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TCA Press Tour: Pinching pennies on WeTV's 'Downsized'

 Here’s the story of a man named Brady, er, Bruce, who was living way beyond his means.  Well, the whole family was.

In the new WeTV series “Downsized,” the Bruces are a nine-member blended family  trying to pinch pennies — and, apparently, water — to stay afloat in tough economic times. 

“It’s one of my favorite shows we’ve ever done,” said Kim Martin, president and general manager of the network, during the network's presentation at the TV Critics Assn. press tour.

This modern-day Brady Bunch — Todd, who has two children, and Laura, who has five, married a few years after a blind date — were living large. But once the recession hit, that all changed. Both their homes went through foreclosure, and Todd’s contracting business was dwindling.

The show chronicles the lifestyle changes the family has made to live on a poverty-level budget: from giving up the cheerleading team and five-minute showers (there’s a timer!) to canceling cable (to the horror of the children. It was “Shark Week,” after all!), anything to scrimp and save. Laura even opts to clean houses in her spare time.

And we can all thank “Jon & Kate Plus 8” for the series — not for pioneering reality series focused on large families but for being so lame and inspiring 16-year-old Bailey Rumsey, one of Laura’s daughters, to submit her family for consideration in hopes that viewers will find them more entertaining.

“I just think we’re so much cooler,” she said.

“Downsized” will premiere Nov. 6 at 9 p.m.

-- Yvonne Villarreal

Photo: The Bruce Family. Credit: WeTV

Comments () | Archives (53)

Get real! YOU are NOT downsizing, YOU are going on a reality t.v. show, so YOUR BILLS are getting paid, all your expenses will be paid, and YOU will NOT know what we've had to go through since 2003, when I had a motorcycle accident. The whining, spoiled kids, who made ME feel bad for using foodstamps, it was not an option for me, it was that or don't eat. But now, because ONE kid, hopes she can get out of the store without anyone seeing her use a food stamp card, makes me NOW look over my shoulder to see if I know anyone and I feel less than human. and by the way cleaning houses is not a bad way to make a living. stop saying you are REDUCED to that. I will NOT be helping these people STILL have more than I ever thought of having. We went from living in a 3 bedroom 2 bath house to a 2bedroom bath and a half trailer that is falling apart, because we cannot afford to fix it and take care of our family. I take care of my elderly mom, my 2 grandchildren and my son who is now in college, and right before that, we had 2 (one tried to hurt himself, and one was in rehab) sons, 2 grandchildren, my husband, me and my mom in this tiny trailer, but NONE of us whined, bitched, or moaned that we had to get food stamps, we were just thankful we were able to eat! I think this show is a waste of time, like 19 and counting, kate and john plus eight. Soon we will see these whiners on will be on the front page news as well. Stop wasting our time with these whining jerks who are NOT anywhere near where most people are today. The advantage they have is someone will be paying their bills, and the rest of us still have to struggle. Quit griping and get a grip.

I'm so glad to see that there are others that are disgusted by this show. Who cares if it hasn't aired...i've seen SO many commercials about it...and everytime I see it I change the channel. My family lost their house..barely live paycheck to paycheck..and are we on TV? Uh no. If I could find a way to write this family and give them my opinion, I certainly would. There are so so so many people going through THE EXACT SAME THING. What makes this family so special?!
Maybe if the mother and children weren't...what did the caption say...going out to eat everyday, shopping, tanning, getting nails done, blah blah blah, they wouldnt be where they are now. I will NOT being watching this show either.

To the people who keep saying..."dont knock it until you try it", are you KIDDING me?! Don't knock what?! Struggling? Parading your "Struggle" on TV to get sympathy and money?

This family is ridiculous. They were irresponsible with their money and got what they had coming to them. And maybe i'm insenstive but whatever. Not worth the viewing time.

This is stupid. They will get rich because of ignorance.

I hate this show and I hate seeing the commercials for this show. You can't always get everything you want in life. Too bad the parents are feeling too sorry for themselves to be grateful for what they do have and teach modesty and humble appreciation to their kids.

Im also glad to see other people think this is crap!! They dont know what its like to suffer! And I Love how the wife says in the commercials I have a masters degree and now I have to clean for a living! Well that comment tells me you think your better then other people just because you have a paper saying you graduated from some school doesnt make you better! And if your so smart why did you live above your means? I know why because you thought you were better then other people! Get a LIFE! You had your nose in the air and thought you could never be brought down well guess what you still havent the tv shows paying your bills!! Get A LIFE!!

I don't post on any place because I don't know who reads what people say....but I am commenting on this show...I have to agree with most of the others. First of all to qualify for food stamps your can't be on a reality show, own property, or have a large income or making the money these people will make. So isn't this wel-fare fraud??? How hurtfull and disrepectful to thoses who actually struggle every day wondering if they will have a meal or a place to sleep. I am one of the many with a forcloser, I lost my home and am still unemployed, after being layed off and relocating, now job searching and wondering how to pay bills is a daily struggle...the holidays are comming soon...I have 11 grand-children, how do I tell them grand-ma won't be able to buy Christmas for them this year??? I bet the people on this reality show has a pretty good Christmas this year...how many other children won't?? I wish I had a reallity show to pay me what these people will be making wouldn't life be easier then?? I don't see how this will be entertaining to anyone....this is very sad, aren't there other situations that would be entertaining to everyone...

If you want to make a show...go around the country and interview and step in to the lives of REAL folks that are struggling to make ends meet. Not pick a family that is still in there home, has food on the table..and the kids clothes..don't look at if they have been to Good Will...dumpster diving...your pitaful....just for the camera's...sad you find this entertainment putting them on doing such acts. Looks to me like your making fun of POOR folks. Shame Shame SHAME on WE TV for putting this type of show on the air...Starting a petition to shut the show down...How Dare You...Make them look like there struggling....SHUT DOWN WE T.V. FOR SHAMING THE POOR...

I certainly hope the show is better than it's previews. The entitled, "too good for this" attitude displayed by the mother and at least one of the daughters is nauseating. Newsflash Mommy: the only person who gives a darn about your almighty masters degree is YOU. And sitting through enough classes to get a framed piece of paper on your wall does not grant you a pedestal to place yourself on while you look down your noses at a good honest days work. And to the daughter who obviously found herself too good for food stamps and soooo afraid someone might see her: don't use them. Go hungry for a few days and see if your entitled fanny feels any differently!
It's shows like this that give helpful government services and simple living Americans a bad rap. Get over yourselves!

OMG! Are you serious? What a bunch of snobs! Being a single mother of one and living in low income housing on foodstamps, I am appalled that these people are driving a Mercedes and have rocks on their fingers the size of Africa and are on foodstamps! And ashamed of it!
Is this a joke?! Let's be for real! These brats are not struggling in any way! These are the people the "bailout" was for. Idiots who have no idea the value of a dollar and think they should be catered to. They put themselves in this position why the hell are they being treated like they are owed something?

I am currently watching the premiere of this show. I couldn't help but notice Lauren (the mom) as she was complaining that they have nothing left to sell, HMMM, how 'bout those COACH or CHANEL or whatever "big" name DIAMOND and GOLD earrings, and how bout the DIAMOND butterfly necklace, Oh and lets not forget that HUGE rock on her finger!! I personally had to sell everything that I possibly could just to get school clothes and supplies for my kids!

I cannot believe this show and this family. This is not 'downsizing'. I couldn't help but laugh and point out while watching this show how ridiculous it is. They think they are downsizing by cutting down shower time?!?! When in fact they live in a house that nice and that big, (boohoo you're renting now) have at least two cars (and one of the teen daughters just got a new car - I don't care who it was from), the kids have cell phones and the mother is wearing what appears to be Gucci earrings! Give me a f'ing break! Try living in a way too small 2 bedroom apartment with barely any room to breathe, one car and one income. Then come talk to me about downsizing.

Some advice to save money: take away the cell phones, stop buying luxury items like paper towels and Pillsbury biscuits and packets of gravy etc and buy generic brands and nothing you don't need.

Are you people crazy...do you not have any compassion?! You have no idea what WE tv is paying these ppl to do this show. Yeah they wasted their money before and threw it away on non-essential crap without a second thought...but now they have realized their stupidity and carelessness. Everybody in this world has faults but instead of blaming everyone else for their misfortunes they are learning their lesson and trying to redeem themselves. Everyone is so quick to JUDGE another but just think about all the selfish acts you do everyday. Nobody in this world is without sin. I commend this family for realizing their mistake and now working as a Christian family unit to build values and communication. I think this show is a positive outlook on a family struggling and it actually helps me by giving me tips to use to help my own family. Im praying for this family and every other family everyday. GOD does everything for a reason...this show might help another family by giving them hope and tips on what to do and not to do.

Did anyone else see the Mercedes in the driveway?? Or think about her jewelry? Or the fact that she is working as a teacher and has a Master's Degree? And on foodstamps. This is not downsizing. I did not ever see the man of the house out doing menial work. Is he too good?? And hamburgers for that clan? Nope do not feel sorry at all. He went out and bought water savers instead of trying to tell the children to take shorter showers.
It is BS how they portray them as poor and downtroden. Let them take a real family who has lost it all.
I especially enkoyed how they would spent 350 on a night out. Get real

I am not understanding where all the animosity towards this family is coming from. Yes, this family has more than many families I know (mine included) but they also had WAY more than they do now. This has to be a horrendous adjustment for them. I never heard anywhere on the show where they said their struggle was "worse" or that they had "more" problems than anyone else. This isn't a competition to see who has the harshest financial situation. To me, it is rather obvious that this family has financial problems and I don't see why that doesn't make theirs just as important as anyone else.

And about the mother's degree. I don't think she is being snobby by being upset that she has to clean toilets even though she has a Master's Degree. I am sure she worked hard for that degree and I seriously doubt there is anyone out there who would not be disappointed that they worked that hard for that degree just to get a job they could have gotten without it. Also, I don't know many people who like to clean toilets at all, degree or not. :) At least she is doing it.

And for all the people that are saying they got what they deserved. Who of you had absolutely no blame in your own money problems? I am betting no one. I am not trying to make people feel bad by pointing fingers. I am just trying to stress the fact that perhaps we shouldn't be so judgmental. None of us is perfect.

This family seems to me as if they are accepting the blame themselves and doing what they can to fix the situation now. Perhaps people should cut them some slack.

OMG this show sucks. Watched the first episode and hated every detail of this fake scenario. What an insult to viewers and families who really are struggling. Disgusting. We tv has one show worth watching, Locator. Everything else is trash.

i watched this show and shook my head in disgust.

they cry poverty and:

theres a mercedes in the driveway.
their kids all have cellphones
none of them have an afterschool job

and the piece de resistance is-one of the kids has a food stamp card.

puh=leez..this is nothing more than reality tv bull.

He's a working class man who should be living like a working class man. They should have a small house and double the kids up and stop getting spray tans waxing and buying a Mercedes and the kids cell phones. She needs to sell her chanel earings on ebay (FYI saw the same ones ON Ebay - they could have paid the rent AND bought the groceries with cash) They are the "problem" that has caused the credit crisis. This show is a joke and insults everyone who is actually struggling to make ends meet. Their priorities are completely screwed up... Makes me want to barf.qzpuk3

How about she takes the diamond Chanel earrings out, pawns them and pays the rent for the month...just sayin!

I don't understand all these haters. It may be difficult for a family that had at all once to get to this point. Yes, maybe the parents aren't making good choices on how to save or make money OK.
Now!!! How many of you that don't have a job and are struggling right now had sold their cars, jewelry, clothes, or anything you have? maybe have a job cleaning bathrooms or working at Mc Donald's???? Raise your hands?.
mmmm my guess no that many.....
I read some of you having a hard time in this economy, but you do have CABLE and DIREC TV, ahhh I forgot, although have INTERNET.
Comm'on people, stop talking BS about this family and live your lives. It was their choice to go in TV, and yes they will get famous and rich, but having your life out there, won't be fun and games. They will c that soon.

I've watch several shows about families that are having a difficult time, they are homeless, broke, don't have a job. But they did carried cellphones, drove cars, had nice clothing, wore jewelry, etc. You want to see poberty, go to other countries like Africa, Central America, South America.

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