Thursday, October 23, 2008

How to be on Maury

During college, I developed a fondness for a fantastic piece of television called Maury. My roommates and I rarely missed one of his "Paternity Test Tuesdays." A few weeks ago, I got my car detailed and was lucky enough to kill some time in the Jeff's Car Wash lounge. Before the cashier's favorite soap opera came on, we caught an episode of Maury. It was the elusive "Caught on Video!" episode. Once in a blue moon, Maury will show nothing but a series of grainy clips in which unbelievable things happen. I found myself thinking, "how pissed would I be if I had gotten tickets to the Maury show only to show up and find that I was just going to sit there and watch videos?!" Answer: Muy pissed.

To the untrained eye, all Maury episodes appear to be the same--I assure you, this is not the case. There are a few standard show premises to choose from. Allow me to elaborate.
  1. Sexy Makeover Show: In this one, guys are complaining that now ever since their wife/girlfriend had a baby she has completely let herself go. These women will emerge from backstage more unkempt than you can imagine. It takes work to look this bad. Clothes that are 27 times to big (as my 2nd Biology teacher explained, she wore her husband's pre-Weight Watcher clothes because "they were still perfectly fine"), some sort of rats' nest excuse for hair, not to mention stains on the clothes. So then the women get sexy makeovers and burst through a "before" picture and their husbands are happy.

  2. Used to be a Nerd Show: It's the sexy makeover show, with a twist! People who used to be nerds have come on the show because now they're sexy and they want to rub it in the faces of all the haters. They hide backstage while Maury describes them to said hater and then they burst through the same "before" photo all hot and whatnot.

  3. Troubled Teen Show: Parents of bad ass teens come to plead their case to Maury because they're at their wits' end! The mom is going to cry and explain to Maury that their teen drinks, does drugs, has sex, gets in fights, etc. Then the kid comes out and curses out the booing audience. Then Maury asks them to confirm the rumors: Do they have a goal to be pregnant before graduating middle school? Have they had more than 8,000 sexual partners? Have they traded sex for drugs? Yes, to all. Once all the teens are out there, they find out they're either going to boot camp or prison. An intimidating individual such as Mad Dog proceeds to break them down until they're crying and swearing to change their ways.
And, my personal favorite: Paternity Test!! This is the most popular Maury show, they used to just be on Tuesdays but have since expanded. Women with Baby Daddy issues come to tell Maury that some deadbeat claims he isn't the father of her baby and is therefore not helping out financially. I have developed a formula for this particular show:

  1. Tell Maury that the man in question is most definitely the father.

  2. Split screen photos of the baby and the guy, then point out all the physical similarities.

  3. Next, the guy will come out and everyone will boo him while he shakes his head, etc. However, everyone will clap for him when he says that he will step up and be a dad if he is, in fact, the father.

  4. Now comes the moment in which Maury opens the envelope and reveals the results of the paternity test. This can obviously go one of two ways. Option One: You Are the Father. In this option, the women jump up and dance around and the guy acts excited to find out the news. The more awesome option is Option Two: You Are NOT the Father. Both guy and girl will jump up simultaneously, the guy will begin dancing his "I Told You So" dance while the girl runs backstage and flings herself on a couch, screaming and crying. Maury (and a camera) will follow her backstage and ask if she thinks she knows who the father is. She nods and says yes. Then Maury assures her that they will do this test as many times as she wants.

I can't believe I've forgotten the Lie Detector Test Show! It's pretty self-explanitory, people have suspicions (mainly surrounding adultery) and their signifigant others [stupidly] agree to take a lie detector test. Once, this super white trash woman (the bread and butter of daytime talk shows) explained to Maury what she would do if her suspicions of a cheating man were confirmed. Now, to get the full effect of this, imagine it being said in a super-Redneck voice (if you know me, ask me to imitate it). "Well you know what they say, Maury. 'To the left, to the left'." Of course, referencing Beyonce's then popular song "Irreplaceable."

While Maury lacks the complete shock value and hilarity (not to mention fist fights and chair throwing) of Jerry Springer, it does seem slightly more believable. But if you're interested in seeing Uncle Stosh (a man who allegedly shot the Easter Bunny during one drunken Easter celebration) explain that he once bet on a horse race and he "would've won, if the horses had been racing backwards," then you're going to want to tune in to Jerry Springer.

2 comments:

H. Griggs said...

You forgot the shows when someone has a "mystery admirer" and they have to guess who they think it might be from a voice clue. Or did you consider those in with the "I'm a Nerd" shows?

Erin Black said...

I guess I did lump that in with the "I'm a Nerd" show...but excellent observation! You rarely see those anymore, what with all the Baby Daddy Drama to sort through.