During summers spent with my parents, my mother and I would snuggle up with a cup of joe and watch Maury re-runs. Maury, Jerry Springer and other shows like it or “trash tv” are completely fascinating. This is America, not all of it, maybe not even most of it, but they are people in America who exist and lead this strange, bizarre and sometimes tragic lives. They volunteer their dignity for a little bit of fame. I wonder if they think Maury will actually help them? You can get paternity tests at pharmacies these days, so there’s no need to go on national television to find out who the father of your kid is. The show exposes a part of the American underbelly where teenagers have sex for food, men gladly walk away from their children, women are regularly called “whores” and teenagers are “out of control.”
It’s trash tv but it has to be amoral because the people on it volunteer to be on and the people who watch it volunteer to watch it. It wouldn’t exist without an audience. I think the word for it in German is schadenfreude, the act of taking pleasure in other people’s misfortune. I have no idea why the guests are willing participants, I don’t believe they get paid to be on the show, just flown out to its location. I do know is that I enjoy watching the show, it’s insane, bizarre and I can turn my brain off. Why do you watch trash tv?