I’ll just be honest about this.
I do not like Jeremy Kyle.
Jeremy Kyle is an English talk show host. He hosts shows in both the United Kingdom and, since 2011, in the USA. On both shows, he deals with the usual daytime television topics: infidelity, out-of-control teenagers, interventions, DNA tests, and lie detectors. He is also perhaps the most unpleasant person that I have ever seen on television.
As opposed to other talk show hosts who pretend to be impartial, Jeremy Kyle is always quick to let us know that he hates his guests even more than we do. When someone confesses to cheating on his or her spouse, Jeremy reacts as if he was the one being cheated on. With a permanent scowl on his face and speaking in a tone of voice that reeks of manufactured contempt, Jeremy Kyle repeatedly tells us that his main concern is the children and that he has no respect for anyone who he feels has put their own selfish desires first.
“In the UK,” he’ll find an excuse to shout during every episode, “we have a saying — keep it in your trousers, mate!”
In many cases, Kyle’s guests deserve to be yelled at but that doesn’t make Jeremy Kyle any less annoying. For all of his shouting and his moral outrage, Jeremy Kyle is far too obvious a showman to be taken seriously as a sincere crusader for family values. He’s made a career out of exploiting that which he claims to condemn and the fact that he seems so totally humorless about that fact makes him just as bad as the people he has on his show. He’s a bully but he’s also a surprisingly ineffective one. The main image that one retains from the Jeremy Kyle Show is the sight of a husband and wife screaming at each other while Jeremy impotently demands that they both be quiet. The only time that Jeremy really has any control over his stage is when he has his ever present security team standing a few feet in front of him.
When I told my British friends that Jeremy Kyle now had a show in the States, they all had the same reaction. They apologized. As for me, I refused to sign that petition to deport Piers Morgan but if anyone starts a petition to deport Jeremy Kyle, I’ll be more than happy to put down my signature.
So, you may be asking, where does the pleasure from this guilty pleasure come from?
It comes from knowing that there’s always a possibility that one of Jeremy Kyle’s guests might lose it and punch Jeremy out. Every time I’ve seen the Jeremy Kyle Show, I’ve always been struck by just how much everyone on the stage appears to hate Jeremy. When I do watch this show, it’s because I’m waiting for those priceless moments when somebody will tell Jeremy to shut up and his face will briefly turn red. I doubt that I’m alone in laughing whenever a guest unexpectedly jumps to his feet and Jeremy reacts by scurrying behind a security guard. In those moments, Jeremy Kyle’s superior mask falls away and he’s revealed for the pathetic little martinet that he is.
On those rare occasions that I waste my time watching the Jeremy Kyle Show, I’m watching because something like this could happen:
That’s the real pleasure of The Jeremy Kyle Show.