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Jewish World Review Feb. 5, 2003 / 3 Adar I, 5763

Art Buchwald

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Consumer Reports

Whose reality is it? | Television keeps getting better and better. At one point, it was just an entertainment medium, but now it deals with all the problems of our society.

You can find a wife on TV and also a husband. You can get therapy for any mental illness-from depression to bed-wetting. The network shows feature couples who have committed adultery and daughters who hate their mothers.

If that isn't enough, there are shows where you can get a divorce and ones that have a judge decide a legal dispute between a claimant and his landlady or determine if someone got diddled by his car mechanic.

There are child custody shows and ones for people with bulimia.

And there are, of course, reality shows.

Where do the producers get the people to appear on their shows?

We have to assume the people want to air their troubles for their 15 minutes of fame. Also, It's cheaper to wash their dirty linen in public.

There are talent agents who book people for these programs.

I sat in the office of Sam Starquest, one of the hottest flesh-peddlers in the business.

A secretary came in and asked, "There is a lady outside who was abused by a priest and is willing to talk about it on the air. Do you want to see her?

"No, I've already got too many people abused by priests. They're very hard to place now."

The phone rang. Sam, on his end said, "You need two women who hate each other and want to tear out each other's hair on the 'Jerry Springer Show'? I have a pair. One woman accused the other of stealing her husband. They won't be faking it. Right. I'll send them over, but have your bodyguards on call in case anything happens."

The secretary came back in, "Maury Povich is doing a show on incest. What can we offer him?"

Sam said, "Tell him we'll get back to him. I know a brother and sister who may be willing to talk about it."

I said, "You're one busy guy."

"You better believe it. I am now looking for 20 beautiful girls who want to win a guy whom they think is a millionaire. They all have to be beautiful. The theme of the program is how greedy women can be."

"I like the shows where the judge sternly chews out both the plaintiff and the defendant in the courtroom," I said.

"TV is overloaded with those kinds of shows. I have a stable of judges in the waiting room."

The secretary reappeared. "There's a couple outside who want to get a divorce on the air and they have a lady with them who committed adultery with the husband."

Sam said, "I'll call the divorce court. In the meantime, stick them in separate offices in case they lose their tempers."

"I can't think of anything they won't put on TV," I said.

Sam replied, "Not as long as it appeals to the 18-to-45 year-old age group."

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Art Buchwald's latest book is "We'll Laugh again." To commnt on his column click here.

01/17/03: Foreign Affairs for Dummies
01/15/03: No-news stories
01/13/03: The last pill
01/08/03: Come fly with me
12/20/02: Snooping for America
12/13/02: Give 'til it hurts
12/06/02: Pre-nursery is rough
11/20/02: The Princess and the butler
11/15/02: Preaching democracy
11/04/02: The blame game
10/30/02: The threat of golf
10/11/02: The wives of Hidden Valley
10/04/02: Will the real Saddam stand up?
10/01/02: To shred or not to shred
09/20/02: Plea-bargaining crime
09/17/02: Jack and Jane
09/12/02: Signing books is half the fun
09/10/02: To lose one's center
09/05/02: Moot court
08/29/02: I spy-you-spy
08/27/02: No smoking --- I love you
08/23/02: Ashes to ashes
08/14/02: Wall Street good news
08/09/02: Things in my attic
08/01/02: Damage control
08/01/02: Another icon
07/30/02: Draft all the lawyers
07/25/02: House for rent
07/23/02: Doin' time
07/19/02: The loophole game
07/16/02: Money as a game
07/11/02: Just desserts
07/02/02: So you want to win?
06/19/02: Homeland security parking
06/13/02: The Accused
06/11/02: Don't let them know
06/06/02: The FBI changes its ways
06/04/02: RED ALERT
05/28/02: Malice On Purpose: I'm scared!
05/23/02: Barbie Doll
05/21/02: Why Bermuda?
05/19/02: White collar prisons
05/15/02: Those in depression
05/09/02: Mother's Day in the market
05/07/02: Salary negotiations
04/26/02: Homeland security
04/24/02: The greatest breakthrough
04/18/02: Conflict of Interest
04/15/02: The Sign That Couldn't
04/11/02: It's Cherry Blossom Time
04/08/02: The Young Audience
03/31/02: Safe Deposit for Sale
03/26/02: Au Revoir to Soft Money
03/21/02: Andersen Defense Fund?
03/19/02: Celebrity kickers
03/15/02: A Mickey Mouse solution
03/13/02: Shadow government in the sandbox
03/07/02: The Way It Is
03/05/02: Not telling the truth
03/01/02: Book flogging
02/27/02: The players are mad

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