Friday, March 12, 2010

Schadenfreude, Interrupted

There's a new channel here in Sydney (LifestyleYOU) that seems to be made for me - 90% of the programming is trashy UK reality shows about everything from fat people, to parents have zero common sense when it comes to raising children, to brides who are willing to let their husbands plan the entire wedding and surprise them on the day. I'm still not clear on why these people participate in these shows, but I love them and every single one of their silly sounding accents.

The latest show that seemed to have a lot of promise was Spendaholics - showing us people who seem to have zero concept of personal finance management, and gladly drop a few hundred pounds on a pair of jeans that don't actually fit.

The primary appeal of such a show, of course, is to remind ourselves that despite our own failings, we are not quite as dumb as these people. And so, the first 20 minutes or so is fantastic.

And then...they bring in the psychologist. And he's like, a real psychologist. I personally tend to prefer the fake ones, like the "psychiatrists" they would have on hand at that makeover competition show The Swan, who would actually tell participants that their unwillingness to get a nose job showed that they weren't really committed to changing their life around. But no, this guy is serious. And within minutes we have to hear some pathetic story that ends up somehow linking the spendaholics purchase of a $2,000 projector to the one time their dad didn't take them to the zoo when they were six. And for some reason, it always ends with the spendaholic taking a walk on the beach with one of their parents to discuss whatever childhood trauma has been dug up.

So yeah, my advice is watch the show, but switch off after the first 15 minutes. It's not like any of us actually want to watch people getting helped, for god's sake.

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