The stakes are raised in Gail Vaz Oxlade’s Money Moron
It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of Gail Vaz-Oxlade, writer, personal finance evangelist and TV host extraordinaire! I subscribed to the “Cult of Gail” a few years ago with Til Debt Do Us Part, a show that helped couples with their looming financial instability, and also enjoyed her second show Princess, a reality show that humbled some exceptionally spoiled adults.
Now Gail is back, with her newest show on Slice Network, Money Moron. This new show is almost like a shaky marriage of her two previous shows, with a little bit of Til Debt Do Us Part, emphasizing the damage and friction that results when people are clueless about their finances, but it also confronts them in a very Princess-like fashion.
I think the main reason I clicked with Gail initially with Til Debt Do Us Part was that she was teaching lessons that worked for the couple in question specifically, but also revealed tips and information that felt useful to the audience at home. From what I saw, after watching dozens of episodes, her rules paid off and I definitely changed my attitude concerning money. You could say that I wouldn’t be where I am today without her!
Princess, however, was a different matter. I grew to really like that show but I suspect that I enjoyed it because I felt superior to these “Princesses”, and a teensy bit outraged at their entitlement. Princess was the kind of show that was absolutely made to make the audience feel a little bit smug, while ultimately helping their subjects at the same time.
Which leaves us with her new show, Money Moron. In the interest of full disclosure, I received a screener of the first episode of the show to write a preview before it came out. I learned (through other interviews Gail did in the press) that Money Moron would focus on financial responsibility and how it affects people’s relationships, but not necessarily always between couples. It could be parents and children, siblings or possibly even friends, so unlike Princess, the show focuses on the importance of financial honesty and disclosure with your loved ones.
The first episode featured Deanna and James, an engaged couple of aspiring actors who both work part-time (combined, they barely made $2000 a month), and live in Deanna’s parent’s basement. This fun-loving couple was somehow living in la-la land, because they were in cumulative debt to the tune of nearly $100,000! I understand that the first episode of any reality series aims to hammer home the danger of being financially illiterate, but I felt really sorry for this couple. The producers clearly chose the least financially well-off couple in this series to start with and for the first time, I felt like Gail was shooting fish in the barrel. These kids needed help way beyond what a TV show could offer. Overall, I left that episode feeling a little bit squirmy.
THANKFULLY, the second episode aired last night and I am happy to report that the structure is much tighter. The couple, Laura and Sean, were also big “Money Morons”, but the advice and the process that Gail and the team used to improve their finances appeared much more thought out than the previous episode. I felt like the financial reveal was a lot more constructive and that the challenges went a long way to help heal some of the issues brought upon by their financial negligence in their relationship.
After watching just the first episode, I was a bit concerned. But after watching the second, I know I’ll definitely continue to watch this show. Despite the fact that I wasn’t too satisfied with the first episode because it felt more exploitative than I’m used to with Gail’s shows, I’m glad to say that it appears to be the exception, not the rule.
Gail is also an author of several successful personal finance books, you can purchase her most recent book Debt-Free Forever: Take Control of Your Money and Your Life on Amazon for a song and it features some great tips and resources to manage your financial future.
Did you watch Money Moron? What did you think?