From my viewpoint most of the “self help” shows on TV these days consist of an expert telling a dupe (or dupe couple) that they are wrong,
The array of shows seem to follow the following formulas:
You Aren’t Wearing That!!!
Two people treat you like the “cool” kids did in High School (i.e. they berate you for your taste in clothing and ridicule you until you agree with them). While this is entertaining, I suspect I could well be one of their victims, as I am not a “victim of fashion” (to quote Rough Trade) I wear what is comfortable to me mostly (I have suits that I wear when I need to show I can dress like an adult).
You are FAT!
There are a bunch of these shows that either take morbidly obese folks and attempt to get them to lose weight by making them exercise a lot and change their lifestyles or something similar to this. These shows typically are like the jocks in high school making fun of the “geeks and fatties”, except the hosts then attempt to help them lose the weight. I applaud the attempts, but they all seem superficial and I would be very interested to see follow up shows 1, 2 and 5 years after to see if folks keep off the weight.
I’d fit into one of the “hey you need to lose those last 30 lbs” shows right now (under full disclosure).
You can’t Drive or Fix Your House!
There aren’t that many shows about this, but they are quite funny to watch, but in a very mean way. You watch folks who just don’t understand how to drive or how to do any kind of “home fixit” things and you watch the hosts laugh at them about it, and attempt to fix this issue. I must admit I do watch these shows and laugh, but I also feel guilty for doing it. I am also not a “fix it” kind of guy unless it is a computer, then I am ok with that.
You Spend How Much Money?!?
This last type of show is more in my neck of the woods, but again it is painful to watch them. The hosts usually try hard to show the couple or person the folly of their way (I like Gail Vaz Oxlade’s show, but can’t watch it because the stories of how the people got into debt drive me insane). It is important to help these people, but it is important that these people realize that all of this is a lifestyle change, not just a quick fix. Again, follow up with these folks after a while might be very interesting.
I am astounded at some of the folks who go on this show and let their financial misfortunes be put on TV for all their friends and family to see. I think I would sooner see naked pictures of me on the net, than publish all of my financial failings (fear not, I suspect there are no naked pictures of me out there, and if there are, nobody really cares).
Why am I writing about this? Preet over at WhereDoesAllMyMoneyGo won the W Network Expert challenge so he will be doing his own personal finance show pilot and we wish him the best of luck on that.