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26 February 2007

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David Johnston

On October 5, 2008, the CW Network premiered a new drama from the creators of The Sopranos. The new show, called Easy Money, is said to be about a family who owns and operates a “high-interest loan” business called Prestige Payday Loans. It’s always great to see shows being produced in an effort to bring underrepresented cultures or things into the limelight; as long as it constitutes a fair and balanced portrayal of the subject matter at hand. However, by taking one look at the trailers for the new drama, as well as a few of the episode a synopsis, my biggest fear is that the premise for the show is based solely on vicious media stereotypes. With this in mind, think of the last time that you viewed a news story either online or on television news talking about the payday loan industry. Chances are the story you saw or read wove tales of “real” persons’ woes fueled by their getting bogged down in an “endless cycle of debt.” Worst of all, according to such “articles,” it all started when they needed to borrow money to fix their car or pick up the tab on another unexpected bill. Such stories are further proof that, for the sake of winning the ratings wars, news networks will latch on to and report only the juiciest, most scandalous aspects of any big story and completely ignore everything else. It seems as if the CW network is following suit in an effort to recover viewers lost during the Writer’s Strike. One, for instance, opens with the tag line, “for this family of loan sharks, money is easy.” Surely, it’ll be interesting to see whether or not the CW or the show’s creators learned what the industry is really about. Chances are, probably not.


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