman with big hair whose name escapes me, and Peter, an English real estate ‘guru’ with a suspect transatlantic accent and black framed glasses, who says things like, “We’re niche-ing out, yo.”
The first episode follows the owners of the aforementioned Seattle houseboat. They’ve only ever had one guest, and aspiring Tom Hanks or Meg Ryans wouldn’t touch it with a bargepole. It’s a bit poky, the fridge is too big, and the bedroom is up a terrifying ladder. But to be fair, it’s a BOAT.
Big hair lady shows them one of the most important life skills of all – arranging cheese on a board for the camera
So big hair lady and Peter set about on a huge-scale makeover that must involve at least 80 people working under an awning that would dwarf the Space Needle. “Let’s drill down for a moment,” says Pete, meaningfully. It turns out that the owners, who wear matching jackets, have a baby and really need to make the business work. So they are told how to get Google to recognise their property, and are advised to get a really tiny oven. When it’s done, they’ll basically build a new boat. “Now we need to get the communal money shots,” Pete babbles. Big hair lady shows them one of the most important life skills of all – arranging cheese on a board for the camera.
Everyone is delighted, and a bouncing, healthy new revenue stream is born. Of course, nobody mentions Airbnb for legal reasons.