Where’s the Dignity?

I’m not often at home at the right time to watch the Jeremy Kyle show and when I am, most times I don’t bother to watch it. When I do watch it, I find it compulsive viewing for all the wrong reasons. This is the kind of show everyone says they hate but they can’t stop watching it and I’m the same.

I like Jeremy Kyle himself; I like his style and delivery. He’s not like those other talk show hosts who dither and faff around his guests. He tells them direct, he says what we’re all thinking and he takes no prisoners. He’s funny with it and sensitive where and when sensitivity is called for, most of the time. There are times though when he annoys me. Sometimes I feel he goes too far with his aggressive act and there are times when I feel he belittles people just a bit too much.

It is a constant source of amazement to me what people will happily admit to just to get on the telly. Everyone wants their fifteen minutes of fame and even if it means you have to admit to having anal sex with your girlfriend’s brother’s friend’s landlord’s dog walker at seven thirty in the evening on the common whilst your eight month old triplets are left alone to fend for themselves for a fortnight, that’s okay so long as you get on the telly! Really, have these people no shame at all? If I’d done anything remotely similar to some of the stuff the folks on this show admit to, I wouldn’t go out of my house for a year and when I finally did, it would be after dying my hair, donning a huge sombrero and enormous sunglasses! Maybe it’s just me being overly shy but where the heck has dignity gone?

Some people say they pay people to over act and make their situations more dramatic than they are already and that may be so, we’ll never know but it certainly is compulsive viewing. I find myself doing what my parents used to do when I was young; what used to make me think of them as right old fuddy duddies. I sit here and shake my head sadly as I say to myself “jeez what has happened to the youth of today.” I now sound like my mother, which is a frightening thought but I have to admit I now finally understand what she meant all those years ago. Sorry mother!

The first tv show of the Jeremy Kyle ilk, was that one run by Robert Kilroy Silk, remember him? Didn’t he vanish from our screens after some kind of scandal? I can’t remember but I loved his show. It was revolutionary at the time and it was great when things got a bit heated and some of the audience started shouting and ranting at each other. We’d never seen such things on our screens before and we were captivated. I will never forget the one where the old guy in the front row didn’t realise his flies were undone and no one else bothered to tell him.

Then we had Vanessa Feltz and her show that ended in scandal after she admitted they paid people to act up to increase the drama. That was a shame as I liked her show alot; her style of interviewing was witty and light. Tricia was another one, although I didn’t like that show as much as the others. She was the first one who was actually qualified to do such a show, as she was a trained psychologist or psychotherapist or something along those lines.

Then along came the American versions of these shows with their loud music and razzamatazz. Oprah, Ricky Lake, the old guy with the blond hair, the black guy with the funny name and the older gal with the glasses, Sally something her name was. The trouble with lots of shows of this type is that they often fall into a pattern of same old same old and not enough variety of topical issues we can all discuss and learn about. With Jeremy Kyle it’s DNA and Lie Detectors, with Ricky Lake it was makeovers and with that black guy it was reunions – too much of the same that quickly gets boring.

The thing that I have learned through watching Jeremy Kyle is that no matter how low my self esteem may get and however dire my material circumstances may become, I have more self respect and dignity in my left earlobe than most of the guests on his show seem to have and just knowing that fact raises my self esteem a few points. There was one episode where a gal wanted Jeremy and his team to help her alcoholic mother to stop having one night stands every night. Jeremy interviewed a tearful mature daughter about her mother’s escapades before announcing the mother and bringing her onto the stage. In walks this pensioner of 62 wearing a far too large sleeveless t shirt, which she then proceeds to raise above her head and give everyone a full frontal view of her naked breasts that were hanging down below her waist. She had no teeth, her face was very wrinkled, she wore no make up and obviously hadn’t shaved her legs in over a decade, but she was somehow able to have one night stands nearly every night after raising a few jars in the local of an evening. If that was my mother, rather than take her on national tv to broadcast her exploits to the world, I’d move to the other end of the country and change my name!

In the old days of Robert Kilroy Silk and Vanessa Feltz, when this type of tv show was a new concept, they discussed things, shared opinions and tossed ideas around but now it’s just ‘hop in, do a DNA test, into the next room for a lie detector and hop out again’. It’s boring now and we’re more than ready for either a change of tactic with these shows or a change of show altogether. These shows no longer stimulate my brain, they don’t make me think about how I’m living my life or whether I’m doing as good for myself as I could be. They just make me angry at my fellow man, embarrassed to be the same species as these numbskulls and sickened by how low my species can sink!

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