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Screen Scene: HGTV hunks rebranded as “Cousins On Call”

What was “Kitchen Cousins” is now “Cousins On Call.” Maybe HGTV thought “Kitchen Cousins” was too suggestive, too close to “kissing cousins” for comfort? So now it’s “Cousins On Call” … totally different!

Now, is there a toll free number available?

Few television personalities have honed the art of innuendo to the level of Anthony Carrino and John Colaneri. And because that innuendo seems so utterly and sincerely unintended, these guys have raised the bar of non-specific flirtation to ninja level. Single, married, gay, straight, bi ... it doesn’t matter. Heck, I have to wonder if even the most dyed-in-the-wool lesbian might consider a temporary team switch in the moist, burly, heart-racing spectacle of new cabinetry installation.

John and Anthony are the stealth stars of keeping as many demographic targets as possible on the hook, and Lord knows that there are times the possibility of being so shamelessly hustled is worth every ounce of diminished self-respect when under the spell of the cousins.

Clearly it’s really, really hard not to crush bad on these guys. Not only do I have to forgive my partner for his television infatuation, he has to forgive me too. That’s just the way it is.

My partner was watching a rerun episode from the “Kitchen Cousins” days. Of course I walked into the room just in time to hear Anthony quip, "John and I cuddle all the time."

That got my attention. I settled in for more, rerun or not.

The Italian boys were working on the home of one of the interchangeable Kardashians, Khloe, the one married to the basketball player.

The guys were remodeling the media room from early 1980s maroon velour chic to contemporary and updated splendor, worthy of a rich pro-jock and a reality celebrity.

Of course there was the prerequisite rambling fretting from Khloe about her “loss of control” over the project and the stress of a self-imposed deadline for completion and the possibility of her basketball husband’s potential bad mood when he gets home. He’d been elbowed on the court.


The real entertainment is still in the media room.

The guys are busy with the demolition phase. They’re opening up the space with sledgehammers and crowbars. Out goes the movie theater seating, out goes the heavy drapery, out goes the candy concession stand and in comes the first crisis: One of the interior walls turns out to be load bearing. The header’s integral to the structure.

Now where else do you get to hear about load-bearing walls and the effect of inset high intensity lighting on the chosen color scheme, almost in a single sentence?

Joking aside, this is a very informative program for anyone who has the slightest interest in construction and renovation. The real, inner beauty of “Cousins On Call” is their genuine first-hand knowledge and experience. Unlike other reality stars, these guys have something tangible to contribute. They don’t trade on fame for the mere sake of fame.

John and Anthony are consistent, knowledgeable, design savvy and full of practical and accessible solutions. They restore your faith in contractors. The cousins really know their stuff, and the finished product is always brilliant.

But enough of that: let’s go back to the shamelessly superficial. It’s time to revisit the most brilliant teases on television and when you do, how can you not love these omnisexuals? They have the brains and the wherewithal to maintain Sexual Preference Ambiguity, or SPA for those in the biz.

Neither cousin is married. Apparently neither has a girlfriend or a boyfriend for that matter, and more power to them! By keeping their options open, they have a gigantic sea of admirers. It's a little like the truly bisexual. There’s always a date. So in the case of the cousins, there’s always a fan.

Anthony and John are all that, and more. Think I overly gush? Then you haven’t seen the splendid handiwork of this dynamic duo. Nor have you experienced the butchest eye-fluttering in television history.

Speculating about the sexuality of others is usually god-awful tacky, but just this once, isn't it fun?

The details

“Cousins On Call”
Wednesdays at 8 pm/7 pm Central
Episodes repeated often

Kurt Niece writes about visual arts for SDGLN. He is a freelance journalist from Lakewood, Ohio. He is the author of "The Breath of Rapture" and an artist who sells his work on his website.