Sunday, April 13, 2008

lessons to be learned from tv

Proof that if you watch a lot of tv, you can learn about money.
'The Apprentice'
What You Can Learn: In real life, just as on the show, there are co-workers who will demoralize their team and who will be happy to sell your soul if it means currying favor with the boss, who you will hate. Yet there will be other staff members who you will take a bullet for, or even risk hearing, "you're fired," if it means protecting your workplace pal.
'The Office'
What You Can Learn: Michael Scott, the Scranton, Pa., branch manager of paper company Dunder Mifflin, is a case study for how not to manage one's finances professionally and personally. Even what Michael did in his youth, is a financial cautionary tale. As a young man, he admirably put aside money for his education while working at an Arby's restaurant. But his plans to go to college were destroyed when he lost his entire savings in a pyramid scheme.
I love the Office!
'Two and a Half Men'
What You Can Learn: Money is always haunting the Harper brothers. Alan is a chiropractor, but has his finances tied up in alimony payments and child support. Charlie is a musician, but not the kind who makes platinum albums; he writes ad jingles. After Alan's second divorce, he makes the wry observation that, "In my entire life, my dog is the only person I've slept in the same bed with that didn't sue me for alimony."
'Sex and the City'
What You Can Learn: Carrie Bradshaw, Samantha Jones, Charlotte York and Miranda Hobbes are all living in the corporate world -- 'Desperate Housewives' this is not. Financial lessons abound, particularly when following Carrie, who has trouble with the "living within your means" guideline.
'The Colbert Report'
What You Can Learn: Colbert's regular segments include "Bears & Balls," in which finance-related questions are asked, and he provides answers ("Buy gas. It's a sure-fire commodity with no risk except for the sure risk of fire.") Then there's Colbert Platinum, in which the host thoughtfully showcases outlandishly pricey products that only the superrich can afford. But that's OK. As Colbert points out, these segments are for billionaires. Cash-strapped millionaires should change the channel.
'The Simpsons'
What You Can Learn: Over the years, Homer Simpson has lost his family's life savings, become a grifter, been audited by the IRS, accepted a loan from his bartender Moe (who we learn is also a loan shark), and given up work for eight days so he can be the second person in line to get some football tickets. And who can forget the time that, after attending a seminar where they learned to be smart shoppers, Homer took his family on an expensive trip to Tokyo? While there, they lost all their money.
'Ugly Betty'
What You Can Learn: Many episodes often feature slices of life revolving around finances. In the first season, Betty has to organize the finances of her publisher boss, Daniel, which leads to her eventually learning that some of her co-workers have falsified expenses; Daniel is yelled at by his father who still owns the magazine, and gets his company credit card cut off for a week; Wilhelmina, the magazine's assistant editor, uses her company credit card expense account for a "butt lift."
I love Ugly Betty!
'The Cosby Show'
What You Can Learn: See what family life can be like when both parents work hard to become successful, affluent professionals. The family goes through the trials of daily life while putting family first -- and managing to laugh, hug and drop lots of clever one-liners.
Now when you park it in front of tv and watch one of these shows,
you can feel less guilty!

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