A few nights ago Stace and I were corralling the boy and trying to watch some television and she ended up putting it on WE TV. Women’s Entertainment. I bet you can imagine how excited I was. I started watching because, well, if there’s a TV on and it’s not sports, I’ll probably watch it. The program was called “Downsized”. Basically it’s a family with seven children (think Brady Bunch) and they are going through a tough financial time. The husband, Todd Bruce, was a very successful contractor. In 2007 he made 1.5 million dollars. Then the economy started slipping. In 2008 he made only 500 thousand. In 2009 he says he didn’t make much at all. Laura Bruce is a teacher; I think the show said she made around $40,000 a year.
With the decline in the economy this family is sacrificing to ‘downsize’ there lifestyle. Their house was foreclosed on and they’re living in a rental. When business started to slump, Todd started financing his company payroll on his personal credit cards hoping it was just temporary. His company went under and now he is stuck with the debt. This family has way more money going out at the end of the month than coming in.
I feel like the show is pretty interesting, if not a bit unrealistic. At their current income (hers plus whatever he can get with his new construction company) they’re making more money than a large portion of Americans. The big crisis of the episode we watched was that the wife, Laura, was used to spending $150 a month on Starbucks coffee. What. The. Hell. Who does that? Even when making 1.5 million why would you spend that much on coffee? It seems absolutely ludicrous. So, she had to figure out how to make her own (it was one of those cold coffee frappuccino things she was obsessed with) so they could cut that much out of their budget. The 10 year old also had to drop cheerleading because it cost $145 a month. That’s more than my power bill.
I think this family is displaying courage in opening up their lives to the cameras, but maybe they should have had their heads removed from the asses first. These people had borrowed thousand form their children. They’ve been put onto foodstamps. And yet, they have a reality TV show and their big problem is gourmet coffee.
This is a stunning example of what’s wrong with our country. They didn’t put a middle class family on the show; they picked a family that was rich and is now middle class. Sure, it’s a great step down for them, but the show I want to see is what to do when a household is making $50,000 and their income gets cut in half. Then what? That’s the problem Americans are having. We need to be realistic. This show can help, I guess, but it’s entertainment. They’ve edited it cleverly to make more dram than (most likely) there is. WE wants ratings, so they’re going to get them. I wish this family luck, and I will probably check back in, but this show just seems the disrespect people out there who are truly struggling.