In California Michelle Thompson (35) brings new meaning to the phrase "shop til you drop" - she shops in stores or online every day, filling her and her family's closets with up to date labeled fashions in the pursuit of looking great. Husband Carey (37) has spent thousands of dollars on Michelle's plastic surgeries and high-end wardrobe and loves people noticing his "hot" family. The three Thompson kids -- Brandon (9), Megan (6) and Noah (4) -- have to be bribed to behave, and even then the bribery doesn't work for long. Brandon is Carey's stepson and their relationship is difficult - Carey can't decide whether to be a parent or a friend, so the two tend to ignore each other.
The Kinsman family lives a simple, frugal life in Maine. Captain Bob (54), a lobsterman, and wife Barbara (49) live in a rustic log cabin with Barbara's daughter, Casey (13). Lobstering is financially insecure so the Kinsmans pinch pennies wherever they can, heating their cabin with wood from the forest, drying their old clothes on the line and picking up treasures from the local dump. Casey has to make do with her mom's hand me downs and out of date fashions-it's been a year since Barbara bought her any clothes. Life for Casey is strict, structured and full of chores. Captain Bob tries to support his step-daughter in sports, but he treats her more like a crewmate than the sensitive 13-year-old she is.