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The eponymously baptized "Jeremy Kyle Show" has become something of a legend in recent times. The format is simple - suitably self-important, insensitive host invites various "disadvantaged" members of the British public onto his show to sort out their (numerous) scrapes. It certainly doesn't take a rocket scientist to work out that the ideal person to present a programme like this would require not only a certain toughness, but a little flexibility, compassion and the ability to recognise that their initial judgement was perhaps a little inaccurate. Unfortunately, our Jeremy possesses none of things, thus fructifying the inescapably alluring monstrosity we all know and love today.
Before about nine or ten in the morning, I'm never completely awake. That is to say I'm perfectly conscious and full of beans, but all of my dreams are still lingering about in my insane head and are very much vivid. But there's nothing like a good dose of the abrasive Jeremy and his dismally feckless guests to bring the fading fragments of my stupidly jovial nocturnal dream world crashing down around my ears, and claw me back down to Earth. I've always found the Jeremy Kyle Show to be extremely hilarious, but can understand how it could be correspondingly depressing. Depending on your sense of humour, I'd say that the show will either have you breathless with mirth or on the brink of suicide by lunchtime.
There are only a limited number of plights from which Jeremy's guests will likely be suffering, the most common being things like "My girlfriend's a whore, and I want to know whether or not my 18 month old twin daughters Chardonnay and Jesiqqa are really mine." Or perhaps "My son is ruining his life with his alcoholism, gambling and cruising for sex in public toilets. Help me." One of the most disturbing things about the guests is that they all look remarkably similar. Everybody under 30 is clad from head to toe in Reebok, appear to prefer scowling to talking, and when they actually do talk, use f#ck at least three dozen times per sentence and verbalize in some sort of enigmatic "street" jargon which is seemingly only comprehensible to each other and Jeremy. The over 30s are just as bad if not worse, all appear to lack the large proportion of their dental structure, are loud, loud people who seem to enjoy talking, which is really rather unfortunate when you consider that their vocabularies seem to consist of only about three actual words. "What a snob," you're probably thinking to yourself, "she's just as condescending as that Jeremy Kyle." Truly, I am not, (at least I hope not) and if you were thinking along these lines I can only assume you've never tuned in to the show. I am not looking down upon any social placement, any size, any dialect, anything at all - you simply couldn't fail to observe how odd the guests always, always are. In fact, I would go so far as to say that 85 in 100 of the people who feature upon the Jeremy Kyle Show fit the above descriptions, which is not only alarming but seemingly quite illogical. Such a huge percentage of such specific oddities, one would assume that this must, however sketchy, be some sort of representation of the general public. But where are these people? No, really, where are they? There must be an awful lot of them, surely? And if so, do they live in some sort of invisible alternate dimension?
I mean, these are only the meagre proportion that are actually either submissive or shameless enough to air they dirty laundry on national telly, think how many there must be who aren't! But, I reiterate, where are they? I've lived everywhere from the 'spacious country house in exclusive area' to the 'rented accommodation in crap area', I've got friends who I meet and hang about with everywhere from Belgravia to Bradford and I simply have never come across people like this.
Well, strictly speaking I have on occasion, but they are exceptional to the point of being renowned. Which is why the gargantuan concentration of these surly, unpleasant, toothless, Adidas-clad MacDonald's veterans is so . . . weird!
What makes the show a lot more unpleasant and therefore a lot more unavoidably compelling is Jeremy's astronomically cavalier attitude to the people he is supposed to be trying to help out. Now first of all, it is obvious not only to the audience, and to the viewers at home, but also I would have thought to the guests, that Jeremy has already made his mind up as to who is the villain in the piece before they've even parked their arses on his cheap Teflon chairs. The route that the story will take is embarrassingly formulaic - usually Jeremy will listen to the first guest's side of the story, tell them in his usual hollow style that he couldn't agree more and that clearly the other party is unreasonable. So then he'll call in said other party, listen to their version of events and immediately pretend to be shocked and horrified at the first guest, whereupon he'll turn on them ("them" almost always being male) and start to propel upon them all kinds of vilification, his most famous being "Look at me, LOOK at me! Yer SCUM! SCUM I tell you, SCUM! You, sir, should be ASHAMED of yourself!" Once the villain has been ejected from the stage amidst a heavy cloud of pantomime ill repute, Jeremy starts upon his all too famous arselicking sequence. "You're worth more than that piece of filth over there," he'll assure his, by now overwrought, remaining guest, "Because you're clever, you're beautiful, you're determined and you, madam, have got what it takes to go far in this world!" At this point, the zombie audience will launch into applause at yet more of Jeremy's hilarious false sincerity. "D'you know," Jeremy continues, "if I was ten years younger . . ." At which point the guest has no choice but to blush, smile and edge further back into her seat in private horror. What Jeremy should of course have said, if he wanted to exercise the "honesty" of which he is usually so fond, was "If I was twenty years younger, wasn't married with kids, wasn't on camera and had proof that you are in fact older than the twelve years which your physical appearance would suggest, I'd be there like a rat up a drainpipe." But I doubt this would have gone down as smoothly as his considerably shorter but nevertheless equally glutinous attempt at a chat-up line.
Another thoroughly disturbing element to the show is the 'lie detector' test. As Jeremy himself has, on occasion, admitted, this particular procedure is only 97% accurate. One can't help but wonder uncomfortably what becomes of that remaining 3% - of the supposed lying, crooked, demon "baddies" Jeremy gets his kicks in crucifying . . . that were telling the truth all along.
Not to mention, of course, the people that the sickening Jeremy toadys up to, hails, glorifies and almost pays homage to, that are in fact unbeknownst to us, backbiting, traitorous snakes that were purely lucky enough to have got away with it. It's not such a pleasant thought, is it?
I'll give the daft bugger his due, it can't be an easy job. In fact, it must be an almost impossible and intensely frustrating one, mainly because such a large proportion of the guests are SO unwilling to accept any assistance that it must be rather like talking to a particularly acrimonious brick wall. Not to mention I don't deny that many people do simply need an external perspective to help sort out their differences. I simply feel that Kyle, whose pompous swagger and braggadocio is seemingly deathless, is not the man for the job. That said, without his brazen observations, downright rudeness ("truth") and general amusing tendency to simply exacerbate any conflict there was in the first place . . . well it wouldn't make particularly good telly, would it? So here's to another few years of Britain's most darkly comical dosage of harsh reality.
The perfect assessment. You've just reminded me exactly why I hate this programme!
rolletrog 07.02.2008 16:10
Great review - pretty much what I was thinking but written better! Still makes compelling viewing even though it's cringeworthy the majority of the time.
RichardElse 06.03.2007 01:03
Fantastic Review, sums up the whole Jermey Kyle Script! He is rude and because he is loud and mouthy everyone thinks he is great (claps audience). Personally he should get off TV and get back on the radio then we don't have to see him!