The Millionaire Next Door

Charlie of 2.5 Men = A TV Millionaire Fantasy

I have a bigger concern about the sit-com Two and a Half Men than its former star, Charlie Sheen.  Charlie’s lifestyle as depicted in the show suggests that he can afford to hyperconsume without working very hard or at all. Apparently he is a composer of advertising jingles, but we rarely see him sweating at the piano hour after hour to come up with such jingles.  Somehow he is supporting a multi million dollar beach house in Malibu, his brother and his nephew, and a housekeeper.   Most of the time he is at home entertaining “ladies” and distributing one-liners.  

Often the viewers of Two and a Half Men are unknowingly being conditioned to believe that most successful people are like Charlie!  Somehow these people are so talented and gifted that they can make a great living working 5 minutes here and there.  My experience with economically successful people differs widely from this television fantasy.  Most millionaires whom I have interviewed work more than 40 hours a week.  More than 90% are married and typically have three children.  Most never became wealthy until their late 40s or early 50s.  And very few of them were ever at home during normal daytime working hours.   

My point here is that it is easy to become discouraged if you think that the Charlie method is the pro forma for success in America.  Clearly it is not.  Prime time television, however, is filled with depictions of people who succeed without working. 

1 thought on “Charlie of 2.5 Men = A TV Millionaire Fantasy”

  1. Cheryl Pawlowski talks about this topic as well in her book Glued to the Tube. It was a real eye-opener to me when I read the book to see how much television undermines good work habits, healthy (and realistic) relationships, and handling of money. Routinely TV families are depicted as living economically far above the average American household all the while rarely appearing to work at all! It is strange to think how many young people today take their work habit cues from TV and wonder why they aren’t rich with no real work ethic or tenacity in day-to-day life.

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