Elizabeth is shopping away her son's college tuition and allowing her purchases to take over her home. Lili's excessive spending is destroying her relationship with her disapproving mother.

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Episode credited cast:
Gregory Migliarrio ...
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David Tolin ...
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Elizabeth is shopping away her son's college tuition and allowing her purchases to take over her home. Lili's excessive spending is destroying her relationship with her disapproving mother.

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Reality-TV

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10 December 2012 (USA)  »

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Spending, never-ending
29 December 2012 | by (New York City) – See all my reviews

I've caught a few of the episodes in this series and always find them absorbing.

Installment 8 focuses on two women who are in some ways typical of the show's protagonists -- they are female, very attractive, uninsightful, and mean to significant others.

Psychologists Tolin and Ramani are smart, impatient, tough, and humorless. Their clients are in crisis, but it seems it's others who are most concerned -- in this case, Elizabeth's boyfriend and Lili's Iran-born mother. The therapists proceed as if they expect quick results although -- let's face it -- true change in people takes time.

In this episode, Elizabeth's son, whom she claims to love deeply, makes it clear that her shopping addiction goes way back and has caused him a lot of disappointment. Now that he has gone off to college and she supposedly misses him terribly, her spending is out of control.

Tolin helps Elizabeth see that it's feelings about her son growing up and moving away that have triggered the unraveling. I was surprised that he didn't stress this more before moving on to other concerns.

Lili seemed more receptive to Ramani's message. Ramani seemed to help her see that shopping is a stall tactic that prevents her from setting meaningful personal goals. While the therapist did a good job of elucidating the enormity of Lili's problem -- her purchases, many of them never worn, run to $65,000 a year -- she never asks about who or whether anyone pays the staggering bill.

Despite its omissions, this series is illuminating and I catch every episode I can.


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