Life or Debt: Spike serves up debt porn with a side of sage financial wisdom

Before we get into it on Life or Debt, Spike TV's latest reality show entry (premieres on Spike TV on Sunday, March 13th, 2016 at 10:00/9:00c), we've got to have a serious little aside about our old friend Johnny Meatballs.

life or debt

Yeah, that's Johnny Meatballs in the picture above. You know who he is by way of the fact that he's wearing a Johnny Meatballs t-shirt.

I was surprised and, I must admit, slightly delighted to see the return of Johnny Meatballs as the gentleman, along with his wife Megin, are something of reality television veterans. Way back in 2010, I wrote the following about Johnny Meatballs with relation to his participation on the VH1 show My Big Friggin' Wedding:

In my view, the breakout “star” is Johnny Meatballs, who is planning to marry the 24-year old Megin, a woman five years younger than him. The important thing to remember about Johnny is that, well, he’s all about his meatballs. Or better yet, he’s always planning the Johnny Meatballs Franchise or plotting the Johnny Meatballs Empire. One might note there’s a lot of potential when it comes to the Johnny Meatballs Franchise/Empire, and that that potential is discussed ceaselessly by Johnny himself. One of my favorite scenes involves Megin, at home, and Johnny, who is out drinking a bunch of wine with his friends. Johnny tells his wife on the phone and afterwards that he was talking business, that an Italian Village is being planned in which a Johnny Meatballs Franchise (singular) will be its crown jewel. Megin isn’t having any of it – she’s home planning the reality of wedding expenses and suspects (correctly) that Johnny is simply boozing with the boys. I love most that her most probing question and damning evidence of Johnny’s lies are with regard to the cost of renting space in the Italian Village. Johnny, now in way over his head, can’t come up with an answer and therefore Megin knows she is correct in her suspicions. What can she do about it though, she’s marrying a guy named Johnny Meatballs, am I right or am I wrong or what? (Side note: after listening to Johnny Meatballs for about five minutes, it becomes increasingly difficult to not attempt to talk, write, act, or live the Johnny Meatballs Lifestyle. You have been warned, kids.)

So if that was the state of the Johnny Meatballs (nascent) Empire circa 2010, it shouldn't be all that stunning that Johnny Meatballs and mega circa 2016 are now among the cast members of Life or Debt, a reality show that seeks out people are in debt way way way over there head and puts Victor Antonio, Personal Finance Consultant, on the case to sort it all out.

Here's the Life or Debt trailer:

Really what we have here is a Kitchen Nightmares or Bar Rescue for people in debt. Victor Antonio seeks out people whose financial situations are a mess and, as a bonus, seem to be general messes (see: Johnny Meatballs on the precipice of financial ruin, a woman obsessed with owning more shoes than Imelda Marcos, another woman who works as an executive assistant driving a crazy fancy car, and son on) and theoretically applies the old tough love-meets-sound advice required to get these folks back on the straight and narrow.

Victor Antonio therefore lays out such sage wisdom as, "The expertise I bring is to get them out of that financial hole they find themselves in. Too many people in America say, 'It's just never going to happen to me.'" And: "I want to help alleviate that pain but when I go in there I don't know how bad this is going to be." And: "I'm gonna teach you to run this family like a business, but it's not gonna be comfortable." And: "You gotta pay the pay the price, man. You gotta crawl through the glass." And:
"This isn't an office, it's a junk pile!" And my favorite: "You need a kick in the ass and I'm here to give it to you."

You're catching the general drift, right?"

For the executive assistant driving the crazy fancy car Victor posits, "How is it that an executive assistant is driving a $100,000 car?" Quick question about this: I'd think that for anyone on an executive assistant pay scale who's able to drive off a lot with a car that expensive, they'd either have to be moonlighting as a drug dealer or have a bank that's... highly dumb, to be kind.

Perhaps there needs to be a Life or Debt: We Go After Highly Dumb banks edition at some point.

In the meantime, we'll see if Life or Debt offers anything more in depth than reality television as debt porn served up with an overly generous portion of vapid platitudes.

By Eric - TV Geek Army "Revered Leader"

About the author

Eric is the publisher and revered leader of TV Geek Army… at least in his own mind. TV Geek Army is a place for serious TV reviews and news for serious fans of great television. Contact: eric-[at]-tvgeekarmy.com 

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1 Comment
On: Wednesday, June 22, 2016
Jackie said:
Life or debt is a fabulous tv series. I have watched every episode and enjoying the marathon today, June 22, 2016. I manage our expenses and love ideas that this show comes up with to raise emergency, quick money, etc. I enjoy seeing husbands and wives brought back to a good place with each other for the family unit. Please make more series of this show! Love it!!!!!
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