Reality TV just got a whole lot more “real” with a new show called “Downsized,” about a family that went from millionaire to barely there on the economic map. Once spending their days golfing and going out to expensive dinners every night, the first episode finds this family of nine living in a rental house and struggling to scrape together rent money, going to the grocery story and only having enough money on their food stamps to buy a gravy packet, and dumpster-diving for recyclables they can trade for cash.
It sounds depressing, so why watch it? Because it is captivating (the husband, wife, teenage sons and daughters each has their own reaction to the new circumstances), and inspiring (“they’ll do without, but they’ll do it together”) as well as practical (besides watching the family go through their budget saving, income-raising experiences, there are “Downsized” tips and quizzes on the WEtv website).
If you think you know who the people are who are getting their homes foreclosed — watch this show. If you don’t believe the middle class is struggling in the current economy — or you think that people who may have overextended themselves and are now facing the dire consequences don’t need help — take another look. Maybe this has not happened to you or anyone you know — or maybe it is you, or someone in your family, or someone among your friends or neighbors. The best way to gain compassion for somebody else is to walk in their shoes, and watching this show you can begin to see what it takes for some families just to get by these days.
New episodes of Downsized air Saturdays at 9pm/8pm Central on WEtv and repeat several times during the week. Check local listings.