21st century TV has taken a turn for the worst- chat-show style. These public show-and-tell of private problems have overtaken our daytime TV schedules, and seem to be devoid of all awareness of privacy or dignity, plus little realisation of embarrassment too.
The nationwide, no, worldwide trending of chat shows is no new idea, and they’ve been on our TV boxes for a good few decades now, but it seems that the problems get better and better (for us viewers anyway). The stories, well problems, seem to become more juicy and outright scandalous.
We might get a bit hooked on Jezza, and feed off the cathartic feeling we might get which, even though it sounds bad, makes us feel better about our lives, planting the seed of ‘Well, at least I’m not as poor as them…God, I’m not that hopeless in love… Thank God my Mum didn’t sleep with my boyfriend and his brother…’ in our brains. Admit it, we all like to see that we could always get worse. And it’s a sad reality that there is a stereotype of the people who go on these shows. I can’t help but feel that if you really had a problem, going to a Gladiator-esque pit of a ruthless audience might not be the true problem solving situation you’d have hoped for.
The game-show format and bear-bating from presenters seems to aim to work up those on the stage, shouting abuse in their faces, but that’s OK because somebody in the world needs to punish these awful people for this affair or that stolen money from Gran, right? It’s justifiable by the fact you’re on their stage, it’s their show, so in theory, they can say “I will treat you as I wish.”
This fairground of embarrassment and apparent acceptance of public humiliation is just one part of the culture. It’s one thing to choose to go on a show like this, have your problems publicity flaunted on TV to millions of people, letting them know how you have a baby with your uncle or something horrendous, but it’s another to really look at what those problems are.
Let’s run through the regulars- drugs, infidelity, parentless infants, teenagers with kids, family theft, divorce, abusive relationships, homophobia, prostitution *runs out of breath* and the list really does go on.
We’ve become numb to these feelings; they’re so expected, anticipated. There was a time (although admittedly they weren’t better times) when divorce and being gay was a total crime and genuinely unaccepted in society. This was, without saying, bad because people are gay and marriages do fall apart. But now, with such an open culture, societal issues are more accepted and just taken as the norm.
Being unfaithful to your partner, or stealing from your family or even abandoning your children before they could talk are a normal part of society, but should it be? Is this the culture of Broken Britain which has become an all too familiar discourse in our everyday lives?
I think it’s sad how society allowed us to create an open problem-discussion forum, open to all who wants a pick-me-up about their own lives, with just a flick of the tele buttons.
Should we not concentrate our society-righting efforts on addressing the problems in the situations in which they start- at home. We should accept and do something about the 13 year old parents, and child abuse scandals. These things should not be discussed for the entertainment of others, but dealt with in private and sought to nip in the bud before they grow.