Now that I’m retired and have my days free, the television is on in my office while I write. There is one after another after another talk show with the news of the day, politicians, guest stars selling their latest movie or television show as the best ever made, warm and fuzzy people features, lovely pets that do quirky tricks, a parade of zoo animals peeing on the hosts, favorite things to buy for gifts, calorie laden ooey-gooey recipes followed by the latest eat this, don’t eat that never-ending diet trends, clothing designers, make-up tips, how to fix-up and design your home, the best of this, the most of that, the list goes on and on. The audience claps and politely giggles at lame humor or jokes, welcomes the guest stars, smiles for the camera, and is a totally behaved group of people who are on a daytrip to the big city for a show taping and then lunch at a favorite eatery.
In the midst of the bombardment of information coming at us like a freight train is also something that has taken ahold of America — the talk show lottery. That now common much anticipated rebel yell ‘Everybody here gets one!’ is apparently the catchphrase for audience members with collective hysteria to commence sreaming, jumping up and down, high-fiving, clapping, dancing, and whistling. An ordinary day is good enough when you get a CD or book or shaving kit or something, but getting a ticket to a holiday give-a-way is to infinity and beyond! You get showered with expensive trips, big screen TV’s, giftcards, computers, audio equipment, tickets to concerts and plays, anything and everything under the sun. The best part is you don’t just get the one thing, you get all of it — ALL OF IT!! If you’re lucky enough to score a ticket on a holiday give-a-way show AND bring your significant other, you get not one bounty but TWO! Hallelujah! (Spoiler alert though, the taxman always gets his cut.)
Gone are the days of Phil Donahue, Sally Jesse Raphael, and the early days of Oprah where audiences would gather for idea sharing and interesting topics. The pass-around-the-mike shows are dead and gone. They have been replaced by onlookers eagerly awaiting their free bounty of the day. God bless America… Sandy