I used to like Dr. Phil. Oh, dear Odin how it pains me to make such a horrid confession! Yeah, I know, what the hell is wrong with me? Well, whatever was wrong with me, it's now a thing of the past. I have seen the light.
But why did I like him? Oh, I don't even know how it started. I think that Kirsti caught him when he had a weekly gig on Oprah's show, and I watched it with her. (This is funny, because Kirsti has never been a regular Oprah watcher. I mean, she's been known to watch it, but not on any regular basis that I can recall.) I found myself liking him so much that I would be sure to sit down and watch every Thursday (I think that was his day). I know exactly what it was that I liked - it was fun to watch him tell clueless people to get a clue. After all, who doesn't deal with a lot of clueless people in their daily life? (Especially school teachers!) I suppose that it was some sort of bizarre wish-fullfillment fantasy, as I wanted to rail on the clueless people just like he did.
Things got even worse when he finally got his own TV show. I actually caught the first few episodes! While it was hardly something that I would TiVo in order to not miss an episode, I watched it pretty regularly. It was wall-to-wall revelations of the stupidity of people. In many ways, it's like the dramatic irony of a Shakespearean tragedy - you understand the character's faults even if he or she does not.
Eventually though, it hit me just how totally asinine this guy was. I guess I'm just a little slow sometimes. I suppose it was a combination of things. For one, he started to do all sorts of weight-loss episodes, which is pretty cynical if you ask me. After all, that sort of thing draws in viewers, even though he doesn't really have any sort of nutrition/dietary expertise. Along with that, he also started shilling all sorts of diet products with his picture on them doing a total douche move. See for yourself:
That made me start to wake up a bit, but the thing that really shocked me out of my stupidity was a particular episode with a particularly clueless woman on it. Basically, she went on and on about how she spent too much money on her daughter and how she had racked up a huge debt by buying all sorts of toys for her. She had bought so much that her daughter didn't even have any sense of just what she had any more. To conclude, she said something along the lines of, "Dr. Phil, please tell me how to spend so much money on toys for my daughter."
I tell ya, it was like Paul on the road to flippin' Damascus for me. It all just rushed at me. What the hell was wrong with this woman? What the hell was Dr. Phil going to say that any other person wouldn't say? Sure enough, he said a bunch of folksy blah blah that was pretty much just common sense. I remember thinking that his next guess was going to be a guy who hit himself repeatedly on the head with a hammer, and then he would ask, "Dr. Phil, how do I stop hitting myself with a hammer?"
Yeah, I was pretty slow on the draw, but I finally woke up to why I was enjoying the show - the aforementioned pleasure in watching dumb people being told that they were being dumb, and I realized that was a pretty awful reason to watch something. Perhaps I should have gone on the show and asked, "Dr. Phil, how can I realize that you're actually just a douchey bag of wind?"
And typical of me, once I finally woke up to it, I couldn't stand to hear that moron talk about anything any more. Kirsti will once in a blue moon have his show on, more as background noise when she's doing something, and every word that comes out of his mouth just pisses me off. The thing is, there's nothing wise, nothing profound, nothing valuable about anything that he says. And now that I've actually been in therapy, I've learned that it's a process that takes some time to get any real value out of it; there's no way that he's actually solving any problems on his show.
What finally prompted me to write this entry was when I heard an ad for his show this morning. Apparently, he's going to talk to that woman who just had eight kids despite the fact that she already had twenty-seven (or something) while not having a husband or a job. They had a brief soundbite, and he was telling her, "These aren't dolls we're talking about here!"
Gee, really, Dr. Phil? Man, you must have some kinda fancy fricken' degree to figure that crap out. I'm sure that he's going to get to the bottom of this and finally cure this woman of her dimwittery.
What an ass.