After appearances on Oprah and Kathy Griffin’s reality show, as well as her very own Saturday Night Live spoof (great job, Kristen Wiig), investment guru Suze Orman is having her pop culture moment. And as she might say, ”Girlfriend, you deserve it!” With her weekly straight-talk financial show, The Suze Orman Show, Suze has managed to do for money what Trading Spaces did for design and Top Chef did for food — make it accessible and entertaining.
Money — entertaining? Absolutely. Just as you don’t need to know how to thread a bobbin to enjoy Project Runway, you don’t have to understand squat about mutual funds to join the Cult of Suze. She’s an ideal creation for TV — an intelligent, articulate, sassy schoolmarm with impeccably frosted hair.
The format of her show is simple: In a bare-bones studio, Suze interviews some guests live and takes viewer questions via e-mail or phone. The drama lies in all the voyeurism: Has this person gotten himself into such deep financial doo-doo that he’s beyond Suze’s help? Her advice may be difficult to understand sometimes, but her boisterous delivery is so compelling that it doesn’t matter if she’s spouting off about variable life insurance or reciting Chekhov. She’s just a blast to be around. The best segment basks in the program’s simplicity: In ”Can I Afford It?” callers lay bare their financial souls to ask Suze’s blessing to buy anything from a $327 pair of True Religion jeans to a $212,000 Bentley convertible. After evaluating the person’s finances, Suze screams, ”Approved!” or ”Denied!” We approve. B+