Friday, November 19, 2010

Are you Watching? Downsized

If you are – please stop. This is a terrible show. And for me to say a reality show is terrible, well, that takes a lot. Let’s remember, I even liked Rock of Love. Downsized is a terrible show. It is supposed to be a reality TV show about how a couple with seven kids who lose everything when the construction industry dries out in Arizona tightens up their budgets and adjusts to life outside the mansion. The lose everything part is right; the tightening and adjusting - not so much.

 They have lost their house, declared bankruptcy and moved into a much smaller 3,000 square foot rental house. Yep, I said 3,000 square feet. The husband is basically not working and the wife is a teacher. The thing that drives me crazy is that the show is edited so that we supposed to feel sorry for this family – crying interviews with the parents and children, a shocking health revelation, and the touching scene where the boy sells his favorite baseball mitt so they can make rent.

However, the reality of the situation makes it a little difficult. The editors can’t exclude that every kid has a cell phone, the ten year old takes $145 a month cheerleading classes, the kids browse the internet, play on the Wii or the ping pong table, coupons are just too hard to use, and the mom can’t be bothered to keep track how much is left on the Food Stamps card. If I sound judgmental – it is because I am judging. These people are clueless. In the latest episode, the wife loses it because their straight-talking financial advisor tells her she has to lose her Starbucks addiction. They could not make rent because they were $300 short and she is defending her $5 a day coffee habit. Use math much?

Maybe the show will get better now that a financial advisor has entered the picture, but I am doubtful and I don’t plan on sticking around to find out. The idea of the show is interesting. I just wish they had picked a family that was committed to actually living with their means. I think that is what would make good television. Watching the debate about keeping cable and internet access or the 10 year old’s cheerleading.

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