Drew and Jonathan Scott, known to HGTV viewers as the Property Brothers, love their fans — they also love pranking fans.
It’s 11 a.m. in Times Square, and the tourists and early lunch crowd from nearby office buildings collide on 42nd Street. Fifty feet above the sidewalk chaos, inside an atrium at Madame Tussauds, Drew Scott demonstrates his best wax figure stances.
In a few minutes, fans will shuffle in small groups into the room to pose with what they think are wax figures of the brothers. You can predict where this is going.
Like the personality fans see on television, Drew in person is affable and engaged while still tuning in to everything moving around him. Also, his suit tailoring is impeccable.
As he playfully practices a dead-eye, waxy stare, we discuss expectations for the day’s shenanigans.
“I’m expecting someone to come in and grab Jonathan’s butt and be like, ‘That’s totally not real,’” he jokes, as his twin brother sits out of earshot in a hair and makeup station nearby. “It’ll be the most action he’s had in a long time.”
Combine the lighthearted sibling banter with a nonstop work ethic, and you understand how the Property Brothers turned real-life business success into a cable television phenomenon.
HGTV is the network you binge-watch with your mom when you lug dirty laundry home for a long weekend. It’s wholesome without pushing an agenda (unless you count granite countertops) and cross-generationally entertaining (no nudity or cursing, only more granite).
So, in the widespread appeal of renovations and real estate, it makes sense that Jonathan and Drew Scott would emerge as one of the cable channel’s standouts — they’re the type of men your mother would love. (And she’ll remind you at least five times during a Buying and Selling marathon.)
The brothers’ broad fanbase is evident in the group of eager fans gathered outside Madame Tussauds on the day of the prank. Children, mothers, grandmothers (and a few husbands along for the ride) and groups of 30-something-year-old friends all wait to see, and maybe grab the butt of, the supposed wax figures.
With cameras in place and the brothers standing arms crossed and stares fixed, a mother and daughter pair enter the room.
“That’s so cool,” Catherine Manning says quietly to her mother, Janet, as she squints to get a better look at the figures. As they lean in for a closer examination, Drew comes to life and Janet shrieks with a mix of shock and delight.
“You guys pulled off an incredible surprise — true, true Property Brothers fashion,” Janet says backstage, still shaking off the shock.
The mother-daughter duo came into the city from Eastchester, New York to see the attraction. When asked about their favorite brother, Catherine answers diplomatically at first, until settling on an answer. “I would never say because I love both equally … buuuuut Drew did take a selfie with me, so Drew is ranking a little higher. Also I got a hug from Drew, but I’m just saying.”
“Team Jonathan vs. Team Drew” is a common theme throughout the day, in between the screams and clutching of hearts from fans.
Susan Davis, an executive assistant from New York City, nearly collapsed when Jonathan reanimated from his waxy stance behind her. Davis, after a few deep breaths, describes the incident as a “genuine thrill, shock and excitement.” She jokes that her mom, a fellow fan of the brothers, will suffer a heart attack when she hears about the experience.
When asked about the brothers’ appeal, she relays a sentiment we heard repeated from fans all day. “At first I thought it was this gimmick because they were like two hot twins,” Davis says. “But once I started watching with my mom, I just saw how very compassionate and warm they were — and they actually know their stuff. They’re just really good people. They’re just really good people.”
It’s a good thing that fans love Drew and Jonathan because the tremble-inducing scares continue, and while no butts were grabbed, Jonathan did end up with a battle wound on his neck.
“There was one person who clawed me,” Jonathan says half-smiling, as he shows off a fresh scrape above the collar of his plaid shirt. “The things I do for a good scare.”
Bloody cuts aside, the brothers call the day a success.
“We just love interacting with our fans face-to-face. It just makes what we do a little more real,” Drew says as they prepare to leave the museum and head to location.
Originally Posted on Mashable June 5, 2015