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The Time That Sarah Wright From ‘American Made’ Was on ‘House Hunters’

Revisiting an HGTV highlight, just because we can

Sarah Wright and Eric Christian Olsen on ‘House Hunters’ HGTV/Ringer illustration

When you go see American Made this weekend, you may think to yourself: Where do I know that blond woman next to Tom Cruise from? Maybe you recognize Sarah Wright as Millicent Gergich, Jerry’s inexplicably beautiful daughter on Parks and Recreation. Maybe you remember the time she played a villain in The House Bunny. Or maybe, just maybe, you decided to watch HGTV one random night in January 2015 and you saw her on House Hunters looking for a vacation home with her husband, NCIS: Los Angeles star Eric Christian Olsen.

For those who don’t know (and who apparently don’t spend their free time screaming at idiots judging a house solely based on wall colors), House Hunters is a wonderfully addictive television show in which a couple sees three houses in one episode and then picks the one they like the most. It’s a great show for learning cool terms like “backsplash” and “egress window,” for seeing what neighborhoods in other cities look like, and for realizing how dumb you are for spending all your money renting a New York City apartment. But its main draw is almost definitely the entertainment of watching, and mercilessly criticizing, the opinions and decisions of the prospective house buyers. You get to watch a third grade teacher in Scottsdale, Arizona—who somehow has $1.2 million to burn, by the way, because money is a lie on House Hunters—say that she’s looking for an open kitchen because she “really likes to entertain” and then yell “OPEN FLOOR PLANS ARE STUPID AND NO ONE ENTERTAINS THAT MUCH, JUDY” at no one in particular. It’s extremely therapeutic.

But because House Hunters is meant to be a window into a ritual of average adult life, it’s extremely rare for celebrities to appear on House Hunters. This show is not like Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, where big names like Sammy Hagar, Kid Rock, and Joey Fatone can pop up on the reg. To my knowledge, the only other famous person to ever be on House Hunters was Toofer from 30 Rock.

What I’m trying to say is that the House Hunters episode featuring Sarah Wright and Eric Christian Olsen is extremely important. In fact, I would like to talk about it more, if for no other reason than I think you should know what kind of countertops Sarah prefers when you’re watching American Made. Probably the best way to do this is with a series of lists and stray observations.

How Sarah and Eric Explain Their Professions

Sarah and Eric are both famous, but they’re not FAMOUS famous. (House Hunters calls them “Hollywood actors,” which is factual if not descriptive.) There has to be an awkward line the couple is walking here, where they know they probably have to explain to people that, yes, they are working actors, while also feeling slightly annoyed that they have to explain that at all. It’s awkward for them, but fun for me to watch.

“I’m an actor,” Eric says. “I’m on a show called NCIS: L.A. right now.” He could’ve stopped there—that was the appropriate amount of information to give. But he keeps going: “The hours are long … but … it’s the most rewarding job on the planet. I love it.” This is his “I love it” face:

Sarah Wright and Eric Christian Olsen on ‘House Hunters’ HGTV

Then Sarah says, “Right now I’m doing a television show called Marry Me.” I thought Marry Me was a decent show, and I respect Sarah for not taking the easy way out and saying, “I was on Parks and Rec, like, four times.”

“We’re full-time in Los Angeles because that’s where you have to be when you’re an actor,” Eric then says. It’s weird, but he also says this while making his “I love it” face:

Sarah Wright and Eric Christian Olsen on ‘House Hunters’ HGTV

Anyway, they chose Jackson, Wyoming, as their getaway locale.

A Preliminary Note on Jackson, Wyoming

In explaining why they picked Jackson, Eric tells stories about vacationing there as a kid, and Sarah attests to how adventurous they are. (They also got married there in 2012, though for some reason they don’t mention this on the show.) In general, they paint a picture of them wanting to escape Los Angeles. The irony is, they aren’t the first actors to want to decamp to Wyoming; Jackson is the place for celebrity vacation homes. Harrison Ford owns land there; Sandra Bullock owns a home there; Matthew McConaughey, Brad Pitt, Tiger Woods—they all own homes in Jackson. Jackson may have even been the place where John Mayer made a dog wear a hat for the back of his album cover:

Back of John Mayer’s ‘Paradise Valley’ album Sony Music

If Eric was so bummed about being in L.A., he shouldn’t have decided to buy a vacation home in the most L.A. vacation town possible.

Here is a GIF of Eric Christian Olsen Fly Fishing

Eric Olsen fly fishing HGTV

They made a camera crew set up equipment for this.

A Tale of Two Views

In the first house Sarah and Eric see, they’re impressed by the view from the living room:

View from a living room window HGTV

“Look at that view,” Eric says, monotone. Two seconds later they walk upstairs and completely lose it over another view. “Oh wow,” Eric says. “Now that is amazing,” Sarah agrees. This is the view they’re talking about:

View of the downstairs window from upstairs HGTV

Just to recap: A view of the view is better than the actual view. Got it? Are you starting to see why House Hunters is so fun to watch? Good, let’s keep going.

The Five Most House Hunter–y Things Sarah Wright and Eric Christian Olsen Said on House Hunters

  • Sarah: “I love how high the ceilings are.”
  • Sarah: “It’s rustic, which is good.” (I bet if you made a word cloud of the entire series of House Hunters, “rustic” would be in HUGE letters—only slightly smaller than “natural light” and “stainless steel appliances.”)
  • Eric: “I like all those things, but I like them on a budget.”
  • Eric: “Dual sinks, which is important too, because … you might end up in divorce.” (Guys love joking about divorce on House Hunters while their wives laugh in response with an equal amount of disdain, anxiety, and quiet rage.)
  • Eric: “This is great reclaimed wood.”

Here Is a GIF of Sarah Wright Leaving House Hunters to Go to a “Press Junket”

Plane flying HGTV

Two-thirds of the way through the episode, Sarah just bounces and leaves Eric to look at the last house alone. This is a House Hunters power move. It’s very rare that a significant other abandons their partner mid-hunt, but when it happens, it is a sign that, without a doubt, that person runs the relationship. Speaking of, it’s time to talk about the kinds of couples and people you see on House Hunters.

The Kinds of Couples and People You See on House Hunters

  • The couple that agrees on literally nothing
  • The husband who clearly thinks his job is more important than his wife’s desires
  • The wife who shrugs at the mention of a budget and the husband who’s clearly on the verge of tears thinking about his bank statement
  • The husband who won’t stop talking about “my man cave” and the wife who somehow puts up with him
  • The woman who is afraid of ghosts
  • The couple that infuriatingly thinks you can get a four-bedroom house in a perfect location with a pool and a finished basement and a butler for $16.50
  • The couple that wants to use their vacation home to open a bed and breakfast (WHY???)
  • The couple that complains about wallpaper, cabinets, carpet colors, and furniture placement—as if all of those things aren’t so easily changed, god this show drives me nuts

Amazingly, Sarah and Eric aren’t any of these people during their episode of House Hunters. They’re mostly sensible and reasonable, and though Eric makes like six bad jokes, the episode isn’t nearly as painful to watch as any regular episode. It really is true what they say: Celebrities aren’t anything like us.

So, What Happened?

After seeing a rustic (!!!) house 45 minutes away from Jackson, a craftsman in a golf community, and a quirky house in the heart of Jackson that shared real estate with a law office, Sarah and Eric chose the craftsman.

House Sarah and Eric chose, with HOA fees of $350 per month HGTV

Personally, I would’ve gone for the first house—that’s the one that had that view of a view. And the house they chose is pretty close to the neighbors, or as Sarah put it: “I can see their satellite dish from here.” But apparently Sarah really wanted to ride her bike into town. At the end of the day, they bought a house for bike-riding purposes.

In June 2015—less than six months after this House Hunters aired—Eric tweeted that they were selling this house and moving across the street.

Then in September 2016 he tweeted about the house again, suggesting that they weren’t selling it anymore, but rather renting it out:

That rental link is dead now, and I am upset. I would totally vacation across the street from Sarah Wright and Eric Christian Olsen. Wouldn’t you? I hope this is the only thing you think about when you see American Made.