Noticed some changes? You can read all about the improvements we've made on the Forum in our latest announcement. We also have a new set of Forum rules so please take the time to give them a read and familiarise yourself.

'Are you a 'real person'?' blog discussion

edited 30 April 2012 at 12:40PM in Martin's Blogs & Appearances & MoneySavingExpert in the News
23 replies 4.8K views
13»

Replies

  • wozearlywozearly Forumite
    202 Posts
    Percy1983 wrote: »
    I will say I have seen money saving programs on TV without Martin and thought this isn't real, ie they have £40k debts yet earn £80k, the answer is usually stop spending £1500 a week on clothes and hair cuts, which is great but really doesn't help 'real people'.

    The issue with TV show examples is that they pick people who will make good television.

    Its a shockingly high amount of debt, yet the programme is nonetheless able to offer a positive resolution because the individual has the financial means to resolve their position and, also crucially, their reasons for ending up in debt and their desperate tearful soul-searching as they say "...but this £250 haircut is really IMPORTANT to me" keeps people watching with expressions of mild shock and disbelief.

    But unless its faked, the person involved is real and was really helped. They're just not very representative of most other people in debt.

    Unfortunately, there's probably less mileage in a show that takes on more representative people, but fails to find solutions to their problems or can only conclude; "Well, you'd be fine if you hadn't got yourself in so much debt just before the economy tanked and you lost your job. If you ever find a time machine, go back and tell your past-self that. For now, I hope you continue being able to feed your children without having to pawn your wedding ring...and now on to our next item, where Angie is exploring whether rain in Spain does fall mainly on the plain..."
  • edited 1 August 2012 at 3:30PM
    old_grouserold_grouser Forumite
    176 Posts
    edited 1 August 2012 at 3:30PM
    The Oxford philosopher J L Austin used to say that you've always got to ask what 'real' is being contrasted to [a real duck contrasts with a toy one, a rubber one, or a decoy duck, for example]. So where there is no obvious point of contrast,as in Martin's examples, the words 'real people' lack meaning.[What are the contrasts? Dead people? Fictional characters?] Instead, 'real peoplel' carries a vague emotive commendatory sense, rather like 'British'. We're not quite sure what it is or who it applies to, but we tend to assume we're in favour of it! It saves anyone having to think.
    O G :cool: Somewhere on the South Downs
    3.29kWp S by E
    Greetings to Druids everywhere
  • Ben84Ben84 Forumite
    3.1K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Combo Breaker
    ✭✭✭✭
    Percy1983 wrote: »
    I will say I have seen money saving programs on TV without Martin and thought this isn't real, ie they have £40k debts yet earn £80k, the answer is usually stop spending £1500 a week on clothes and hair cuts, which is great but really doesn't help 'real people'.

    I've seen these things and thought, who are these people and where did they find them? To me, it doesn't feel like a good representation of the money problems most people deal with.

    However, that's why they're on TV worrying about their £300 hair cuts rather than me worrying about the gas bill for my relatively ordinary size house. People watch these programs and pay attention because of the controversy within them. It makes people talk about them, it makes people keep watching them.

    Viewers of TV programs and readers of magazine and newspaper articles are often led down a disingenuous path by the producer/writer who pitches one thing as another to maximise this effect. At the TV studio, I'm sure they know this is not a money saving program for typical people in the UK. However "Tune in after the break for another installment of more money than sense" is a little too frank for many viewers. We're starting to see this type of thing on TV, but for now a lot of people are enjoying purely voyeuristic reality TV that pretends it's serious TV.
This discussion has been closed.