The poor man’s puppeteer
This week brought revelations about how The Jeremy Kyle Show is made.
It won’t be a surprise to anyone that’s seen the show, that what’s been said hasn’t been good.
We all know the format of Jeremy’s show (who from here on will be referred to by his popular moniker: Jezza), but just in case you’ve forgotten, it doesn’t hurt to recap.
The show involves Jezza trying to fix the (broken) lives of very dysfunctional people. People who seem to be in a perpetual state of shouty anger. People who’ve chosen national television as the platform to air their personal problems. People who like to shout and get angry at their family, friends, family friends, boyfriends, girlfriends, ex-boyfriends and ex-girlfriends. And just about anyone else they believe has wronged ‘em.
Jezza attempts to solve these very complex problems, problems of emotion and bias, a lack of intelligence and gainful employment, with DNA tests and lie detector results.
Nobody squats and stares and sneers quite like Jezza. You could say he’s made a modern art form of aggressive. Sat atop the last stage step, in his grey middle-manager’s suit, snarling at people in tracksuit bottoms and mouth’s without all their teeth.
And when Jeremy leans ever so slightly forward, breathing through his nose like a baby dragon needing to sneeze, you know it’s on. It’s on like Donkey Kong.
But what goes on behind the camera? Beyond the lighted stage.
Well, the show’s producers have been accused of winding guests up. Of stirring the pot. Of riling guests into that state of hot, red-faced rage that has become so synonymous with the show.
The producers, basically, play the classic role of the school sh*tstirrer. They’re the kid on the playground that always wants to see a fight, but never wants to be in one. They’re the kid that goads you into squaring up to a 14-year-old child-man with boulders for fists and a five o’clock shadow. Some monstrous pubescent anomaly. They’re the kid that chortles, while this giant beats you as if it was his job.
That’s the role of the show’s producers. To wind up very angry, intellectually limited people, so that they storm the stage frothing at the mouth, swinging lefts and barking a stream of bleeped-out invective – ready for Jezza to put them down.
All for our entertainment.
If this was any other show, this would be bad PR. But this is Jezza’s show. It his name up there (as he likes to remind his guests), and for this show, bad PR is the best kind of PR. It’s what brings the viewers in. The worse it gets the more we watch. And if we we’re smarter, better, more socially conscious humans, we’d have the decency to tune out.