Anyone who knows anything about TV will no doubt be aware that there is a network called Home and Garden Television—hereafter referred to as “HGTV”—on which there is a show called Property Brothers. The titular brothers are attractive dark-haired male twins in that vague late thirties-early forties age range who possess some talents for home improvement and real estate. The plot, such as it is, of each episode is that the brothers help two people engaged in some type of relationship to purchase and then renovate so-called “fixer-uppers”—the kinds of houses that you think are gonna be fun to remodel but quickly end up being a pain in parts of your body you didn’t even know you had. This is all I know about the subject, and, as it happens, all anyone needs to know in order to read the inevitable fanfiction this show has spawned. For your entertainment I dived into this small (but not as small as you’d think) corner of the Internet, and I will present my findings to you now.
It is safe to say that pretty much all of the writing on this subject is not very good. And the problem is there’s really no way to tell how old these writers are. From the subject matter I would assume that they would all be housewives well into their middle age, but most of them seem to have a very rudimentary grasp on the English language. The only thing these people have in common is a lust for generic television personalities and a fervent, Cher-on-Twitter disregard for common grammar and punctuation conventions.
There seem to be three schools of Property Brothers fanfiction: incest fanfiction, self-insert fanfiction, and the very rare but always entertaining PB-plus-other-HGTV-personality crossover fanfiction. It’s unnecessary and Sisyphean to try to keep straight which brother is which in any given scenario. One of them is named Jonathan and one of them is named something else, and for the life of me I could not tell you which is which. I’ve watched this show multiple times and I have no idea. But it’s fine, because the one who does real estate is always dressed in these nice shirts and blazers, and if he’s wearing jeans then they’re expensive jeans, and the one who does the remodeling always dresses in plaid flannels and work pants. It’s like when cartoonists draw characters in the same clothes every time because that’s the easiest way to draw them (as opposed to animating tons of different outfits from scratch), except in real life.
Some of these fics get right down to business, starting off with opening sentences like: “In one swift, smooth motion Jonathan quickly wiped the sweat from his brow and smoothed his unruly hair before letting his hand fall limply to his side” (“The Best Laid Plans” by Neuronerd). It hits all the bases. But then you have others that need more of a setup, like “Jonathan Scott Love Story” by Keep On Dreaming, which begins: “‘We’re gonna let them take first swing at the wall and then we’re taking this wall and some other ones down,’ he told me.” It even sounds like something one of the brothers could conceivably say at some point. They have the dialogue down pat.
And you get what you come for with the titles alone. There’s a horrible uncertainty about something like “Delicate Endless Flow,” while “Late Work Night of Brotherly Love” leaves less to the imagination. The coyly titled “An Unexpected Bonus” hints at lascivious doings but, like any good clickbait, you have to read the piece to find out what the bonus will be (A lapdance party with, guess who, the members of Megadeth. Again.).
For the sake of our more delicate patrons and also my mother, who reads all of my work (hi mom), I will not go into detail about how weird the sex stuff gets. Just take my word for it, and please don’t go any further than that because I would not wish my experience reading all this stuff on anyone. Underneath the most conventional home improvement programming is the slimy, lecherous underbelly of the female gaze.
There is all sorts of fetish and BDSM stuff, there’s stuff with power tools—honestly if you can think of it there is Property Brothers fanfiction of it, like some sadistic home renovation Rule 34. There’s a crossover between Property Brothers and two of the members of Megadeth. In another, written by, incredibly, a completely different person, one of the brothers is paired up with Rob Zombie. Yes, that Rob Zombie.
A bunch of these aren’t even done—they have four or five chapters building up a strong foundation of sexual tension and then no payoff. Well, as much of a payoff as you could expect from Property Brothers fanfiction. I guess the authors somehow found another pair of house-flipping twins they could objectify.
CONCLUSION AND EXTRAPOLATION
So, what exactly is going on here?
The thing about these guys is that they exemplify the type of man any straight woman could like. One of them is the handsome, sharply dressed entrepreneur, while the other is the rugged, rustic handyman. And that’s exactly the genius of the show. These are two men we know nothing about and who are good at real estate and interior design. The only context we ever see them in is making people happy by providing a home.
Who knows what these men are really like? They’re the perfect blank slates on which to project any fantasy the writer wishes. Jonathan is a tender lover? Sure! The other one likes a little BDSM? Maybe! Who knows? Nobody! No one knows anything about these guys, aside from the fact that they know stuff about houses and they are good-looking in a totally bland, inscrutable way. It makes sense. Having these two brothers is the best of both worlds: your polished and clean with your brawny and sawdust-covered. A real estate agent in the streets and a demolition man in the sheets.
There’s a theory that’s been running around fanfiction circles for a while now about why gay relationships are so popular in this kind of writing. Because they are, to a staggering degree. Pairings between two gay men far outweigh heterosexual relationships, and the number of lesbian relationships is barely a sliver on the pie chart. But what complicates things is that most fanfiction is written by women. What are all these women doing writing stories about gay men?
When you have a straight relationship, there are all these little ingrained conventions and inhibitions that go along with it. It doesn’t have to be that way, obviously, but straight relationships have been engineered across the generations in such a way that most of them stick to a kind of formula. When you have a gender difference in a relationship those differences in appearance and personality are immediately coded. Not so with gay relationships, at least not as much. All of that stuff is erased because you have two people who, you perceive, are on equal footing.
Why people would pick the Brothers Property to get their ya-yas out, when pairings like Captain America and Tony Stark or the boys from Supernatural are hundreds of times more popular, I can’t say. But you have to admit, it makes a bizarre kind of sense. I think we’ve all caught ourselves daydreaming about having two husbands who were good at buying houses and ripping kitchen cabinets off the walls at some point. And if you haven’t, you have now.
Do you have a Property Brothers Fan Fiction you’d like to send us? Well, don’t. But if you have something else to send us, you can find us on Twitter @puddingshotblog. Heck, if you’ve got fan-fiction of us Pudding Shot writers, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org!
Don’t do that either.