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Stream It Or Skip It?

The idea of the new reality series I Quit is that cameras follow six sets of entrepreneurs who have decided to quit their day jobs and go “all in” on the business they have started to grow on the side. In between, we’ll see commentary from three successful entrepreneurs that will serve as mentors — Debbie Sterling, CEO of GoldieBox; Harley Finkelstein, COO of Shopify; and Tricia Clarke-Stone, founder of creative/tech firm WP Narrative_. Those mentors will decide which of the six business owners will receive a prize of $100,000 to help their business along.

I QUIT: STREAM IT OR SKIP IT?

Opening Shot: Over some stock footage, we hear an announcer say, “Starting a business is a high stakes gamble. But despite the risk, millions of entrepreneurs take the plunge.”

The Gist: Of the six businesses, we’re introduced to four in the first episode. Mike and Gloria, from North Carolina, are trying to market “Mike D.’s BBQ” sauce; Mike created the sauce in memory of his son, who died at six months old. He has to quit his job at an NGO and he’s dreading it because he truly likes where he works. Marcus and Chris, buddies from Utah, quit their jobs in order to go full in on their company, Blue Coolers; both have big families, and both have to rely on their wives to support their families while they build the business. Chris has to quit the business that he’s built with his brother to follow his passion, and his brother is encouraging but skeptical that the cooler business will work. But Chris and Marcus think their cooler, made in China, will sell well due to its low price (foreshadowing…).

Sibrena, who lives in Bayonne, NJ, has to scuttle her retirement plans when her husband, Alex, buys a semi-pro soccer team without telling her. Now she switches from her life as a publicist in the music business to being the business mind of “NJ Soccer,” though it seems like what she and Alex do most is fight. Finally, Jen, from nearby Hoboken, thinks she has a winning recipe with Klado, where she takes the traditional Brazilian truffles, brigadeiros, that she grew up making, and gives them new and exciting flavors. When she quits her finance job, her boss asks her, with a skeptical eye, “Do you know how many brigadeiros you’re going to have to sell to make what you make now?”

Our Take: The format of I Quit is more or less a little bit of Shark Tank and a little bit of shows like The Profit or Restaurant: Impossible, with a bit of 90 Day Fiancé mixed in. You have the three successful entrepreneurs that discuss these six businesses — the other two are a wine business and a men’s shirts business — and then visit to give advice. But the meat of the show is more reality series, with cameras following around the business owners and their families as they navigate the fact that they’ve left their comfortable jobs and lives to pursue a dream. And, while the Shark Tank-ish part of the show will be interesting, the meat of the show will be seeing these families struggle to get their businesses off the ground while keeping their relationships intact.

We can already see hints of that with Sibrena and Alex. Every interaction between the two of them is confrontational, mostly her confronting him. Why? Because she wanted to retire, and he bought a soccer team without asking. The fact that she didn’t divorce him was remarkable. So, even though she says she’s all in and excited to help this team succeed, you can tell that she’s doing it because she has no other choice. And every time she gets 100 people in the cold stands instead of the 1,000 she wanted, she looks at Alex with that “What did you do with our money?” look. That story will likely be the most interesting of the group.

The others are a little less interesting, mainly because some of the quitting scenes and the discussions the families are having sound less natural than they should. Like we said, the Blue Coolers guys are going to run into some unanticipated issues after they go all in, namely because their price differential will be wiped out due to President Trump’s tariffs on goods coming in from China. And considering that both their wives had a look of “Uh, I support you but I’m really nervous about this,” this may end up biting both family men in the butt.

After the “quitting” happens, I Quit really has to lean on the personalities of the entrepreneurs to be successful. Since at least a couple of the entrepreneurs are already showing personality, it’s off to a good start.

Sex and Skin: Nothing. This is a show you can watch with your family.

Parting Shot: After calculating the operating loss from the last game, Sibrena asks Alex if he paid the mortgage. “Not yet,” he said. “Well, is the mortgage up to date?” she asks. “Not yet,” he says. Oops!

Sleeper Star: The producers are making Alex out to be a spendthrift without much business sense. We seem to be enjoying his blank looks as Sibrena asks him pointed questions or makes eviscerating statements.

Most Pilot-y Line: As we said, both the scenes where the entrepreneurs quit their jobs, and the scenes where they talk to their spouses about all the changes, feel more set up than usual for a reality series.

Our Call: STREAM IT. If you like seeing the ups and downs of entrepreneurs who have put everything on the line, I Quit will scratch that itch. If you just like reality show drama, then this show may also fill the bill.

Joel Keller (@joelkeller) writes about food, entertainment, parenting and tech, but he doesn’t kid himself: he’s a TV junkie. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, Slate, Salon, VanityFair.com, Playboy.com, Fast Company.com, RollingStone.com, Billboard and elsewhere.

Stream I Quit On Discovery.com

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