The Jeremy Kyle Show

Thoughts on the welfare state and the British underclass

The Jeremy Kyle Show

Postby Gavin » 24 Oct 2011, 10:32

I wonder if anybody here has any opinion on programmes such as The Jeremy Kyle Show? It's like Jerry Springer. I happened to see an episode today which featured a man who had had 27 children by various women.

To quote from the Wikipedia:

In September 2007, Judge Alan Berg described The Jeremy Kyle Show as trash which existed to "titillate bored members of the public with nothing better to do". He went on to say "It seems to me that the purpose of this show is to affect a morbid and depressing display of dysfunctional people whose lives are in turmoil" and added that it was "human bear-baiting".[6] The judge so characterised it "after [a] husband was provoked into headbutting [his] wife's lover in front of [Kyle's] studio audience".


The counter-argument to this is two-fold: that the show reveals what is going on in the lives of Britain's sizeable underclass and that Mr Kyle, with his straight talking, both publicly humiliates and guides those people who appear on his programme. There is however also the argument that simply putting these people on the television glorifies their behaviour and some may even behave badly, their aim being to eventually have their 15 minutes of fame on The Jeremy Kyle Show.

I am inclined to agree with the judge (a rare thing considering their typical sentencing): these cases would be best dealt with behind closed doors rather than turned into entertainment, but I invite comment!
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Re: The Jeremy Kyle Show

Postby Damo » 30 Oct 2011, 20:33

The show is also based on a fallacy... the lie detector test. Time and time again, LDT's have been proven to be very unreliable.
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Re: The Jeremy Kyle Show

Postby Gavin » 27 Nov 2011, 13:02

Good point Damo. I just happened to read up about polygraphs recently. It was interesting to see that American authorities claimed that they worked on Americans because they are "raised to tell the truth".

Not to be funny, but I wonder if there is actually some truth in that! The moral breakdown in America does not seem to be as advanced as in Europe. I mean, there is a still a customer service sector, and I'm serious about that. When I phone customer service in America, I usually get someone who is courteous and efficient, and I finish the call somewhat stunned.

When I phone it in the UK, well, it's not in the UK, it's in India, and things don't proceed well. I assume this is the case because it's cheaper to outsource to India and because native Brits cannot be found who will "demean themselves" to work with a friendly disposition in the service sector.

Whatever is the case, you are right though - as a general rule polygraphs are not reliable.
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Re: The Jeremy Kyle Show

Postby Elliott » 22 Jan 2013, 04:44

This programme is something I really don't know what to make of. On very rare occasions, I have found myself watching it, and it is strangely addictive. I tell myself that I'm learning about the underclass by watching it, but I don't know if that is self-delusion.

What I can say with confidence is that at least part of its appeal is like that of a car crash. You know it's bad, and tragic, and grotesque, yet you have an urge to look! And of course, you want it to be bad. You want the next interviewee to be even more stupid and scummy than the last - I think that cannot be a good sign.

But while we middle-class viewers (voyeurs) get some guilty pleasure out of it, there is the possibility that the underclass get something completely different from it. Yes, no doubt there are those who want to get on the show for their 15 minutes of fame, and purposely carry on a debauched life in the pursuit of it... but I'm sure there are others who are quite glad, and quite relieved, to see Kyle sorting things out. I have to confess that my own father watches Judge Judy every day, and he excuses himself by saying that he enjoys watching her get to the truth, tell it like it is, and restore justice to the world. I wouldn't be surprised if a lot of underclass people find that Jeremy Kyle's show is the only place they see those who torment them getting put in their place by a decisive, no-nonsense male. And that must be quite comforting.

More practically, it's also possible that members of the underclass use it as a modern church/priest sort of thing: "All right, your dad's a stranger, but what would Jeremy Kyle tell you to do, son? He'd tell you to pull your socks up and treat her right, wouldn't he? Or do you want to be like the scum he has on his show?" I don't know; maybe I'm romanticising there!

One other point to make is that, whenever I have watched the show, there is always a lovely sense of calm when I switch it off. But then again, that is true of virtually every single time I switch off the television. So loud, brash, manic and mindless has it become, that to push the OFF button feels like an act of mercy not just for me but for the poor creature itself.
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