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 TV Bites With Neena Louise

You Talk Too Much

by Neena Louise

I haven't watched talk shows much lately (since the daytime trend switched from talk to court shows), but I tuned in the other day to see what topics they're focusing on these days.

I started with Sally Jessy Raphael. Talk about exploitive! There seem to be only three themes here: Terror Teens, Crappy Husbands and Who's the Father?. If you only watched Sally Jessy, you'd assume there weren't any good teens or men in the world. Couple that will Sally's constant "how does that make you FEEL?", the "aftercare" loudmouth schnook, the irritating "oohs" and "aahs" from the audience, and I don't see what redeeming factors this show has (other than to make people feel better about their own lives).

Next I flipped to Jerry Springer. This is not a talk show. This is the equivalent of WWF wrestling: scripted and entertaining; not real and riveting. I have to admit it's funny, though...

Over to Montel Williams. He's got to be the most sanctimonious buffoon in the talk realm. With his constant overly-dramatic statements, arrogant "I know everything and YOU don't" attitude and his lame attempts to connect with his guests, I have yet to be able to watch this show all the way through.

I used to watch Maury Povich in its early days and rather liked it (the 911 call show was the funniest I've ever seen). But now, it's much like Sally Jessy: Terror Teens and Men are Dogs.

Jenny Jones: At least there's a little variety, here, but Jones' voice drives me NUTS! Breathy, high-pitched and whiney...makes my ears bleed and I just can't take more than 10 minutes of it.

Ricki Lake is a little younger-skewed (and Lake is a more tolerable personality), but the show seems to lean more toward the Jerry Springer side. It's ok, but I'd only watch if nothing else was on.

Oprah. Well, what can I say about Oprah? Oprah's a good show to watch if you are feeling too good about yourself and need to be whacked down a few notches. All Oprah seems to do is remind you about all your flaws and how SHE can make you a better person. Think you're thin enough? Not according to Oprah. Think you're a good person? Not according to Oprah. Think you're a good parent? Not according to Oprah. Good show? Not according to me.

Rosie O'Donnell is at least a little more light-hearted, but Rosie has this mocking tone that grates. And who can forget the anti-gun lambasting she gave Tom Selleck - who was only there to promote a movie? Couple that with her "New Yawk" accent, horrible singing and weight obsession and I can find something better to watch. Like the Weather Channel. I don't think she'll be missed much when she leaves at the end of the 2001-02 season.

Live with Regis Philbin is a little more tolerable now that the holier-than-thou hypocrite Kathie Lee is gone, but I just don't like Regis. I don't like him on Millionaire and I don't like him in the daytime. I just don't like him, Sam I am.

Bottom line: Since Phil Donohue left the airwaves, talk shows are one of the less appealing genres of today's television. They're not really traditional "talk shows" at all, but more like yellow journalism with all its Enquirer-like sensationalism (or, at least, its attempts at sensationalism). Talk shows used to be informative and entertaining. Now they're just exploitive and stupid. I think I'll stick to trashy court shows.  
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