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The materialistic Burroughs family from New Jersey say they are living the American Dream and loving it! Spoiled Shannon Nicole (33) and her husband Shannon Michael (35) believe life is about spending money and dressing to impress. Shannon Nicole loves big diamonds, big furs and big hair. She spares no expense on cosmetic procedures and, when asked if her appearance is real, she answers, "real....real expensive!" Shannon Nicole spends hours each day primping herself and her twins, Nicholas and Alexa (6). To keep the kids happy, they proudly admit that bribery is a useful parenting technique. The Burroughs designed their ornate home around a glistening, high-wattage chandelier in the hope that people driving by will be impressed by their "wow" house. In order to keep up with his wife's expensive taste, Shannon Michael works as a technology consultant. He has passed on his love of technology to his kids, who each have their own computer and heaps of video games.
In a log cabin in the backwoods of Virginia, the Padovan-Hickmans are proud to be "modern pioneers." DeLaura (46) and Steve (60) are raising their daughters, Tara (11) and Maren (8), to be self sufficient and environmentally conscious. Without electricity, the family must wear head flashlights to find their way around the dark house at night. Instead of going to the supermarket, they raise chickens, make their own cheese and eat fruit right off the vine. To conserve water, the entire family use the same tub of bath water, which they then use to flush the toilet. Even their clothes are recycled; Tara admits she has never owned a piece of brand new clothing. DeLaura doesn't waste any time on her appearance; she gladly admits she hasn't shaved in six years, to the delight of her husband. The Padovan-Hickmans believe they've cut out all the "stuff" that comes along with chasing the American Dream. For them, the American Dream is a nightmare.