“The Briefcase,” Australia’s newest TV show, premiered last night. Although Channel Nine had warned viewers about their latest social experiment, viewers were outraged and called it the “worst” show ever. Likewise, the families who joined the show claimed that they have been tricked into joining a reality show different from what they expected.
According to Mail Online, the families thought they were joining an “observational show exploring the pressures of household budgets” called “Making Ends Meet.” They expected to be given financial advice but as it turned out, they were part of a social experiment where in they would get a briefcase with $100,000 cash. They have a choice to either keep all of the money or give away to some other “deserving families.” However, neither of the two families know that they are “facing the exact same life-changing decision.”
Viewers who watched Episode 1 of this season took to Twitter voice out their thoughts. They claimed that the show was “cruel” and “morally bankrupt.” Some called out the show for manipulating people and admitted that they won’t watch the show again.
Genuinely decent people being manipulated. Shame on you channel 9 #TheBriefcase
— Rappaport (@seastarurchin) June 20, 2016
What a distasteful&cruel concept Make a show about subsidizing thecost of prosthetics instead of publicly comparing hardships #TheBriefcase
— Carmelo Costa (@carmelovaurface) June 20, 2016
Channel 9, #TheBriefcase is exploitive and frankly pretty slow to watch.. Won't watch again.
— Charmaine Joy (@JoyCharmainejoy) June 20, 2016
Meanwhile, other viewers called it as “heartbreaking,” News.com.au mentioned.
Awful show but so nice to see the good side of human nature in both the couples ❤️ #TheBriefcase
— Julie (@messagequeen74) June 20, 2016
This #briefcase show is pulling on my heart strings 😭😭
— Rhiannon (@rnicole07) June 20, 2016
There were also viewers who were torn on which side to pick.
Not really sure what to make of #TheBriefcase to be honest. The premise is cruel. But those people come across so nice. I'm torn, Internet!!
— Steve Boylan (@StevieBoylan) June 20, 2016
Andrew Backwell, head of programming and production at Channel Nine, defended the show amidst backlash and criticisms. He mentioned that these families were not “after a hand-out.”
“We’ve tried to go with average families that have fallen on hard times. Not by being slack or lazy or not giving a shit, but through no fault of their own. You’re going to look at them and feel some compassion,” Backwell told the Sydney Morning Herald.
“We wanted to find ordinary middle-class families that had fallen on hard times.. It wasn’t people putting up their hands for help. It was people looking to share their story of what happened to them,” he further added.
Do you think the families are victims of the show or do you side with Channel Nine’s idea? Catch “The Briefcase”on Monday nights, 7:30 p.m. on Nine.