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"House Hunters" Episode Featured Lehigh Valley Family

"House Hunters" portrayed Lehigh County community as perfect and that's because it is, say residents

"I was thinking about setting up a table at Giant and giving out autographs," jokes Jonathan Pulliatte of Lower Macungie Township, who recently appeared on HGTV's "House Hunters."

Newly famous, Pulliatte has been recognized by a stranger on a tour of Willow Lane Elementary School. Well, that is, she thought she had seen him "somewhere before" and it turned out to be on the show.

Also, a few customers at Bruno Ravioli store in Manhattan, where he commutes by Bieber Bus, have taken note.

Pulliatte and his wife, Stacy, shared their move from New Jersey last spring on an episode of the predictable yet strangely addictive "House Hunters," in which a camera follows home buyers around three properties before they buy one.

The program seems realistic but, of course, it isn't. As Pulliatte puts it, "What kind of idiot would take out a 30-year mortgage after only looking at three homes?"

He says his family had actually just closed on their new house in Bridle Path West as the filming started in March. Their real estate agent, Lisa Graul-Oswald, had to track down a couple of other properties for them to pretend to consider.

"Lisa said, 'Let's sign up for fun,'" says Pulliatte, who was paid $500, "but it turned out to be a lot of work."

Although the show as aired lasts only 22 minutes, it required six days of filming, including innumerable retakes in which the stars made their comments from different camera angles.

"When the camera goes on, you become a different person!" says Pulliatte. "You forget things and mumble your words."

Even the easygoing Graul-Oswald turned "very formal" the moment the camera rolled. Graul-Oswald says she was worried that blithe remarks on national television would make it hard to sell the houses that weren't picked.

"Now I'm ready for a reality show!" she exclaims. "I would just try to be myself. People said I wasn't myself, that I'm a lot more vivacious."

"House Hunters" also exaggerated the problems with the house the Pulliates "chose" and left the impression that they bought it mainly for their 3-year-old daughter.

On the last segment of the episode, the couple was scheduled to visit the Da Vinci Science Center with their three children but had to cancel after everybody got the flu.

"The Da Vinci Center had brought in a special cleaning crew," Pulliate recalls. "They were very disappointed."

Even as they fret a little, the family is sure of one thing: that "House Hunters" portrayed Lower Macungie Township as the perfect community, and that's because it is.

They are unabashedly in love with their new home and neighborhood, the East Penn schools, the Iron Pigs -- even the Kohl's in Trexlertown.

"In the New York area, you work to live," Pulliatte says of his old address. "But in the Lehigh Valley, you're working and living."

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