'Trading Spaces': Paige Davis and Frank Bielec Defend 'Crying Pam'
Love ’em or hate ’em, Trading Spaces' occasional disastrous reveals helped make the show a must-see. And the show's sunny host Paige Davis got the unenviable job of salving the homeowners’ wounds.
“I often feel in reveal situations—whether it’s a happy reveal or a disappointing reveal—the best thing I can do is shut up. To not get in the way of those feelings and emotions,” she says. “Most every reveal was happy; 90 percent of the time. There were a very few out of the hundreds of rooms that we did that were truly unhappy. The infamous reveals.
Paige, Ty, and the rest of the cast talk about the TLC smash-hit's past and present.
"We had one homeowner tackle her friend over the color brown — I mean, tackled her to the floor à la Jerry Springer," Davis continues, with a rueful laugh. "But so many times I heard back from homeowners a week later: ‘I don’t know what I was complaining about. I love this.’ It just takes a moment for it to sink in.
"There’s so much anticipation — from the day you wrote in and applied to the show, to the day you found out you were going to get to be on the show, to when they show up — that it looks anything different than what you anticipate, it’s going to be shocking. I understand when people are just stunned.”
The most memorable reveal in the show’s history involved a sweet-natured woman named Pam who was adamant that her family-room fireplace remained untouched. Doug touched it anyway, transforming traditional brick into solid white sleekness and breaking Pam’s heart in the process.
"She was actually trying to do the polite thing, which was leave and not throw a fit and not get angry," Davis recalls, noting that every homeowner was delirious from exhaustion come reveal time.
"But I’m standing there with her husband, and you can hear her sobbing in the hallway. It’s very disconcerting. [But] I really want to implore you to understand that this … was really in the very beginning days of reality television when it was truly real. And we still are very authentic to that."
“And I have to defend Pam,” adds Spaces designer Frank Bielec, who worked with Pam and her husband in the infamous episode.
“What she didn’t realize is Doug ‘toenailed’ that fireplace cover on there. It could be easily removed. But she was so excited this whole time, and then the woman took a lot of heat and a lot of people made fun of her, which I thought was incredibly judgmental. It was a very honest reaction. And that reaction put us on the map.
"But I had no problem with the room," Bielec says. "Doug is an incredible designer. I have a huge love for him. He would throw you under a bus if it fit his agenda and then give you his kidney. Figure it out.”
More Trading Spaces Goofs That Made For Great TV
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Trading Spaces, Saturdays at 8/7c on TLC