With talk shows ruling day-time television, people are left with little choice but to
watch this humiliating form of entertainment. Turn the television on in the
afternoon and you will find a large variety of talk shows to choose from. "Maybe we
have become a nation addicted to hearing our neighbors' seamy personal problems"(You
40). Personally, I feel it is both the lack of choice and the attraction to other
peoples problems.
Many of the topics on talk shows are degrading to our society. If person came to
America for the first time and watched television, they would probably see a talk
show. The model a talk show would give of American society is horrifying. For
example, a common talk show topic is teens having multiple sex partners at young
ages. However, not all teens are sexually active at such a young age. For this
reason talk shows are misleading not only to foreigners but to children and young
adults who are learning about morals and our society. In a letter to the corporate
CEO's distributing these programs, William Bennett and Senator Joseph Lieberman asked:
"Would you want your young children to view a program showcasing the sexual adventures
of a 14-year-old girl who married her 71-year-old foster father"(Flint and Wharton).
To those who do not tune into these shows this discription may sound like an
exaggeration; however, it is not. This is exactly the type of topics on some shows.
Not only are half the shows ridiculous with topics of deceit, revenge and "extreme
behavior", but some of them are false(Flint and Wharton). On the Jerry Springer Show
a Canadian comedy troupe went on the show and created a story. The story was that
one of the men had an affair with his baby-sitter. After the show appeared on
television, the troupe members went to the press saying how they deceived the program
and its audience(You 52). Some people will do anything to be on television. Some
shows trick people into situations. The Jenny Jones show has had several episode
entitled "Secret Crush". In these episode secret admirers are revealed to her guests.
In some cases her guests are displeased with their secret admirer. I can remember
one episode that I watched. A woman was surprised by a man who had a secret crush on
her. She was very disturbed when she realized who he was. She proceeded to tell
Jenny that this man was insane and was pursuing her. This could have been avoided
if the woman was told who the secret admirer was before the show. However, if this
was done the show would not be as interesting. In another incident, one of Jenny's
guests confronted a secert crush, and it led to tragedy. Amedure, a male guest had a
crush on Johnathan Schmitz, another male. Amedure surprised Schmitz with his
feelings on the show; however, Schmitz was expecting a woman, from the impression he
was given by the shows producers. Schmitz said he was publicly embarrassed when
Amedure revealed on national television that he had a "gay crush" on him. After the
show Jonathan Schmitz was charged with the murder of Amedure. Schmitz shot Amedure
and killed him(You 52).
In some shows the guests are not informed of the topic, and they end up being
embarrassed by a ridiculous topic. This is wrong because these people with their loved
ones or friends sometimes involved are mislead and sometimes humiliated on national
television by the producers. Even though the guests agree to appear on the shows
because they wanted to, some regret it after the show (You 40). Therefore, we can not
pose the guests as helpless victims because they are adults. Also, if they have seen a
talk show before they went on one, they would know what they were getting themselves
into. In my opinion there are just too many talk shows. According to Larry Pollock
there are 32 talk shows on television right now(Flint and Wharton). There are a few
talk shows that are conscientious and have very interesting and educational topics.
For example Oprah Winfrey and Maury Povich are two shows that have many rewarding
topics such as family reunions. They also have educational topics on child and spousal
abuse. These shows are good because