FARGO - Last May, Bernie Erickson and David Hamilton's south Fargo neighbors must have thought they were a little bit crazy. The couple got decked out in parkas, poured themselves cosmopolitans and dangled their feet in their pool while telling a video camera all about their backyard.
"Four months out of the year, this is a beautiful backyard oasis," Erickson tells the camera as it pans across the clear, blue water.
"But we want to experience the oasis, full time, all the time, every day," Hamilton chimes in.
Why confess all of this to the camera?
The two men were shooting an audition video to appear on the popular HGTV series "House Hunters International," the show in which cameras follow people as they tour three international properties they're considering purchasing.
After several rounds of interviews, Hamilton and Erickson - who were looking to buy property in Playa Hermosa, Costa Rica - found out they had been chosen to be on the show. It airs on HGTV tonight at 9:30 p.m. Central time. (Check your provider for channels.)
"We watch the show a lot, and I just thought it would be loads of fun," says Hamilton, a professor at Concordia College and general director of the FM Opera. "I like seeing exotic places and Costa Rica has been on my bucket list for awhile so I thought, 'Why not?'."
Erickson, a realtor, was game as well.
"We did some Skyped interviews and they asked us what we were looking for, what was our price range and what were our expectations," Erickson says.
Erickson and Hamilton, who live in a two-story colonial here, decided they wanted to look for a condominium in a tropical climate they could visit a couple of times a year and rent out the rest of the year.
In September, after they had officially been invited to appear on the show, the production crew flew to Fargo for on-camera interviews.
"I think the film crew was pleasantly surprised by Fargo," Hamilton says. "They filmed us at the Fargo Theatre and the Farmers Market, and I think they were impressed with everything they saw."
Hamilton adds that he thinks "the Fargo thing" might have been one of the main reasons they were selected in the first place.
"Plus, we're fun!" he says.
After filming in Fargo, they took off for four days of shooting in Costa Rica where cameras followed the couple and their realtor as they looked at three different properties. To add to the reality show drama, Erickson and Hamilton didn't agree on everything. Hamilton wanted a place with a lot of green space for gardening and landscaping, while Erickson mostly wanted a view of the beach.
"I've heard people say the ocean is the sound of the earth breathing," he says. "It just makes you feel connected."
The men aren't allowed to tell us which home with which amenities they chose, if any. You'll have to watch the show to see for yourselves. But they can tip us off to a few behind-the-scenes surprises that come with filming a reality TV show.
"The whole process was so interesting," Hamilton says. "Before this, I would have guessed the crew would be much larger, but it was just three people. And we shot for 20 hours, and they only used about 21 minutes."
Hamilton says overall it was a "fantastic experience."
So does this mean they've been bitten by the reality show bug? Perhaps, Hamilton, an avid cook, would like to audition for The Food Network show, "Chopped?"
"Oh, no," he says with a laugh. "I don't even know half of the ingredients on that show."
But if he changes his mind, he might just have a brand new Costa Rican kitchen where he can practice.