TV talk show give-aways miss the mark


Forget Oprah giving away a car to every member of her studio audience one day.  I actually get depressed watching daytime TV and all of the “stuff” that is given away randomly to audience members.

I know it sounds like jealousy, and maybe it is, but watching hoards of people get a cornucopia of “stuff” simply because they were in the audience of the Martha Stewart show on the right day is just depressing.

Audience members at Ellen or The View, or Rachel Ray get an amazing abundance of free stuff.  And not cheap stuff.  Digital movie cameras, high definition TVs, vacations, tickets to Broadway shows, a $400 juicer, you name it, it’s been given away on a talk show.

I know that Oprah attempts, in many cases, to give things away to people who actually need them.  The car fiasco was a good example.  I don’t remember now all the details but I believe that fans had written in and some how Oprah’s staff figured out which people could really use a new car.  I must admit, that sounds like a lot of work.  But at least they tried.

The rest of the big give-away phenomenon (all started, as I remember, by Rosie) is all about advertisement for the manufacturers of the products, not about the need of the people.

So who is watching these television shows?  Well, the only time I ever watch them is if I’m home sick, or right now, I’m home because I have been unemployed for a long time.  And when the “repo” man knocks on your door to take your car away, it’s very difficult to watch the entire studio audience of a talk show get a new refrigerator.  When I’m home recovering from back surgery, the last thing I want to see is an entire audience of the Martha Stewart show win a $3000 Temper-pedic mattress set.

I just don’t think that rich white women who have nothing better to do than stand in line in New York City at 8:00 a.m. to “get in” really need a new set of 600 thread count sheets.  If it were me, I would sell them so I could buy food this week.

So yes, we all know it is fun to give and it makes you feel better.  But I would be much more impressed in rich television personalities gave away their own money on national television to people who really need it.  Instead, they go for the ratings, work with large corporations to give needless things away to people who don’t need them.

How about if they called a local food pantry, or local community outreach program, and found a family or individual who is truly down on their luck and pay off some of their bills, buy them a car, rent them an apartment, pay for their prescriptions.  What?  Not enough publicity that leads to advertising revenue if you do that?

Come on folks, get with the real program!

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