You wake up one morning and you really do not feel well. You put on your robe, you call in sick, you take your meds, and you make a warm drink. You grab your pillow and favourite blankie and you make your way to the couch for a mellow day of just looking after yourself. The mission of the day: feeling better!
You grab the remote and start surfing the channels. You stop. You prop yourself up. You lean forward to look more closely at the screen. You start breaking out in a cold sweat. You get the shakes. You grip your pillow tightly and then…. “AAAAAAAAAAAHHH” You break out into an ear-piercing scream…
The cause: the horrors of daytime television! Is there anything less conducive to feeling better than a whole day of watching daytime TV?
The last time I spent the day on the couch, fortunately I was sick enough to sleep most of the day. In between my naps, however, the daytime talk shows offered an endless parade of stories about being at death’s doorstep like: “the hidden dangers of leftovers in your refrigerator”, “the bacteria lurking in reusable grocery bags”, “when was the last time you bleached your kitchen sink?” and “when was the last time you checked your smoke detectors” Just what I wanted to hear, on a day I was trapped in the house!
Even if at that point, I felt the slightest hint of “get up and go”, there seemed to be no shortage of stories there to act as a deterrent from me from ever leaving the house: “distracted drivers are 23 times more likely to crash”, “the bacteria and germs lurking on the grocery cart”, “what you might not know about public restrooms”. If these aren’t enough to make one want to stay in bed, I don’t know what will.
Making a simple cup of tea to feel better should have been an easy undertaking, but according to daytime TV, I should have been having green tea instead of my usual, I was scalding the tea leaves by placing the tea bag in too quickly and I was made aware of the potential health risks of not properly cleaning my lemons.
Switching to health talk shows did not console me as I was informed I was doing my ab workouts incorrectly, I was not eating enough of the “super-food” of the day, and I was sleeping with the wrong pillow for a side sleeper.
Again, I was going to head to the kitchen to maybe get a bite to eat, but new information about pesticides, toxins and BPAs in my food spoiled my appetite.
I thought that the do-it-yourself/home talk shows might be a safer refuge, but I was wrong. I was informed that my paint colours were out of style, what little clutter I had was preventing me from living in the moment and the arrangement of my living room furniture was not conducive to a favourable energy flow in the house and the likely cause of why I was sick in the first place.
My self-esteem took a further beating when I switched to the cooking shows that showed me how I was sharpening my knives incorrectly (and likely ruining them), I was not picking fruit at their peak of freshness and I was throwing valuable dollars away because I was not choosing in-season produce.
On one cold wintry day I stayed home, I recall trying to steer away from daytime talk shows altogether by switching to the weather report only to hear about a “super-storm” bringing with it “snowmageddon”, also referred to as “snowpocalypse”.
At its core, I believe that daytime talk shows have the best of intentions in trying to inform the public in discussing situations that may apply to them. I also believe that there is an altruistic purpose in daytime TV, in trying to help viewers lead a better life. However, in this medium, getting good ratings is important too in a competitive market. That being said, is it really necessary to shock people into tuning in with story topics that sound like headlines from a grocery store tabloid and resorting to exaggerated adjectives like “deadly”, “shocking”, “mysterious”, “hazardous” and “bizarre”?
Often we will hear variations in wording to the effect that if a given story can help just one person seek professional attention then it was worth it. I completely agree as daytime television is not all about shock value, there is useful information to be found. I just wish that the producers and writers would take the time to strike a better balance in their story telling ability.. less shock, more information… or at the very least, to get a thesaurus.