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Would You Take Your Personal Problems or Issues to National Television?

Dr. Phil
Frederick M. Brown, Getty Images

Yesterday, I was waiting for my son to get home from school and happen to tune in to the Dr. Phil Show, which I have done a couple of times over the last couple of weeks. While I would not put Dr. Phil in the same class as Maury Povich or Jerry Springer, I am astounded at how much dysfunction people are willing to share on national TV and I’m wondering, why? Without going into the sorted details of yesterday’s show, the issue was between a divorced couple and their special needs toddler who dad doesn’t see as much as he should and both parents explain their positions.

These issues are intensely personal and delicate, especially when children are involved and you are sitting there, watching both parents make complete asses of themselves in front of the whole nation, and for what? The dysfunction and childish bickering that goes back and forth is beyond unbelievable and I just wonder what motivates people to do this in front of the whole world.

Again, Dr. Phil is different from the rest, in that he does offer very useful advice and is willing to provide therapy, counseling or other services to help these people get back on track and some of those services are not cheap. The show provides those services as long as the parties agree to commit to the help.

Maury and Springer are just embarrassing sideshows that have zero entertainment value and are just plain sad, even though I’m sure some of those situations are staged, or at the very least, greatly exaggerated for the cameras.

Leslie and I talked about this on the show this morning and we both agree that in today’s world, there are a lot of people, certainly not all, who want their 15 minutes and are determined to get it, regardless of how it makes them look. I just don’t get that.

Some of these people have real problems and need real solutions and are completely clueless as to how to get those solutions. I do understand why they would seek the advice of someone like a Dr. Phil, but I don’t understand putting yourself and your family out there like that. I am not judging those who do, I just don’t understand it.

I was so uncomfortable with yesterday’s episode, I had to turn it off and couldn’t watch another second, because I felt so bad. I didn’t feel bad at all for the parents or the crazy mother-in-law in that episode, they deserve whatever criticism they get, but I do feel bad for their sweet baby girl who has enough to deal with on her own and doesn’t deserve to be in the middle. She is being used as a pawn and that is the saddest of all, because she deserves so much better and some privacy.

I am keenly aware that these shows are successful because for whatever reason, people tune in to this kind of drama in droves and some just can’t get enough…and that might be the saddest of all. There is a time and a place for everything and some things belong on national TV, but not what I saw yesterday. Would you go one of these shows?

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