‘You are not the father:’ Maury exploits legitimate problems

Dillan Schorfheide, Assistant Sports Editor

I will be honest, I have fallen victim to the phenomena that is the hype of the “Maury Show.”

Seeing people yell at each other on camera and having the truth come out with one of them being embarrassed or upset is somehow entertaining for me and millions of others. Of course, there are other shows like this, for example the “Jerry Springer Show,” but my guilt of seeing the show has made me think: how are these shows still accepted?

Now the people who choose to be on the show are doing it at their own expense, so if anything embarrassing or life-changing that is shown about their lives is fair play.

But my issue with Maury’s show is who is on there and what happens. The show follows an almost perfectly consistent routine for following real-life situations. If you do not believe me, the Berkeley Journal of African-American Law and Policy published an article in 2008 named “Do You Really Love New York?: Exposing the Troubling Relationship Between Popular Racial Imagery and Social Policy in the 21st Century.” Yes it is from 2008, but the findings still are relevant today.

For the most part, a young woman sits with Maury, who tries to look concerned for the young lady when he himself is not getting a laugh out of the situation, and she accuses a man of being the father, while he denies it.

After the crowd and Maury play Devil’s Advocate for both sides, and the audience boos and cheers at one raise of the voice to add to the sensationalism, Maury flaunts the DNA results or the lie detector test results before giving the verdict.

Then those involved either yell at the other(s) saying “I told you!” or they put their head in their hands because they were just contradicted.

The end, right?

Not really. This show seems to change people. Couples who said they once loved each other end up yelling and cursing at one another to prove a point on TV that they were right.

Sure, the show gives people the truth, but it does it in a way to promote chaotic behavior.  Instead of simply telling these people the truth, Maury and the audience basically pit the couples, or friends or family or whomever, against each other so the final verdict is more entertaining. On top of the sensationalism, the show targets minorities and those of the lower rungs of society for its entertainment.

The Berkeley Journal of African-American Law and Policy states, “It is important to recognize that shows like this provide the dominant image of young single black mothers on contemporary American television.

On these shows, disproportionately African-American young women appear to have men, even more disproportionately African-American, tested for paternity of their children. Notably, a substantial number of the women return for several appearances before finding the father of their children or giving up.Now do not take this as me saying that Maury and everyone who watches the show is evil. I am not even saying that the show is inhumane, not necessarily at least, but it definitely portrays a certain demographic while also using sensationalism to portray a bad situation in someone’s life on national TV.

It just makes me wonder how in a society now where literally the drop of a hat could offend someone, how no one has looked at what Maury, and to be fair what other shows like his, are doing and saying that it is offensive or, at the very least, not OK.

Dillan Schorfheide can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].