Thursday 2 September 2010


I won’t name names, but someone in my house – and it’s not me or the King - likes to occasionally watch those shows where guests come on and go at it. Sorry, that sounds like cheap porn…or any porn for that matter. I’ll rephrase; where guests start arguing, hurling abuse at each other, chairs going flying across the stage, and all the while a subtitle flashes under them that says something along the lines of: ‘My sister’s boyfriend is my pimp and my baby’s daddy.’ You know, the intellectual Jerry Springer type stuff.

This (ahem), person says he finds it funny to watch, or at least relieving that this sort of stuff is not going on in our house [although sometimes I call him my big pimp daddy just for the fun of it]. The thing is, other than thanking one’s lucky stars that their life is not on the same trajectory as those on the program, I can’t imagine why one would want to watch these programs. Firstly, the incessant yelling and fighting makes me want to ram sticks in my ears. If I wanted to listen to people fight I have my own family I can go visit – although we don’t fight. We’re perfect. (I will be exiled if I say anything to the contrary).

Secondly, the caliber of people who go on these shows kind of scares me. I know that sounds horribly condescending, (and I’m sure they are all very um…sweet) but seriously, I’m not even sure where they find people with such frighteningly twisted lives. Perhaps I’m hideously naïve and most people are sleeping with their sister’s boyfriends or their mothers are out sleeping with fifteen year olds, or their father is running a prostitution ring out of their basement - and I’m not making this stuff up, in fact, I’m being tame. There is a reason there are bouncers on the stage of these shows; cause when things get going, and they always do, if the bouncers weren’t there blood would be shed. Come to think of it, it’s kind of like watching one of those nature shows where the animals rip each other to shreds over a kill.

Then there is the obnoxious host that is one part amused, one part pseudo empathetic, and one part psychotherapist with rage issues. The best is when the host gets so moved and starts screaming at various guests about right and wrong and how they have to get their sh*t together for the sake of their…baby/mom/dad/dog. It is truly riveting stuff. Okay, I’ve watched about ten minutes to form this analysis; I’m a quick study.

What I can’t fathom is why these people would choose to go on television and air their dirty laundry for the entire world to see. Sorry, this laundry is beyond dirty; this laundry is so damn soiled it’s beyond washing. Many would say that these individuals want their 15 minutes of fame or are simply playing into the narcissistic culture we’ve so brilliantly cultivated. But the few moments of these shows I have caught, and trust me, I go running from the room when they’re on, the guests look so tortured and genuinely distraught that I get the feeling they’re not even aware they’re on television.

I suppose what scares me about these shows is that they remind me what is potentially going on out there in the big wide world - in a certain section anyway.  I like to live in a nice ignorant bubble where everyone listens to classical music and eats rainbows for breakfast. I don’t want to know how, well…dubious my fellow man/woman can be. 

Saying all this, perhaps there is a bit of Jerry Springer in all of us. I suppose the difference is, when I’m having a bad day and I’m acting like a surly cow cause the barista at the coffee bar didn’t fill up my cup yet again (cappuccino is with foam, latte is NOT. Come on people get it straight!)  I don’t go on television. Then again, the most drama that goes on in our house at the moment is when the King refuses to burp. Then of course chairs go flying.
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