‘Trixie Motel’ Is the Best Renovation Show

Movies


The Big Picture

  • Trixie Motel
    challenges home renovation show norms with LGBTQ+ flair.
  • Trixie’s genuine, vulnerable interactions make this series heartwarming and unique.
  • The show’s commitment to community and flamboyant style sets it apart in the saturated market.


For fans of DIY television, there is no greater comfort than the feel-good home improvement show. Watching kind-spirited individuals lovingly refurbish a run-down space to create something familiar yet new will always bring joy to audiences. It’s shocking how many shows that fit this same theme are out there, creating a saturated market with no one series really standing out above the rest. That was until Trixie Motel premiered in 2022 on Discovery+ and Max, presenting a kind of program no viewer had ever seen.


Created by world-famous Drag Queen and Rupaul’s Drag Race alumni Trixie Mattel, the rather simple premise of her, her boyfriend, and their friends breathing life back into a raggedy old motel awed audiences with the amazing work this group pulled off as they ingeniously twisted the whole home renovation genre. Even beyond featuring a myriad of LGBTQ+ celebrities and a large offering of fantastical designs, it’s the surprisingly warm heart at the show’s center that sets it apart as one of the best of this kind. It easily elevates itself from others in this genre by offering viewers something they’d never seen before: a story of LGBTQ+ love and community, shown through the difficult art of home renovation.



Who is Trixie Mattel?

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Image via Entertainment Weekly

Even before she wowed viewers with her astounding work on Trixie Motel, famous drag queen Trixie Mattel (the stage name of Brian Firkus) had already taken the world by storm. Beginning her career as a contestant on RuPaul’s Drag Race season 7, this series gave her the first platform she needed to showcase the ingenious and irreverent personality audiences quickly grew to love. This initial outing was followed by her web series with fellow Drag Queen Katya Zamolodchikova that began as a low-budget Wow Presents series before becoming one of the most popular shows on YouTube to this day.


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From there came a groundbreaking album, a return (and win) to Drag Race on All-Stars 3, a makeup line, and so much more, quickly establishing her as one of the true powerhouses of Drag. Her well-deserved rise is one of the largest of any modern performer, and it’s owed wholly to the Queen’s cheeky humor and genuine skill she presents at every opportunity. She pairs this unique brand of dry comedy with an openness about her past struggles (Trixie is a proud survivor of abuse) that resonates with audiences all over the world. This multi-faceted talent and history of success has her fans excited whenever she announces her next big project, but even they were confused when she announced her newest idea: a motel.


From Property Brothers to Fixer Upper, the home renovation genre is extremely well-loved and heavily trafficked. Often portraying some sweet pair (usually friends, siblings, or romantic partners) lovably cajoling each other while investing their time in refurbishing some downtrodden building, it’s a concept that, while heartwarming, has been done so, so many times before. While it doesn’t discredit any of these series’ success or the love fans have for them, the relative sameness of these shows had audiences nervous upon the announcement of Trixie Motel. Would this show see this LGBTQ+ icon known for her unique style trying to fit into the pre-established image leads in this genre so often abide by, or would her chaotic comedy and performance style create something barely recognizable as a renovation program at all? Luckily for all those who tuned in, it became clear fast that not only would this be a successful home renovation show, but it was going to be something viewers had never seen before.


‘Trixie Motel’ Is a Renovation You’ve Never Seen Before

The moment Trixie and her partner (in love and business) David Silver discuss their visions for Trixie Motel in the series pilot, audiences learn that their goal is to create a place that will amaze any traveler who happens upon it. Similar to other building improvement shows, the needs for this venture revolve around creating something livable that will turn a profit, though its placement in the LGBTQ+ hub of Palm Springs and Trixie’s flamboyant preferences means this motel also has to be something entirely unique.


Trixie’s signature Barbie-inspired flair and the excitement shared by everyone on their building team turn basic conversations about permits and the price of tiles into riveting moments of artistry for all watching. And even if the motel itself is plain (though each room is vibrantly different and gorgeous), the constant influx of Trixie’s famous friends coming in to help her efforts imbues the entire series with a sense of excitable friendship. From Lisa Vanderpump helping Trixie buy decorations to Nicole Byer painting the walls of a room (while spouting her signature goofy humor), this constant featuring of celebrities so many LGBTQ+ fans will love makes each episode a jaw-dropping and hilarious presentation of friendship. Pairing this with the relationships between Trixie and her staff reveals that, beyond its astounding designs, the best aspect of this series is its big heart.


Trixie Mattel and David Silver are not only the Executive Producers and the motel’s primary funders, but also long-term boyfriends. While it’s not abnormal for the hosts of home improvement shows to be in a romantic relationship, it’s this pair’s hilarious interactions and their openness about how stressful this experience is that grants audiences a rare insight into this difficult process. Their discussions on the dozens of necessary components that go into such a large project, while semantic, are made interesting by how candid each one is; their frustration and stress are realistic, revealing a level of vulnerability to this entire process that highlights a resilience other, more practiced renovators often lose.

It’s clear this is their first time ‘flipping’ a building on land, which isn’t a bad thing – in fact, it makes the entire series better! It’s their amateur take on this project that turns this program into a showing of community, of Trixie drawing on her wealth of lovable friends and partners to build something she’s dreamed about for years. It spotlights the commitment to uplifting one another that makes the LGBTQ+ community so beautiful and the realistic struggles of trying to renovate a building. It’s a taxing yet rewarding experience that makes Trixie Motel’s success so much more amazing (and entertaining to watch).


We Hope You Enjoyed Your Stay at the ‘Trixie Motel’

In a genre with a pre-established blueprint for what a successful series looks like, any program that challenges that norm is sure to face its struggles. With its brazen representation and the glitzy style of its namesake permeating every aspect, Trixie Motel sees the hardships of challenging the standard and demolishes them. In staying true to the flamboyant wants of its core team, the show and the motel itself become truly wondrous projects like modern television has never seen. And with the constant involvement of lovable personalities from various other shows and backgrounds, it emphasizes what Trixie’s true goal for this building is: to create a place for the community where people can come together and have fun (and, of course, to make a lot of money). It’s a true marvel of this repetitive genre that shirks expectations to create something full of heart and excitable energy – and because of its commitment to being itself, it creates the best renovation show audiences have ever seen.


Trixie Motel is available to stream on Max in the U.S.

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