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Quick Bites on Quick Bites: ‘Murder House Flip’ Is Somehow Exactly What It Sounds Like

Welcome to the first show to combine true crime and HGTV

Jarvis Kim/Quibi

Quibi, the latest entrant in the Streaming Wars, launches on Monday. And because Quibi stands for “quick bites,” here’s a quick-bite review of one Quibi’s quick bites.


What can I tell you about Murder House Flip that isn’t all there in the title? Like if HGTV had a love child with Investigation Discovery, the show sets the Bobby bits of any given Queer Eye episode in otherwise lovely homes with the unfortunate distinction of being former crime scenes. “Murder and makeover don’t usually go together,” chirps designer Joelle Uzyel. “But now, that’s all gonna change!”

Along with her bow-tie-sporting partner Mikel Welch, Uzyel sets out to help Barbara Williams and Tom Holmes, an older couple who seem remarkably chill for people who live in the same multi-unit Victorian where Dorothea Puente murdered at least nine residents of her boarding house in the 1970s. Then again, you’d have to be pretty chill to voluntarily buy a property that once had several bodies buried in the yard, a detail Tom is wildly casual about tossing off while giving the crew a tour. And to be clear: the Williams-Holmeses don’t actually want to leave, let alone flip, the murder house. They just want it to be a fun space for their grandkids.

Murder House Flip smashes together the conventions of true crime and home renovation with reckless abandon that would do Frankenstein proud. Uzyel and Welch’s efforts are mercifully stretched out over multiple episodes; explaining and executing the gimmick in less than 10 minutes would be a bit much. But the sheer absurdity still threatens to overwhelm, at least until the autopilot takes over and everyone starts talking about the feng shui of patio furniture. Even murder houses, in the relentless logic of makeover shows, could really use an open kitchen.