One of my favorite shows on A&E is Beyond Scared Straight, where problem teenagers are brought inside of a prison and shown how life is on the inside and the kids get a chance to get a feel for what real prisoners are like.
The show is quite raw, and unapologetic about things (and usually says that most of the kids in the end don’t really take advantage of this chance, and end up in prison), but it is a show about redemption (or the hope of redemption), and I think that is why I am fond of it.
This got me thinking about the Financial Redemption shows that are currently on TV, shows like:
- Gail Vaz-Oxlade and her various shows where she attempts to pound home financial common sense to Troubled Financial Adults, who seem to not understand that there is no fairy god mother who is going to pay their bills (but then Gail gives them $5000 so maybe that is the wrong message).
- Our friend Preet sounds like he might be cooking up a similar type of show, we shall see (he is looking for folks to be on his show, I hear).
There are other shows like this out there, trying to get people to understand what their Financial Misdeeds will do to their lives and to their family if this behavior continues. Many of these shows seem to show that in the end even the worst of us can learn from their mistakes, but I suspect this may really not be the case.
That got me thinking if I was producing a show about Financial Redemption, I think I’d want it to be a lot more raw and maybe show that this kind of change is not as simple as most folks think.
If the show had some of the following it might be a little more believable (and maybe more educational for the viewers):
- Have an actual collection agency show up and repossess something from the debtors house, even if it is paid for, to understand how it feels to have something repossessed. Point out that this will happen if they don’t clean up their act. Get the guys from Operation Repo to show up, they are a very scary bunch.
- Have them live in a shelter for a few days or public housing? This could easily scare a lot of folks straight, I am stealing this from the BBC show Secret Millionaire, but it would be good for folks who don’t realize where they are heading.
- Make people live for 6 months without their cars, and no cabs either, only a bus pass. This would be an interesting way to show folks where their bad habits could lead them (i.e. without a car, or an ability to come and go whenever they wish).
I really wonder whether these folks who claim they have repented (financially) are really going to stay on the straight and narrow financially?