The true fun of Trading Spaces is playing "armchair designer". You quickly learn which designers you enjoy and which ones you despise, and you will find yourself rooting for one or the other. For instance, Hildie is not well-liked in our house, becuase she commits what I consider the fundamental crime of designers and architects--she lets her own vision override that of the people she is working for. Besides, her stuff's just ugly.

The show thus can be a great example of what not to do while decorating (for instance, pinning moss to a corkboard wall, while an interesting effect, would be a nightmare to clean and maintain), and sometimes there are some actually good, low-cost decorating ideas in the show. Almost all of the designers have a bold style--no neutral decor here, they seem to enjoy yellow, purple, blue, red and pale green a whole lot.

Also, another part of the vicarious thrill of it all is watching people when they're brought back into their own house--and it's clear they hate what has been done. Most people actually do a decent job of hiding it, but there have been tears and obscenities uttered by the owners.

Watching Trading Spaces thus becomes somewhat like watching a sporting event on TV--we will yell at the screen when a designer makes a dumb move, predict what will happen when the participants see their place, and there's much discussion about what we would do if it were us.

It's great fun, and I highly recommend it.