Derek Gentile: The reality of daytime television

Friday January 4, 2013


I was laid up for a few days last month (better now, thanks), and I had a chance to do something I haven't done in a long while.

No, it wasn't finish that Avengers quilt that I started when the movie came out!

I watched a lot of television. I'm not one of those people that disparages TV. I think there is a lot of television that is very good. But because I work mostly nights, I don't get to view it often. And it seems counter-productive to watch television during the day.

So anyway, I got to watch Maury Povich and Jerry Springer and Judge Judy and all the other judge shows on television these days. I'm sort of glad I don't have time to watch much television.

I still liked "Cops," which I hadn't seen in years. As someone who used to cover court years ago, the situations are not unfamiliar to me. One thing you realize is that, while police shows like "CSI: Miami" are really well-done, that's not real life.

Real life is a large, portly, drunken gentleman standing outside his house trying to explain to officers why he has two bales of marijuana on his front porch.

And they always try to run, don't they? I mean, the guy is wearing pajama bottoms and nothing else. And yet, as he lumbers around the back of his house, you know he's thinking, "If I can just get into the next yard, they'll never find me!" But they do.

I also watched a show called "Cheaters" a few times. This, I will admit, is a great concept. The show investigates people who believe their significant others are seeing other people.

Then, when the shows investigators capture enough on tape, the cheating party is confronted by the other person, the guy hosting the show and a bank of cameras.

I get it. Confrontational, dramatic and the live theater is pretty compelling, although I wouldn't want to be the person caught.

And to be honest, I know I wouldn't be a good bet for the show. I can see the host now, showing me the footage of one of my girlfriends with another guy.

Host: "Here we see your girlfriend getting out of a late-model BMW with Mr. X. They're going to dinner at this fancy restaurant."

Me (thinking): "Wow. That's a really sweet car. And that restaurant must cost a fortune!"

Host: "This is a little later. They apparently had tickets to a show, and this individual is escorting your girlfriend to a play at a local theater."

Me (still thinking): "Man, those tickets are tough to get. I wonder who this guy knows? Plus, they cost an arm and a leg!"

Host: "Derek, the reason we contacted you is that your girlfriend is presently at another trendy restaurant in Pittsfield with this gentleman. We're going to meet them right now.."

Me: "OK, sure. Let's go."

So we would have climbed into the van and driven across town. We'd have parked the car and when my girlfriend, let's call her Jane, came out with Mr. X, I guess the "Cheaters" folks were anticipating a heavy-duty confrontation.

But that's not my style. I almost never get too worked up about stuff like that. I think I would have walked up to the guy and probably shaken his hand.

Mr. X: "Uh, hey, man, sorry about this."

Me: "Think nothing of it. I was impressed with the way you treated Jane. She likes nice things. And you seem like a nice guy."

Host: "Uh, Derek, we were kind of hoping you'd get mad and go after this guy. That's why we have all these burly production assistants. To separate you."

Me: "Yeah. Sorry, Mr. Host. I kind of like Mr. X. He seems like a good egg. You know, sometimes these things just don't work out."

Then I would turn to Jane and say, "Hey, I'm sorry we didn't connect. I really liked you, but I think this guy likes you more. Good luck."

Host: "Oh, brother. Cut!"

So don't expect to see me on television anytime soon.

Derek Gentile is an Eagle staffer. Contact him at dgentile@berk or follow him at @DerekGentile on Twitter.


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