A homeowner is lured away for a weekend while someone else (usually a spouse) helps a crew redecorate a room or yard as a surprise.
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Cast

Series cast summary:
...
 Himself - Host (56 episodes, 2002-2006)
...
 Herself - Designer (29 episodes, 2004-2006)
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Storyline

The "While You Were Out" crew conspire with one member of a household to get their spouse/partner/roommate out of the way so that they can perform a 48-hour makeover on a room or outdoor area. They also trail the party who is away, asking all sorts of questions. The person at home then has a chance to win prizes--which integrate into the new design--for correctly guessing how their spouse/partner/roommate answered. Written by Kevin Stanford

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6 July 2002 (USA)  »

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Quotes

Leslie Segrete: [while they are making a spoof of "The Blair Witch Project" she picks a tape measure] Someone's been here... they were doing measurements.
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User Reviews

Please try not to compare this to Trading Spaces
20 June 2003 | by (New Hampshire) – See all my reviews

There is a handful of reality TV home (room) improvement shows on the air lately, but this has to be my favorite of the bunch. It features Teresa Strasser as the dry-humored girl-next-door host, Andrew Dan-Jumbo as the hunky yet timid carpenter, and Leslie Segrete as the efficient and cutesy seamstress/carpenter. The designers vary according to the different episodes (as well as the homeowners' tastes); Stephen Saint-Onge is the traditionalist, Chayse Dacoda is experimental, John Bruce is innovative, and Mayita Dinos and Peter BonSey are the theme-oriented backyard/patio designers.

The premise is usually one person surprising another person (a spouse, roommate, etc.) with a complete room makeover while the person being surprised is kept out of the house for the two-day duration (that's the sole similarity to Trading Spaces; the two days of work). The budget for each room/backyard/patio is $1500-$1800 (the outdoor makeovers usually require $1800). The WYWO staff has a camera person following the person being surprised in the guise of a market researcher or something similar on their trip. The footage is used for three quizzes during each show for the homeowners to try and win prizes that add to the decor of the spaces (some of the booby prizes for the wrong answers are a hoot).

The team seems to get along really well for the most part; however, they've managed to run into occasional snags in some episodes and had some personality conflicts (particularly Andrew and Chayse). I think that there's much less shock value when it comes to the designs and complying with the homeowners' wishes; however, because of some of the obstacles that arise with the carpentry or whatever, it's still reality TV.

Anyway, this show is very entertaining because of its witty host, there aren't any annoying designers (well, Chayse can be a bit annoying at times), and it's enjoyable to watch the surprise makeover recipients have no idea about what's going on during their candid video footage. It also makes redecorating look so darned easy! Oh, if only I could find the motivation to repaint my mauve-pink bedroom walls and rip out my '80s magenta wall-to-wall carpeting (sigh...).


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