Thursday, December 4, 2008

A good cry

I cried multiple times last night, and it felt so great! (If you're a man, does this sentence make any sense to you?) I watched Fox's new show, Secret Millionaire, and those tears just kept welling up.

Here's the premise: Fox sends multimillionaires to live in poverty for a week. They are "undercover," not revealing their wealth, and they have the opportunity to get to know people in need. At the end of the week, they give at least $100,000 of their own money, to one or multiple recipients.

Two episodes were shown last night. In the first, a very successful lawyer and his son gave away $25,000 to one person and $50,000 to two others, for a total of $125,000. In the second, a wealthy couple gave $100,000 to each of three different organizations, for a total of $300,000.

Maybe I should be upset that they're playing on my emotions, that things are never what they seem on reality TV, etc. But instead I was really touched. The father/son duo seemed so genuinely affected by the poverty, realizing just how blessed they were. I loved seeing that in both episodes, more than the "minimum" $100,000 was given freely. It seemed that the givers and the recipients were all deeply, positively affected.

Every time a check was handed over, I cried. It was a great evening of television.


Lyndsay said...

I am bummed I missed it. I didn't realize it was on last night.

Unlike you, I don't enjoy a good cry. Once I start, I just can't stop and I end up looking like I got punched in the face for days.

So, on second thought, maybe skipping it was a good thing?

Anonymous said...

I did not see this show, but I could see myself crying right along with you had I seen it. I actually love the idea they have for it!

If only people could be so giving without cameras in front of them.

Angie said...

I think it's a great idea. I'm sure they give the money away to people who are in need & who will appreciate it. Being the skeptic I am, I would like to see the same people in 6 months & 1 year. I would like to see how they changed their lives.

A couple in my nameless town got their home redone on Extreme Homemakeover. I don't know them personally, but I do know of them. A friend of mine sends her daughter to the same private school that the family attends. After it was done, the Mom complained. Constantly. She didn't like their trip. The family after them went to Europe. All she got was a trip to a 5 star luxury resort spa & to go the Superbowl. (She has a family of boys that loves football.) She didn't like what they did to her house. It wasn't her taste. She thought they should have done more. They went out and mortgaged their home that was already paid for. They blew threw the money. New clothes, new cars, vacation to Europe. Their home was forclosed on a few months ago. Theirs wasn't publicized like the one in Atlanta, but it happened. I've driven past the house. It's beautiful & vacant.

d said...

If Fox is so 'concerned' about the fate of these people who live in poverty why don't they turn over all the proceeds of the show to these people? The hypocrisy is blinding..ratings are all that count and playing on emotions is a tried and tested way for TV networks to make more profits. I really don't think they give one jot for the people involved. That's what makes me cry!

Chris said...

We cry too. Sometimes...when no one is looking...and the lights are off...and we are alone. Oh yeah, and at the end of Rocky.

C. Beth said...

Lyndsay--I think it's good you missed it. :-D

Tabby--You can watch it online! I do hope these folks continue to give. At least the second guy sounded like he's already big into giving to charity.

Angie--Wow-what an awful story. :(

D--Now, there it is! There's that cynicism I couldn't seem to drum up in myself when I wrote this! Thank you! :) Ready for my devil's advocate position? Fox does give to charity. When it comes down to it, though they aren't and don't claim to be a charity; they're a TV network. Entertainment is their business. Also, the show focused more on the givers than the recipients--which to me was part of what touched me, seeing how affected these people were when they saw a part of their country they weren't familiar with, and the joy they had in giving. Your response? I know you have one! :)


Eternal Lizdom said...

I adhn't heard about this show but I will look for it next week- sounds like it is right up my alley!

d said...

Entertainment is their business and they should stop cloaking it in sentimentality and mawkishness that is disrespectful of those involved in these reality shows and of the viewer. If they really wanted to save the world they could forego the big tax breaks they get for these 'charitable' contributions and distribute the money more equitably and pointedly instead of drumming up some latent guilt in all of us who are alittle more comfortable than some;)

Isabella said...

I didn't watch the show.
I figured any show that could make me cry just by previews should be avoided. Same thing with that Extreme Home Makeover show...I love it, but can barely make it through an episode in one piece.


Josh said...

(New blogger here)

What an excellent story. I think your post alone shows the great divide in America. I can think of no other subject (money) that can be so drastically different between one person and the next.

Take your story for example. It was full of hope, admiration, and respect. However, the same story, when read by someone else (say "D"), had a completely different effect.

I'll be honest; when I see someone give money to another, I think "Well, what tax deduction is s/he getting?" Or, "I bet that'll look good for their new business they probably just opened."

The cynicism I feel with respect to money is as automatic as me cussing that last red light ... I can't help it.

If only I could see the good ...

beckiwithani said...

I'm not jumping into this discussion because I refuse to take sides in an argument between my twin sister and my husband!

(Okay, I guess I'm jumping in a little ... to say that I agree with D's cynical comments, but these shows make me cry in spite of myself. They get old after awhile, though, and I hate feeling manipulated emotionally.)


C. Beth said...

Liz--Yes--I think you will like it!

D--I think you have interesting arguments. But I still think as entertainment goes, I'd prefer to watch entertaining charity (even though I'm sure some of it is contrived) than lots of other stuff out there. I don't like debating nearly as much as my gorgeous sister does, though, so I'll offer you the last word and then let it go. :) Oh, and sorry I had to delete your entirely inappropriate comment on TOMW. (Just kidding.)

Isabella--Ha! Yeah, I can see your point....

Schafner--True! I didn't intend for this to become a cultural petri dish, but it did end up bringing up some interesting feelings, didn't it?

Becki--I'm glad you didn't stay out of it entirely! I agree I'm being manipulated; I just don't mind as much as you do. I tell myself that because I'm aware of it, it's not so bad. :-D

Anonymous said...

I'm am going to have to DVR this one- just love feel good tv! PS- Love the new holiday/winter header- so seasonal & cheery!

Sandra said...

I like to take something like that show at face value. I like tv programs that demonstrate admirable behavior. I feel they help tip the scale away from all the negative behaviors that are demonstrated on other shows.

If I would have watched, I would have cried too. :)