Think Piece: The Joneses

I originally wrote this for a class in Communication Ethics.


The Jones is a satirical comedy-drama that calls into question the issues of consumerism and how they affect people.

The film is about the Jones family, Steve and Kate, the parents, and Jenn and Mick, the teenage children, but they are not who they appear to be.  They are actually the employees of a company that makes several household consumer products.  They pretend to be a family that has moved into a wealthy suburb, and they integrate their company’s products in their everyday life.  The goal is that by “modeling” the company’s products in manners that normal people would use them, it would encourage people to buy them.

This is an interesting perspective to say the least.  Some people might feel that advertising does not reflect real life, and that they only depict simulations of the use of consumer products that supposedly never work the way they do during the commercials.  This appears to be an attempt to solve that issue.  However, this leads into the ethical dilemma of deceiving people, and how that would reflect upon the company if the deception were to be discovered.

Other ethical issues include the fact Jenn, who is pretending to be a teenager is having an affair with a married man.  Also, Steve has feelings for Kate, which complicates the job that they have to do together.

Another consequence of our consumer culture is how people constantly are sent the message that their value lies in the stuff they buy.  Their neighbors, Larry and Summer Symonds, are deeply in debt, and the Joneses unintentionally exasperate Larry’s anxiety about their plight.  This culminates in Larry taking his own life.  Steve is devastated, and he feels responsible for Larry’s suicide.  He exposes the entire ruse of the Jones family to the entire neighborhood realizing how dangerous consumerism can be to other people, especially if it is compounded by the fact that people are being deceptive.


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