Review: Colin & Justin’s Cabin Pressure

Colin and Justin's Cabin Pressure title card (Screenshot via iTunes)

Colin & Justin’s Cabin Pressure title card (Screenshot via iTunes)


Colin and Justin search far and wide for the perfect cottage. (Screenshot via iTunes)

Colin and Justin search far and wide for the perfect cottage. (Screenshot via iTunes)

Colin & Justin’s Cabin Pressure is a bit of an odd take on the realty programs we’ve seen on TV. While there’s some house hunting involved (and that house is a cottage as you could assume by the show’s name), Colin and Justin are house hunting for themselves. This is unlike most other realty house-hunting shows where the hosts often help find a suitable house for the average Joe. Additionally, Cabin Pressure goes with the house-hunting format for the first episode, and then seemingly does a 180 and abandons the format (more on that later).

What’s also strange is that Colin and Justin, who have been on TV for years, with several other shows, had to team up with two friends (Cherri and David) to buy a cottage. It raises the question: If big names like Colin and Justin have to team up with two others to buy a cottage, just how accessible is cottage life for the rest of us? I’m aware that cottages are pretty popular, just try to make it back into the city after a long weekend, you’ll run into a bunch of cottagers on the highway, but are those folks just living beyond their means…is there something I’m missing when it comes to cottages?

If you’re unfamiliar with Colin and Justin, they both have really ridiculous sounding Scottish accents and are kinda quirky. I’m not sure if that’s part of their appeal. I haven’t watched any of their other shows, however, before coming into Cabin Pressure I felt their names sounded familiar, leading me to believe they have quite a following.

Besides that the hosts are looking for property for themselves and that property happens to be a cottage, the rest of the episode plays out a lot like any other realty show you might find on HGTV or W Network. They enter the house, you marvel at it, they walk around and make comments about the bedroom and bathrooms and it’s off to the next one. Some of the cottages have some quirks like being on its own island or having its own trolley that leads down a hill to Lake Muskoka. If you’re wondering, the boys didn’t care too much for having to rely on the mechanical trolley to go from the cottage to the lake for wine (ugh wine of all things). There’s a flight of stairs right next to the trolley, but who wants to walk, ugh, walking.

A cottage with its own trolley, how cool is that? (Screenshot via iTunes)

A cottage with its own trolley, how cool is that? (Screenshot via iTunes)

Part of what I hate about realty programs is that they are essentially first-world problems galore. As I mentioned briefly in my Be The Boss Canada review, I find the show’s genre rather insulting when you consider that many people out there don’t have a home or live in a place that’s extremely crowded or practically falling apart. On realty programs like these, they have people prance around perfectly good homes and turn them down for silly reasons like some minor thing with the bedroom or the tiles or something. I can’t watch them without wanting to scream just shut up and take the house, there’s nothing wrong with it, but I have to remember this is television. If they took the first house they went to, that wouldn’t be much of a show, now would it? We’d basically end up with MTV Cribs featuring people we don’t care about.

Colin and Justin sometimes fall into the all too common reality show house hunter archetype where they pick apart the tiniest things (like ugh the stairs), and they gab quite a bit. Colin and Justin really fly off the handle when Cherri and David aren’t around. They say ridiculous nonsensical things like “yabba dabba don’t,” “oh my giddy aunt” and “holy noodles” throughout the show, or describe a cottage as “romantic” or “dull as dishwater.” I have no idea what any of that means. Then there are other comments like when they criticize cottages as being too suburban. Again, not too sure why that’s a big deal, but it is.

Surprisingly, Colin and Justin chose the cottage they had the most faults with and their partners were not there to see it, they just took their word for it over the phone.

Then there’s the added drama at the end of nearly every similar realty show: Will the owner accept their offer? We see the boys agonize over waiting to hear back if they got the cottage, but who wouldn’t take an offer from Colin and Justin? They could probably get any house they wanted on the planet, especially since they have other investors. Surely, they have the cash to turn a no into a yes.

Give it to them straight, will they get the cottage, or not? (Screenshot via iTunes)

Give it to them straight, will they get the cottage, or not? (Screenshot via iTunes)

I’m not going to spoil it for you and tell you if Colin and Justin got the cottage they had their hearts set on, but by the end of the episode, the boys do snag a cottage of their own. Since they’ve found a house, now what? Wasn’t the premise of the show to watch them find a house? Wrong. Cabin Pressure seemingly turns into a whole other show after the first episode. The end of this episode suggests that subsequent episodes follow Colin and Justin in tearing apart the cottage and doing a huge overhaul on it. It kinda makes you wonder why this episode exists in the first place, when the series on a whole is about fixing up a cottage.

It’s usually hard to recommend a series when you know the premise of the program will change dramatically after the first episode. However, many of these realty shows are alike. Instead of using the blueprint of a house hunting show as they did for the first episode, I’m expecting the blueprint of a home renovation show from the second episode on.

Either way it doesn’t really matter, it appears the selling point of Colin & Justin’s Cabin Pressure, is Colin and Justin themselves. You’re watching this program more for their personalities than anything else. If you’re familiar with their brand, you probably know what you’re getting. You’re likely to find them rather interesting or really annoying. If you’re not familiar with them, just ten minutes of them will probably be enough to decide if you want to abandon ship or stick around for the season.

I think Colin and Justin really like wine. Here they are with mugs and a bottle of wine to celebrate snagging a cottage. (Screenshot via iTunes)

Something tells me Colin and Justin really like wine. Here they are with mugs and a bottle of wine to celebrate snagging a cottage. (Screenshot via iTunes)

Personally, I’d probably stick around with Colin and Justin, if I could tolerate realty shows. They’re great TV personalities, but the genre of the show simply isn’t for me. Cabin Pressure is a no brainer if your TV is always on HGTV or one of those W Network realty programs, and you like Colin and Justin. If you’re not into home reno/home-hunting programs or not a Colin and Justin fan, there are many more shows out there just for you. Even if you’re looking for a program specifically on cottages, Cottage Life has cranked out new series, after new series, so there’s bound to be one you’ll like if this one isn’t for you.

Episode reviewed: The Thrill of the Find!
Colin & Justin’s Cabin Pressure airs Tuesday at 10 p.m. on Cottage Life