Moment of embarrassment

While waiting for another program to start, I saw ten minutes of The Moment of Truth.

It’s a typical game show in that the contestants answer questions for money, but the questions are not skill-testing. Rather, the contestants get money for answering the questions honestly. They’re hooked up to lie detectors and as long as the machine indicates they’re telling the truth, their winnings continue to grow.

But the questions they’re asked! One guy was asked if he ever imagined having sex with his sisters-in-law. He answered ‘yes’ and was telling the truth. His answer, and its accuracy, comes as no surprise to me. They asked him if his was was the most beautiful woman he’s dated. He said ‘no.’ Truthful again. Another guy was asked if she’s slept with any of his friends’ wives. He answered ‘yes.’ Truth.

What made me feel extremely uncomfortable was the contestant’s family was sitting right in front of him, watching him answer. You can imagine the guy’s wife was not pleased.

I cannot understand why anyone would go out of their way to be on a program like this when they damned well know they have skeletons in their closet. Dude cheated on his wife and agrees to subject himself to a lie detector on national television? Not the brightest bulb in the marquee.

What really blows my mind is it got worse. You can imagine that marriages undergo some very difficult times because of the facts revealed on the show. Not content to have people embarrass themselves, the people behind the show keep track of former contestants and report on how their marriages are collapsing.

I couldn’t believe my eyes. It was like some sort of spoof, come to life. Once it ended, I felt like I needed a shower. I won’t even get into how unwise one must be to want to participate on such a program. On the other side of the screen, I do admit there was a compelling aspect to it. It wasn’t a good kind of compelling, however. It was more like something you do although you know better, and you’re supremely embarrassed about afterwards. Every time I thought they’d reached a new plateau of bad taste, they kept climbing.

Once I finally changed the channel, I knew I’d never watch the program again.

Is this what people want to see? We find this entertaining? Who would ever watch it twice?

Ten minutes of The Moment of Truth made me reevaluate what I want from television. Despite the return of new television shows with the end of the writers’ strike, my intake of broadcast television will continue to dwindle.

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