Photo courtesy of PopCultureIdiot
I’d say a few years, to be somewhat exact.
Yeah, I may have sneaked a peek at it when my favorite morning shows sharing the time slot were on repeat, but it’s not on my autopilot anymore, so I don’t change the channel to it like I used to.
Maury has proved to be a cautionary tale for me. So many women on his stage have argued that some deadbeat snickerdoodle got them pregnant and denied being biological fathers of their children. Couples have fought verbally and physically over who was and wasn’t cheating. I learned at a young age that it’s not worth staying in a relationship where the other half doesn’t respect you and beats you to a bloddy pulp, because there are consequences, including being isolated from loved ones or possibly even dying as a result.
Then there are the positive shows: makeovers for spouses who let themselves go over the years and end up sporting long beards and hair, holey pajama shirts and pants, and mom jeans (the ‘sane’ spouse just wants to see them be sexy again); make unders for women, mostly mothers to young children, who dress over-the-top sexy and embarrass their teenagers; reunions where the person wanting to reunite with someone from their past wants to either prove to them that they’ve gotten better since the last time they crossed one another’s path or see their childhood friends again and possibly hook up with them. The episodes that are most fun are the one where female impersonators are mixed with biological women, and the audience is left to their own devices, trying to figure out, throughout the course of the show, who is a woman and who was born a man. Many audience members have gotten them wrong, but for those who’d gatten the right answers Maury once had money ready for them.
Another factor that has made the show successful is the audience, Maury’s co-hosts, in a sense. They cheer, boo, clap, and go wild when it’s revealed that so-and-so is NOT the father or when such-and such has been lying about having sexual relations with their significant other’s close friend or relative. Audience members have been known to get into confrontations with guests during tapings, and it shows in every episode, especially ones where out-of-control teens talk about getting into fights, having unprotected sex, and cursing out their mothers, who sit beside them, constant tears streaming down their face. One thing that affected me strongly were the teens who had sex for material things, whether it be clothing, iPods, computers, and even food (specifically cans of soda and cheeseburgers, which seemed to be a constant, and being around the same age as those girls at one time, I didn’t understand why they would set their standards so damn low).
With the out-of-control teen shows, I see the mothers (and the rare appearance of fathers or parental combinations) and it breaks my heart to think that they’re not there out of embarrassment, but out of frustration, not knowing what to do, wondering where they went wrong, and worried about how their child will end up, how much harder life will be for their teenager in the event they end up in a horrible predicament, whether it’s prison, homeless, alone with small children and no education and no help, or even cold in the morgue. The same heartbreak would go toards women who were in these abusive relationships and too scared to leave because of the fear of no one else wanting them, due to their abusive husband/boyfriend telling them that they’re nothing and will never be nothing. In reality, those same men were/are so insecure, having either learned that from a father figure in their life or never really had a male role model growing up, which is as equally disturbing.
There have been teenagers and abusive guests who have ended up pregnant, addicted to drugs, in abusive relationships, and in jail because D. West and those after him (I can’t remember their names for the life of me), along with possibly seeing their parents/spouses in coffins or spending a weekend in jail hadn’t scared them straight. Watching those episodes, I vowed to myself I’d never end up in their predicaments.
My mother once worked for the Westchester County Dept. of Corrections, and during ‘Bring Your Daughter To Work Day’, we got a tour of the Women’s Prison (which no longer exists, and all the female inmates are placed in the same building as the men — in separate parts, of course) and a chance to sit in a cell for a few minutes. The guards would tell us about what privileges we did and didn’t have, and how much it would suck to be in jail. We were then shuttled by van to a courthouse in nearby White Plains to watch a mock trial, and every time I would imagine myself in the jury, the power of someone’s fate in my hands. I don’t want that responsibility, and now that I’m older, I understand why others don’t want that responsibility, either (aside from taking time off from work), and I knew I would never want to be in jail or prison w=for whatever reason.
From a young age, I’ve learned so many things from the Maury show:
- Respect your elders (out-of control teens)
- Respect each other, physically, emotionally (abusive SOs, lie detector)
- Learn to keep it in your pants (paternity, cheating)
- Never judge a book by its cover (makeovers, makeunders, women/female impersonators)
Now it’s time for me to change the channel; Jerry Springer has lost its luster over time, don’t you think?