Hello TVRagers, welcome to the second edition of my very own special feature “Rachel’s Ray of Sunshine”! Here on staff I am commonly known as not only a raging Canuck but I am often referred to as “adorable” and “too nice” and “polite”. I try and always look on the bright side of things in life and strive to find some good in anything. What started out as a little running joke, that I could find good in even the most terrible of things, has turned into this feature. Can I bring out the good in the world’s worst television shows? I think so. Here comes the sun (do-do-do-do).
In the second edition of ‘Ray of Sunshine’, I am going to be looking for the light at the end of the long, dark tunnel of trash and embarrassment that is the ‘Maury’ show. Maury is the kind of show that you watch to make yourself feel better about your own life – and then you realize you have been watching hours upon hours of daytime television featuring crying women and paternity tests and you feel a little depressed about how you have chosen to spend your free time.
So what good could possibly come from a show that takes advantage of the mistakes, screw-up’s and general misery of the lives of others? From my many years of study of the show during days at home sick from school, as well as some deep reflection, I think I have come up with some real honest-to-god examples of the good that has come from the ‘Maury’ show.
I know I said this in my last ‘Ray of Sunshine’ piece, but I have changed my mind: the ‘Maury’ show is truly the best form of birth control I have ever seen on television. It is a reflection of bad choices and sad circumstances that lead many of the young girls and women to ‘Maury’s’ stage for a paternity test to discover which of the 12 men they intimately know are the father of their child. It is also a fantastic example of what not to strive towards. We can only hope that publicly showing the results of said bad choices have had a positive result on the lives of a few impressionable teens. If so, I think that the show can be credited with being a huge, flashing, screaming advertisement for safe sex. “You are NOT the father!”...or, you know, maybe you are.
Paternity tests are the bread and butter of the ‘Maury’ show. Apparently, a lot of people have a really hard time figuring out who the father of their baby is. While most ‘Maury’ paternity test moments feature hysterical women, men in denial and lots of running around and screaming, some have a happier ending. Who would have thought that ‘Maury’ could actually bring hope and joy to someone by uttering the phrase “you ARE the father!”? Cheesy montages and terrible music aside, it is possible. In this case, the results of the paternity test provides a heartwarming example of how this reality television show brought two people together when they may have never had the opportunity before.
On another note, while certain topics on the ‘Maury’ show are not treated with the tact and maturity that they deserve, it can be said that the talk show does bring attention to a wide and assorted variety of problems present in our society. Parental paternity, sex secrets, abusive relationships, misbehaving teens and children, transsexuals, personal transformations and even missing children have all been popular topics for ‘Maury’ episodes. Maury himself is also a huge advocate for the education and support of today’s youth. In 2008, Maury and his show made a partnership with The National Campaign To Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy. Together, they provide education about teen pregnancy through public service announcements and events. Maury has also been honored publicly by former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani for his contributions to raising awareness for children’s causes and for the National Adoption Month.
Finally, I think that it would be a glaring insult if I didn’t acknowledge the elephant in the room. The biggest reason why the ‘Maury’ show is not all bad is that it is really and truly so-gosh-darn-funny. The ‘Maury’ show brings rays of sunshine into those boring days spent flipping through daytime television and turns them into laugh-riots. Sometimes we need to stop taking things so seriously and instead embrace the hilarious and stupid things that people will say on reality television. For example:
The moral of the story is, you can find little rays of sunshine everywhere you look (even if you have to strain your eyes really hard or use a flashlight). Next time you are watching some good-old trashy daytime television try and look for the positive in between laughing at the negative.