Steve Wilkos – Daytime TV And The Gladiatorial Arena
To pass the time, my son and his girlfriend decided to take in a TV show today from Living TV on satellite. Another in the Jerry Springer-genre of open heart emotional surgery in front of a live audience, Steve Wilkos is the shock-jock supremo. Indeed, this presenter was apparently a former security guard on the original Jerry Springer Show. This particular episode was subtitled “I Molested My Child” and consisted of a self-confessed molester of his own children being confronted by said offspring. Words like Tragic or Deep or Opportunistic do not begin to describe this sort of material. I could not tell whether this was staged or real but it was certainly disturbing on a number of levels.
Wilkos’ approach is much more involved than his mentor. He actively confronts the miscreant and berates him, in mild contrast to Springer’s sit-back-and-let-the-fight-brew attitude. I could not work out whether he sees his particular vehicle as a healing mechanism for this chap’s unfortunate victims or merely as good entertainment. What horrified me the most were the quick camera cuts to the audience. These public onlookers were baying for blood; laughing, shouting, smiling and clapping as the tormented and tormentor squared up to each other to reveal the most horrid of family crimes. I cannot quite accuse these voyeurs of blood lust of being more at home in a Roman Arena, but I was fully expecting Wilkos to gesture thumb-wise up or down (almost certainly down in this case).
It is scary that this qualifies as pulp daytime TV infill. Steer clear. Deeply unpleasant.