However, when I first heard of Downsized, a show that premiered last summer, I wanted to give it that good old college try because the circumstances seemed especially fitting given the economic craphole this country seems to be falling into.
If you haven't heard of Downsized, the show is about a family who, having lost "everything" due to the economic downturn, finds itself having to downsize in all aspects in order to survive. I thought the show would be helpful not only in that "we're not the only ones in this boat" way but also maybe light some creative fires for those of us who were looking for ways to conserve and save money.
Negatory! This show is nothing like that and yet I still find myself obsessively watching every Tuesday. Why? I have no idea because frankly I think the Bruce family are a bunch of whiny tools. Okay, not all of them. After all, Danielle is something like 7 years old so I guess she's entitled to some whining. And kids Heather and Levi, father Todd's kids from a previous marriage, seem relatively sane and aware of the fuckery that's going on. Even Rex, the youngest of mom Laura's triplets from a previous marriage, is fairly intuitive. It stops there though.
Confused? Here we go. Todd was married previously and has two kids from said previous marriage. Laura was also married previously, with five kids to her womb's credit. Todd and Laura were neighbors of some sort and at some point, Todd's marriage broke up and Laura's marriage broke up and they ended up getting together. So now they have Heather, Liam (Todd's kids), Bailey, Whitney, Dylan, Rex and Danielle (Laura's kids). And oh yes, they also have Todd's dog from the previous marriage, Bailey. Not to be confused with Bailey the Girl.
Todd was a contractor in Anthem, Arizona when business was booming. When the economy took a dive, his business basically died and the Bruces, who were living high on the hog, lost their primary residence, their rental property and Todd's work vehicle. Laura is a teacher but as she rather ignorantly pointed out, because her salary is so low, she might as well be working for free. Tell that to the many people who are unemployed, Laura, and looking for work for free.
I know, they sound sympathetic, right? Todd loses the shirt off his back (it seems literally because this guy appears shirtless way too much) and they have nine freaking kids to support. But it's hard to feel sympathy for a couple who are whining about not being able to eat out anymore (they claim to have eaten out 3-4 times a week prior to the downturn), Laura whining about having to cook for such a large family (how can you not know how to cook when you have an entire litter of kids?) and then crying because she can't afford to drive her Mercedes to the local Starbucks daily to pick up her coffee. (And not because she doesn't have the Mercedes anymore because she does). Oh cry me a river, Laura. Let me wipe away your tears while I carry my travel mug into work from my Honda.
These two assclowns are so financially inept and challenged that an episode last season showed they couldn't pay their rent on time and burdened the entire family with their worries, causing Dylan to sell his prized baseball glove for the money and a few other kids to dumpster dive for recyclables in order to kick in for some rent money. Todd and Laura's contribution? Todd told Laura she could not ask her parents for help and then bought Laura a travel mug for her coffee since she could no longer rendevous with her precious Starbucks. Laura sent Bailey the Girl to the grocery store with a government assistance food stamp-like card but Laura being the genius she so obviously is did not keep track of how much they previously spent so Bailey the Girl was stuck in the checkout line with a cart of food that she couldn't pay for.
It takes special people to be parents like this, doesn't it?
So the first season ended with them trying to stay afloat with their army of kids, Todd having a potential job in Kansas and Laura freaking out because it would mean that Todd would be gone for SIX. MONTHS.
I am the first person who sympathizes with families who are separated and I know from firsthand experience that six months can seem twice as long during the separation. However, if your kid is selling his possessions to keep you from being evicted and you are taking money out of your kids' savings accounts to put food on the table, you do what you gotta do.
Unless you're Todd and Laura Bruce.
So season two kicks off this summer and we find out that Todd either didn't get or didn't take the job in Kansas. He's still looking for work. Apparently at the gym because all he seems to do is work out. Laura, meanwhile, is still working (for free) at the school and she also waits tables in the evenings at the same pizza joint Bailey the Girl slings food at. Let's just call a "whoooooaaaaa" right here. Why is Laura holding down two jobs while Todd currently has none? And if you didn't catch it the first twenty or so times Laura mentioned it, she also suffers from MS. So I would think that out of the two parents in the home, despite Laura's lack of homemaking skills, she should not be the one working two jobs.
To make matters worse, Todd goes to get a painting job from a house flipper and . . . he doesn't. Why? Not just because he's a general douche but because he starts figuring insurance, travel, materials, etc. into his estimate. What a moron. You are no longer a contractor, Todd. The house flipper was expecting you to paint the house, not contract it out to others and take pay. Is he really too stupid to see that? And to see that maybe this one painting job could lead to others? Really, it should be no surprise that this family finds itself in the situation they are in.
Furthermore, I've noticed it pointed out on t.v. forums that Bailey the Girl is sporting $150+ jeans and Todd is never seen without his UnderArmour attire (not cheap, by the way). Were these gifts? Product endorsements? Because it would be yet another reason to lack sympathy for this family who claims to be struggling.
I am disappointed, WE. I wanted to like this show. I wanted to relate. I can't relate to these idiots you put on your show. The only positive is that the show provides me with plenty of snarky entertainment value and teaches me what not to do.