Produced for PBS by the network's Seattle affiliate KCTS, the semi-satirical documentary Affluenza dissects America's "rampant materialism" and "epidemic of overconsumption." After exploring the causes of affluenza, the film provides a diagnosis of the symptoms and suggests possible treatments -- or "escapes" -- for the afflicted viewer. National Public Radio personality Scott Simon serves as host, while guest stars include Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin, who suggest how to get off the "work and spend treadmill" by citing their best-selling book Your Money or Your Life; Kalle Lasn, published of Adbuster magazine and creator of anti-manipulative "subvertisements"; Jennifer Gallus and Olivia Martin, teenaged authors of the award-winning play Barbie Get Real, which skewers the conspicuous-consumption cult of the Barbie Doll; and Gleen Stanton, social research analyst for public policy on behalf of James Dobson's Focus on the Family group, who discusses religious conservatism's response to materialism in everyday life. The 56-minute Affluenza made its PBS debut on September 15, 1997, and was followed by 1998's Escape from Affluenza.
~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide