I'm Still Haunted by This Episode of Netflix's 'Stay Here'
Stay Here is a Netflix Original AirBnB development show hosted by Genevieve Gorder and Peter Lorimer. It’s the sort of show you wind up watching sometime between staring sadly at the apparently invincible black mold that keeps reappearing on your bedroom ceiling & your fifteenth browse at properties you can’t afford on Right Move.
It’s something you watch while eating crisps and quietly hating yourself because you live in a shithole and the world is awful. And that’s because Stay Here offers a glimpse through at a better life - it’s the TV equivalent of pressing your face against the window of someone’s beautiful home while your own place quietly decays in the background.
In fairness, Peter and Gen do a great job of re-developing unused properties so the owner can rent them out to tourists and make some of that tasty-ass money we all deserve. The formula works right up until it doesn’t. The precise moment the show falls apart is episode four where the duo help a lovely bloke called Gordy give a much-needed makeover to his Brownhouse rental in the working class community of Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn.
Like the majority of working-class areas in the US and the UK - and particularly those heavily populated by people of colour - it’s an area that has been hit (and continues to be) by a great deal of gentrification in recent years. The change to the neighbourhood has put pressure on lower-income individuals who now find themselves priced out of their lifelong neighbourhood home.
In fact, the neighbourhood is one of five in Brooklyn currently in the top 20 of the most gentrified in the country.
However, there’s minimal (if any) conversation regarding this issue in the episode. And it’s exactly what lays the foundations for one of the most unintentionally awkward reality TV show episodes I may have ever seen. It has the interior design equivalent of “white saviour” syndrome & some of the whitest explanations of hip hop history I’ve ever witnessed on television.
Much of the problem, I think, is how the episode is cut. Clearly, Gen and Peter mean well and have good intentions here. But holy shit, the way every nugget of information is presented in this episode is a clusterfuck of cringe. By the ending, you’d be forgiven for thinking that all this gentrification is worth it if just for some rainbow bagels. Here’s a breakdown of the worst moments:
our introduction to Brooklyn is so privileged it may as well be done via a Carrie Bradshaw voiceover
That’s right, folks! Not the culture, not the people, but the bloody brick work of a place. That’s where the money is & that’s all that matters here. Basically, property developers do to working class areas what Cruella DeVille does to puppies.
Thankfully, Gordy isn’t actually interested in making Insane amounts of money off his brownstone rental business
Cut to Peter, who looks like a fart took a shit in his mouth as he listens to the words “working class community”
Peter can barely believe what he’s hearing so he repeats the statement later just to be sure
We can only imagine the words “Are you insane?” were next out of his mouth but were cut for time.
Next, Genevieve & Peter go to investigate the Biggie Smalls mural next door while Peter talks about his pre-property life.
The guy produced work by Danzig and Ace of Base & remixed a few RuPaul tracks back in his day! He’s totally legit.
Then they have a “surprise” meeting with some people who knew Biggie
This woman’s face says everything you need to know about this car crash interaction and I feel her dismay. Incidentally, she doesn’t get to say a damn word during this entire sequence because nobody thinks to ask her.
Peter loses his goddamn mind when he finds out (OH SHIT!) this dude is an OGB!
He gets super excited. Too excited, to be honest. It should be sweet, but instead it comes across as condescending. It’s as though an executive producer has chewed on a cigar and hoovered a line of coke and said “We need to do something that showcases Peter’s street cred. Hook him up with one of those old boys from the hip hop scene there! Tell him in advance so he doesn’t make a fool of himself but also prep him to act super surprised, Maureen! This is history in the making!”
He’s so excited he even starts educating some clearly ignorant people off-camera
I’d like to think whoever he’s speaking to probably knows more about the Old Gold Brothers than he does and is just grimacing at him in agreement so they can keep their job.
This goes on for-fucking-ever. Everyone looks weirded out AF.
Honestly, I feel ya buddy
And then, there’s the apparent Centrepiece of the episode: The rainbow bagel
By the mid-way point, the bagel is a dominant force.
According to these guys, if you don’t have these bad boys stocked up for every goddamn booking in your Brooklyn vacation rental then you may as go ahead and declare bankruptcy right there and then.
It’s just a fucking bagel.
Then of course, there’s this…
It’s the way she poses this like a pop quiz that really does me in.
I can’t deal with it.