Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Woman Who SHOULD Have Had Her Own Talk Show

Believe it or not, Oprah's incredibly successful talk show was not the first of its kind.  That credit goes to Phil Donahue whose TV show had its heyday in the 70's.  He was the first TV show host to explore the deeply personal, emotional, sometimes cringeworthy topics that really moved both his guests' and audience's souls.  Donahue really cared about his guests who would bravely come onto the air and pour their hearts out.  He treated them with compassion and with the same respect he'd give to a guest who came into his home.  I'm willing to bet that every guest on his show could rest assured that once the cameras rolled, they would be discussing the topics they had actually been invited on the show to discuss. This is not the case for many guests invited onto the show of another famous Phil -- Dr. Phil.

Many people saw the recent Dina Lohan interview (Dina is Lindsay's mom). Apparently, she is yet another guest in a long list of guests who did the Dr. Phil show under false pretenses.  She thought she was invited onto his show to talk about the plight of abused women and how they can be helped.  Instead, she was greeted by Dr. Phil's surprise guest, none other than Michael Lohan, Dina's ex-husband and former abuser!  She got so nervous when she found out he was on the show that she couldn't continue with her platform and instead began behaving erratically.  She told Dr. Phil that he was yet another member of the media out to destroy her to which he angrily responded:  "I am not the media.  I've been a trained professional for the past thirty-four years.  I know how to interview people!"  But what he does obviously know how to do better than interview people is how to gain incredibly high ratings for his show's producers and advertisers.

I was a faithful viewer of the Dr. Phil show for years. But it all went downhill when I tuned into a show where his guest was a stage parent who had gone on the show under the guise of getting exposure for her talented singer daughter.  Instead, she was reamed out for pushing her child into a career in show business rather than letting her daughter be a kid.  The woman looked completely baffled and hoodwinked as to why he was doing this.  I felt bad for her.  I pictured the producers interviewing her and acting excited about her daughter's talent and telling her how Dr. Phil's show would expose her daughter to millions of potential fans, maybe even get her daughter a record deal right on the spot. Then she goes on Dr. Phil and gets humiliated on TV for being a bad parent!

I finally lost all hope in Dr. Phil's credibility as a therapist on a later program when he interviewed an older woman/younger man couple.  He all but called her a crazy psycho simply for dating a man about twenty-five years younger than she was.  He said she needed psychological help.   I don't know if it was due to the fact that this woman in her fifties was around Dr. Phil's age yet preferred men in their twenties, but his criticism of her was way out of proportion to the situation. I doubted he'd have the same advice for his daughter-in-law's former boss, Playboy magazine mogul, Hugh Hefner, who routinely dates women SIXTY years younger than he is!

So I'm not surprised at all that he has now done this to Dina Lohan.  Dina Lohan makes her own mistakes, it's true.  She's not an innocent, yet I did find it refreshing when she made him squirm in his seat as he denied that she was put onto his show just so he could manipulate her the way the media does, purely for ratings.

Another of Oprah's proteges, Dr. Oz, is one step above Dr. Phil because he mostly does an informative show about health which forces more focus on facts rather than psychological opinions.  However, I did experience an all-time low one afternoon while viewing the Dr. Oz show.  His topic was women and weight loss.  He humiliated his women-only audience by making it mandatory for them to sit in his audience wearing short, skin-tight exercise tops that exposed their large bellies.  His lack of sensitivity by doing this to these women made this show one of the most disgusting things I've ever seen.  This episode easily could have been done without the visuals.  One of the women given the microphone in the audience had a flat belly, but she also was trying to lose weight. She had no trouble speaking to Dr. Oz about her problems with weight loss without breaking down in tears as nearly all of the women with the large bellies had done during their turns at the mike.

The one former protege of Oprah's who should have had a successful TV show is Martha Beck. She wrote the brilliant books entitled "Finding Your North Star" and "Expecting Adam," the latter being about her son with Down's Syndrome.   In her "North Star" book she shows the readers how to create a step-by-step plan to both find and succeed at the work they really want to do.  She believes in being true to your authentic self and in doing the work you would do even if you weren't getting paid. Oprah gave one day a week of the Oprah show to Beck just as she had done with Dr. Phil and Dr. Oz to create interest and to pave the way for their own "Harpo" Network shows.  I was surprised when a "Martha Beck Show" did not appear on the air the same way the Dr. Phil and Dr. Oz shows had. But knowing what I know now, there is NO way a Martha Beck show would have survived if she had been forced to participate in the dirty ratings tactics that both Dr. Phil and Dr. Oz participate in.  I'm not criticizing Oprah, just her offspring.  Martha Beck would never have allowed people to be humiliated on her show. This is a genuine, kind woman with a clean soul.  She is there to help people, not hurt people.  What is wrong with our media and society if they are about the bottom dollar without having concern for ruining people's lives?  Martha Beck would have never agreed to that.  So she remains a woman without a show.  But I'm sure she sleeps better at night knowing she hasn't had to humiliate or dupe anyone during the day.

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