Would you end your marriage for $100,000?

Photo: Stan

How about $200k? Or $500k? Well, I guess it all depends on the state of your marriage, but the bigger question is this: what would you do for money? I ask because I’m getting a little disturbed at just how far people are willing to go these days for a large wad of cash. Case in point - The Moment Of Truth.

I don’t watch it, I generally try and stay away from television shows that aren’t at least slightly informative (although I do watch Lost…sorry). And these kinds of intrusive, home-wrecking reality shows are a cancer in our society, in my humble opinion.

Not content with being voyeurs through shows like Big Brother, Survivor and The Real World, we’ve gone one step further. Let’s intrude into the private-most thoughts of people and see just what they’ll reveal for the prospect of being a little but richer. Notice I said "propect." The money is dangled out there like a carrot in front of a donkey, but people often walk away empty-handed and with a shambolic life to put back together.

This clip that follows is one of the most brutal from The Moment Of Truth. The poor husband must have known something was going on, but maybe he thought he had a stable marriage and could make a little cash from it; big mistake. Huge. 


Fear Factor is another such show that seems to be pushing the limits for a little bit of money. This girl is literally horrified at the idea of eating a spider, but the money waved in front of her is too much to turn down. It's an older clip but one that sticks out for me from the viral emails I have received.


What is going on? In my dad’s time, dignity and self-respect were things you just could not buy at any price. These days, not only will we happily sell them, we’ll do it in front of millions of people! Is the mighty dollar so mighty that it can force us to do anything? What’s next I wonder? Lose your virginity on air for $1 million? Or how about risking your life, yes your life, for a cool $10 million?

Don’t think it can happen? Well, I leave you with this video clip from The Running Man, a fairly poor film starring Arnold Schwarzenegger that was made around 20 years ago. But, it did have a point. It warned us that society is becoming so obsessed with both money and television that we’ll eventually live and die by them. How true.



Back then, in the late 80s, it seemed far-fetched. These days, a show like “Climbing For Dollars” would fit quite happily into any prime time schedule. Please NBC, ABC, CBS...don't get any ideas.



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Guest's picture


Guest's picture

I wonder how a post like this has anything to do with living large in a small budget. I think the author is just fishing for something new to post about.

Paul Michael's picture

...not every single post on this blog is about that specific topic. As writers, we have to be allowed a little latitude to keep everything fresh for our readers. But I think asking the question "how far would you go for money?" defines the difference between being frugal, and being cheap. Sacrificing your marriage and ethics for a quick buck crosses that line, I think.

Guest's picture

Such exciting TV shows I'm missing out on over here. Why would she go on such a show? Surely she knew from the show's format that secrets would come out?

Guest's picture

I think this is the best post I've ever read over at Wise Bread. Closely examining how we view money in our society is the first step to having a healthy relationship with it.

I agree with you about television and the direction it has taken. We don't have one. I can't stand the thought of my children accepting these attitudes as being somehow "normal". Although maybe they now are. Ugh.

Guest's picture

They turned Jerry Springer into a game show!

Paul Michael's picture

Interesting how you coined the phrase "relationship." Hmmm, marriage...relationship...are you having fun with words?

Guest's picture

Our TV interest du jour is Japanese game shows. I don't know if it is the english edited version but there is never a mention of money or compensation. Most are physical competitions and the only sort of compensation ever mentioned is getting your name on the list of people who have won or completed the obstacle course. There are a couple of them where people do gross dare type stunts but again there doesn't seem to be any sort of financial compensation. Some don't even seem to have a direct competition, more just feats of strength or ability to tolerate something gross or slightly humiliating. But the contestants seem to have a sense of humor about the whole thing.

There was an actual production company that wanted to do a "run for the border" game show. Contestants would have to make it through some awful course or challenges and the prize, U.S. citizenship.
Running man indeed.

Guest's picture

The sad thing is you can bet there are a lot of people wanting to go on shows like this. Some people simply equate money with happiness. This just goes to show how huge swathes of society have mental health issues.

"He that is of the opinion money will do everything may well be suspected of doing everything for money."

- Benjamin Franklin.

Guest's picture

It seems to me that if people had decent relationships in the first place (you know, the kind where you tell the truth to your spouse), there wouldnt be much to these shows.

Who would watch a show where the only secret you have to hide from your spouse is the surprise party you are planning?

The state of the family in this country makes me more sad than the fact that they would give it up for cash . . .what more could be expected from them?

Paul Michael's picture

has skeletons in their closets. The question is, should you air them for the chance to win some money?

Guest's picture

For the record, NO, I would not give up my marriage for any amount of money. (Now ask me in about 15 years, lol.)

I did happen to see the clip of The Moment of Truth because someone sent it to me because they thought it was funny. Probably the most PAINFUL thing I have ever seen.

Guest's picture

"In my dad’s time, dignity and self-respect were things you just could not buy at any price"

None of this is new stuff... it's just in a new format. People have been willing to sell themselves (their secrets, their bodies, their dignity) since the dawn of time. Isn't prostitution called the "oldest profession"? (yes, prostitution, these people are totally whoring for the camera)

With television and the internet, it's only becoming more visible, possibly more prevalent, and revoltingly more socially acceptable. But it's not like humanity discovered how to be depraved with the advent of reality TV.

Guest's picture
Pixel Kid

True, it isn't new & I would say you are spot on with the prostitution angle. However doesn't the fact that it's on TV, readily available and seen as fitting entertainment for the masses show how peoples attitudes are rapidly changing, and not for the better? The people who produce shows like this should not be allowed to get away with it any longer. They are preying on members of society that lack the ability to make sound judgements, judgements about things that will affect the rest of their life.

It's a sad state of affairs indeed!

P.S. - Kudos to the person who does not have a TV, that's super cool!

Guest's picture
Rob Lowe

Even though it has a fairly low production value, Runnig Man was a great movie. Even better was the book, especially the ending. I won't ruin it, but get the book at your library and read the final chapter, it's totally worth it.

Guest's picture

I believe that part of the lure is being on TV. I agree with the person who said, "They turned Jerry Springer into a game show!" I would never take part in anything like this - period. I see nothing wrong with "regular" game shows, like "Millionaire," but I think it should stop there.

I believe producers should show some integrity when it comes to the programming on the air waves. But, obviously, my opinion is not a popular one. People seem to be out to make money, at any cost... Just because there are people willing to do bizarre things, I don't think we should encourage this behavior. If everyone would turn off the tube when these shows are on, it would eventually cease.

Paul Michael's picture

Fast, cheap, big results...and nasty consequences. Why bother spending a whole bunch of time writing scripts, paying actors, going on location (Lost, Heroes, Dexter, Sopranos etc) when you can simply wave a few bucks in front of regular people and ask them to reveal the deepest, darkest secrets. It's like a train wreck...you can't look away. And it's completely wrong.

Guest's picture

These days the way to make a wad of cash is obviously not to work hard for it. What happened to using your abilities to do something meaningful for society so that in the end you will EARN you wealth. It is just sad that every wants to be rich but they'd rather prostitute themselves on the path of least resistance, also known as reality TV or underwear free paparazzi photos, than start a company or complete a challenging degree.

Shows like Jeopardy reward intelligence and broad knowledge, whereas shows like Survivor reward manipulation and lies. Even The Price is Right has [some] redeeming value because it reinforces being an informed shopper. Playing Deal or No Deal is no different than a simple numbers game, gambling, and sadly it ultimately reveals that most of the public lacks even a basic understanding of probability and statistics. Anyway, I just feel our society moving toward the lowest common denominator rather than trying to move forward. It is sad, and TV is a big part of the problem.

Guest's picture

Why work for something when you can have your fifteen minutes and milk it?

It's engrained in younger generations from the beginning: you are all special, you are all equal, everyone gets a trophy and gets and "A" because we don't want to offend anyone and make them feel bad.

Later on, these people believe that they "deserve" huge salaries as a reward for going to college. Their back up plan failed: being a talented athlete in order to get a free college education, make it in the pros, and get paid). They deserve large TV's and fancy cars because they believe they are all unique people.

It's no wonder that traditional blue-collar jobs can't be filled because no one wants to get their hands dirty. They don't want to be professionals such as doctors because there's too much schooling involved. It's these same individuals that will make YouTube videos so that they can cash in.

A sad, sad reality we're being faced with.

Paul Michael's picture

They were spot on. Way back then they said, and I'm paraphrasing "We don't have to fix the shows, we'll just make the questions easier. People tune in to see the money." Look where we are today...pick a case, win a million bucks. A monkey could do it.

Guest's picture

I talked with my son about the shows too. In life, there are many chances for people to try to go behind your back to hurt you. Perhaps someone feels that watching it happen, over and over, will make one more prepared for if it happens to them. However, I feel that what you pour into yourself, through TV or music or food or conversation, etc., is what you are becoming.

If I watch enough, will I start to try to find reasons to abandon the life I've worked hard to develop? The road isn't smooth - roads seldom are, without a lot of devoted work - and maybe I'd foolishly find some other route instead of take time to mend a pothole.

Even if I didn't act to harm my marriage, I can't imagine that filling my thoughts with things that don't affirm who I am and what I'm doing will make life any easier.

What would I do for money? Be myself, as truly as I can be.

Guest's picture
Pixel Kid

"I talked with my son about the shows too. In life, there are many chances for people to try to go behind your back to hurt you. Perhaps someone feels that watching it happen, over and over, will make one more prepared for if it happens to them. However, I feel that what you pour into yourself, through TV or music or food or conversation, etc., is what you are becoming."

Absolutely true!

Guest's picture

Found a nice site - easystockalerts.com. It will keep you updated on any breaking news on the stocks you own. See the news before it even appears on the web. So make money now and sign up for asystockalerts.com

Guest's picture

I do NOT watch these types of shows although last night i did catch the final episode of "i survived a japanese game show" which was surprisingly good! in answer to your original question . . . YES, i would if it were $100,000 k because it would pay off my credit card bills and still have $$ left to start over.