Slice’s Money Moron joins TV intervention genre

Gail Vaz-Oxlade-1

Despite a global economic crisis, too many Canadians have not taken heed of the warnings and reduced their reliance on consumer debt.

Enter TV money guru Gail Vaz-Oxlade and her upcoming Slice reality series Money Moron as it looks to save Canadian couples from financial ruin for a chance to win $10,000.

“People glimpse themselves in a variety of different stories. They come to identify with the challenges and the mistakes that the people on TV make and they come to learn the tools and directions that I’m getting them to take up,” Vaz-Oxlade, the host of two earlier Slice series, Til Debt Do Us Part and Princess, tells Playback.

“I meet people all the time who have been watching the previous shows I made, and they tell me ‘I did what you said, and things are better now,’” she explains.

Slice’s Money Moron is the latest addition to the intervention genre on TV, series like Intervention, Hoarders and The Biggest Loser.

Vaz-Oxlade’s hunch is debt-loads explode because one person in a relationships is a “money moron.”

In the series’ first episode, that moron is James, whose high-spending dreams of being an actor represent dysfunction, which Vaz-Oxlade can cure.

Never mind that halfway through the episode the whistleblower,  James’ partner Deanna, is exposed to have an even a higher debt load and dreams of a prohibitively expensive wedding.

“It’s not the debt per se that’s the problem. It’s that they’re not dealing with the debt,” Vaz-Oxlade offers Playback as a diagnosis of James and Deanna’s financial troubles.

Her message to the couple is get real to reduce the debt and assure themselves a future together.

And her remedy is to track their expenses in a journal to bring their spending under control.

“You can’t have the things that people who work harder than you have. It’s that simple,” Vaz-Oxlade tells James and Deanna at one point, as they are transformed from figures of fun to repentant financial delinquents.

All of which has Money Moron reinforcing a popular culture view of overspending and debt as the result of people being lazy and reckless, not predatory lending and a consumer-driven economy out of control.

“Usually what gets you into that situation is you’re living a lifestyle you can’t afford,” Vaz-Oxlade explains.

So she has so-called money morons assess what they have and what they need.

Vaz-Oxlade insists her prescription for financial infidelity is working for Canadians, even if she concedes consumer debt remains alarmingly high and stands to leave legions of Canadians bankrupt when low interest rates inevitably rise.

“I was in Prince George, and a woman came onto the stage and she had tears on her face, and she looked at me and said, ‘my husband died three months ago,’” she recounts.

Vaz-Oxlade told the woman she was sorry for her loss.

But she hadn’t been looking for compassion.

Instead, she offered vindication for Vaz-Oxlade’s financial advice.

“She told me ‘we did everything you said. We had the emergency fund. We did our wills and because of that my children are fine. I wanted to tell you that. Because of you, we’re fine,’” she remembered.

Money Moron, produced by Peacock Alley Entertainment, will bow on Slice on April 19.

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