It’s not a secret that “Homestead Rescue” has awakened people’s curiosity about living off grid, but that has also raised many concerns about the show. According to some viewers, the portrayal of homesteading is not as realistic as it should be, leading to some idealized and romanticized perceptions of such a lifestyle.
While not everyone watching the show is willing to take the big step and adapt to this alternative lifestyle, it’s for sure that these concerns have awakened many questions about the show, and whether what we’re seeing on-screen is 100% real.
So what are the issues about “Homestead Rescue”? Has anyone ever felt that the show wasn’t portraying real off-the-grid situations? Stay here to find out!
What’s Up With The Show?
Although “Homestead Rescue” isn’t necessarily a highly polarizing show, it’s worth noting that not everyone has a positive opinion about it. The main concern about the show lies in the homesteading factor, as many fans and casual viewers feel that living off the grid doesn’t work as “Homestead Rescue” portrays it.
Back in 2017, Adam Ozimek from Forbes had already talked about these issues, affirming that shows such as “Homestead Rescue” and “Live Free Or Die” described a ‘romantic vision’ of a life off-grid. Though he didn’t directly disregard the work the Raneys do in the show, he claimed that the self-reliant myth purposefully reinforced by these shows failed to convey that people with these lifestyles still benefited from life in current ‘normal’ societies.
Later in 2021, a Colorado Springs Indy writer named Bryan Grossman confessed that “Homestead Rescue” and other similar shows had led him to ‘romanticize’ life off the grid in a rather positive light, despite his lack of experience with farming and taking care of livestock.
Users of forums such as Homesteading Today have also criticized the focus of the show, claiming that most of the people featured in the show didn’t have what it took to survive a life off the grid, regardless of the efforts made by the Raneys to help them.
There are diverse opinions both in favor and against some aspects of “Homestead Rescue”, but the only serious controversy faced by the show so far was caused by the claims of a couple once featured in the show. They are Kim and Josh Zabec from Virginia, whose homestead’s biggest problem was their seeming inability to keep their livestock safe, and other seemingly unsafe living conditions.
The Zabecs were featured in the second episode of the first season, but their appearance left viewers with a bittersweet aftertaste. As users commented in homesteading forums, the Zabecs appeared to be quite inexperienced at homesteading, and their apparent lack of netting for the pigs in their property was strongly criticized.
As reported by In Touch Weekly, Kim and Josh weren’t pleased with their portrayal in the show, calling out the production staff for allegedly putting them in a bad light, and portraying them as rookie homesteaders instead of experienced ones, as they considered themselves to be. As seen in a Facebook video, the Zabecs also claimed that their situation with netting their pigs had already been solved before the show began filming.
While the Zabecs’ homestead situation wasn’t necessarily romanticized, this controversial episode led many to question the veracity of many aspects of “Homestead Rescue”.
Every reality TV show goes through edition processes which don’t always end up pleasing people featured in it. In the case of the Zabec family, it’s up to viewers to believe their claims about the misrepresentation of their living conditions by “Homestead Rescue”, but they aren’t the only ones who’ve raised questions about the show portraying everyone in a positive light.
In 2018, a couple based in Missouri talked about their experiences in the show to Ozark County Times. In the interview, they revealed some details about the casting process, and their experiences working with the Raneys, which were mostly positive. Nonetheless, Ini and Wren, whose last names were kept in secrecy, also admitted that they had been expecting ‘the worst’ before watching their episode, as they were aware that other people felt they were portrayed ‘poorly’ by “Homestead Rescue”.
In the end, Ini and Wren were quite relieved with their appearance in the episode, though they also affirmed that the show had changed some details about their living situation, including allegedly cutting trees to make logs, despite these being already purchased before the episode began filming.
Is The Show Real?
While some situations are seemingly changed after filming for the sake of TV ratings, it’s fair to assume that “Homestead Rescue” is real.
For a start, the Raneys are experts on what they do, and not only is Marty well-acquainted with heavy work by owning the construction business Alaska Stone & Log Company and a 40-acre homestead, but he and his family also have plenty of experience as outdoor experts, as they’ve proudly shown on social media. On top of that, people hired by the show as contractors have also attested how dedicated the Raneys and the show’s production staff are, while working on the show’s projects.
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While it’s fair to assume that the show is edited to become more entertaining, it’s also fair to say that the alleged romanticization of off-the-grid lifestyles seems to be an issue which isn’t limited to “Homestead Rescue”, but to this genre of reality TV as a whole.