Now that my postgraduate course is slowing down for Christmas, I get to spend a greater number of daylight hours doing productive things like working on my book, writing articles, spending time with friends and family and watching terrible, terrible, bad, terrible daytime television.
Particularly of interest is a show I’ve found myself watching on no less than four occasions called Make Me Rich in which a TV Money Guru goes round to people’s houses and shows them how to save literally pence a year (actually, it does usually equate to several thousand pounds) by cutting back in certain areas.
The principal of the show seems quite commendable at first: Mr. TV Guru Man says things like “I want to tackle those big companies who rip you off and put the money back in your hands”. The website says:
“This series isn’t about cutting back – it’s about enabling people to take on companies, find the top deals, and play the system helping them to potentially release thousands of pounds each year.“
I like this. It is good. He’s literally sticking it to the man. He’s like a human version of anarchist fox, Robin Hood. ITV are being quite brave here by airing such radical anti-establishment programming so early in the day: the mums of the nation will soon be forming NIMBY groups against the biggest multinationals.
The money-saving starts with quite sensible things that scrape surprising amounts of money back from The Corporation such as ‘giving up smoking’ so that the evil tobacco people are robbed of up to £10,000 of working-class money per year.
But then it all goes quite mad. They start cutting back on things like food or having haircuts or bathing. They cancel their gym memberships. They have their pets exterminated in order to save on vet bills. All of this is obvious: the key to becoming rich it seems is not to spend or do anything.
In the end they have saved around twenty grand but at what cost? They are now long-haired, seldom-bathed freaks with no friends, shivering from nicotine withdrawal and staying at home every night with all the lights turned off.
It’s great TV.