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It's fitting Flip or Flop went out with a whimper after the "parasitic nature" of Tarek El Moussa and Christina Haack's success

  • Flip or Flop, which ended this week after nine years and 10 seasons, premiered a month before HGTV's Fixer Upper. But El Moussa and Haack never achieved the kind of fame and success as Chip and Joanna Gaines. "Flip or Flop debuted on HGTV in 2013 as millions of low- and middle-income families were still riding out the aftershocks of the Great Recession," says Katie McDonough. "El Moussa and Haack are flippers in Southern California who are alternately presented as hapless and cunning in their efforts to turn a quick profit while navigating the same landscape of immiseration. In recent years, as HGTV has leaned harder into 'God and country' nostalgia in its real-estate programming, Flip or Flop stood out for its unintentional candor about housing as a commodity. There were no sweet young couples looking for forever homes, no downtowns to be 'revitalized' — just ambient scumminess as El Moussa and Haack perform back-of-the-envelope cost projections and conclude with a big reveal of total profits. Airing its last episode this week after ten seasons, Flip or Flop asked a simple question: What if the foreclosure crisis actually rocked?" McDonough notes that "the fact of their emptiness and potential for resale is the point, even in the episode descriptions." In later seasons, the show "would move away from this explicit kind of ghoulishness, swapping out foreclosure auctions for more subdued language around the couple having a 'lead' on a great deal," she says. "But the beating heart of the show never changed all that much."

    TOPICS: Flip or Flop, HGTV, Christina Hall, Tarek El Moussa, Reality TV