Friday, July 15, 2011

Freud Green Tomatoes

I guess it's hard times for the crew of "The Talk," the afternoon show on CBS featuring Julie Chen, Leah Remini, Holly Robinson Peete, Sara Gilbert and Sharon Osbourne.  I imagine the ratings are not so great, so someone is telling the hosts to be outlandish and wild and crazy and just say any awful thing.

I have long felt that was Sharon Osbourne's calling card in any venue.  She seems to be one of those people who will sit quietly for a while and then, all of a sudden, holler out something bewilderingly inappropriate, and then giggle like a kindergartner who's just been caught making up dirty words to the Pledge of Allegiance to get a cheap laugh.  Sharon Osbourne, whose family fortune is based on her husband's quasi-Satanic drug-dripping addled lifestyle.  Nice pull, CBS! Maybe you could round up that guy who shot Rep. Giffords and feature him in a show sometime soon.

The other women, I have had respect for.  Leah Remini has been a favorite since "King Of Queens," and Holly was great on "21 Jump St" and "Hangin' With Mr Cooper."  I knew who Julie Chen was from being in a lot of shows I never watched, and I did see Sara Gilbert on "Roseanne," although I was never a big fan of that sitcom, which seemed to have as its purpose the glorification of what H.L. Mencken's brilliant portmanteau called the "booboisie."

As I say, of late the show runs like this.  The women enter the stage to tumultuous applause, which Julie, as emcee, finally has to wrestle to a close after about ten minutes.  Then, she introduces a topic, and four of the five women have intelligent things to say on the topic, then Sharon mentions her hoo-hah and what her husband,  one-time rock star ossified Ozzy Osbourne, likes to do there, in his rare sentient moments.

Then Julie buries her face in her hair and the little note card she carries, emerging after a short interval with that look that says, "OMG can you believe what she SAID!"  The look also says, wordlessly, "OMG My husband is the president of the network, so we're safe for now, but oh that Sharon! Isn't she marvelous?!"

Heroine to The Talk
But yesterday's show sent me into a towering rage.  They opened with the story of this woman who cut off her husband's penis with a kitchen knife and threw it down the garbage disposal.  She did this, not because he had dismembered her or did physical harm to him.  They have been separated, the story says, and he filed for divorce, and so she severs his penis.

OK; it's a story in the news, and could have led to a discussion of just what sort of depravity could lead a person to such mayhem.  Lorena Bobbitt, John Wayne Bobbitt, all that history could have come up.  But no.  They all laughed and smiled when some woman in the audience hollered out "That'll teach him!"

With the sole exception of Sara and half of Holly's remarks, it was pretty much a blanket approval of the woman's actions.  Sharon was off to the races right out of the gate, calling the crime "fabulous!" and wondering how the guy's appendage looked like as it swirled around in the disposal.  Leah allowed as how there could be one thing - ONE THING! - that her husband could do to earn such treatment from her, although she failed to elaborate on just what that was. Julie just giggled, guffawed, chortled and snickered.  Holly was winding up to say something about what a horrible thing this was, but said something about her husband first and got sidetracked.

Only Sara Gilbert pointed out that it was sexist and hypocritical, and asked how many people would be reacting with such mirth and glee had a man cut off a woman's breast someplace.

Which is not to say that horrible things don't happen.  That poor little boy in Brooklyn was killed and slaughtered by a madman the other day. Every day, you don't have to read too far into the paper before seeing stories of rape, murder, shootings, stabbings. They are not funny; no matter how mordant one's sense of humor, only a sick mind laughs at such atrocities.

Cutting off someone's penis is a crime, it's mayhem, it's the actions of a sick person.  Laughing about it, making a joke of a crime that involves dismemberment, is especially sickening because of the entire sexual angle that was brought to bear in this case.  If some poor dude on a tree-trimming gang happened to lose an arm in the woodchipper, I don't imagine that "The Talk" would make jokes about it.  Equally disturbing is their willingness to guffaw over the mutilation of a man's sex organ.

I've now lost respect for those women and for the production company who puts such an awful show on the air.  Maybe next week they can go on a telethon and laugh at victims of illness and disease. 

Once you sink into that gutter, there's no way to climb out without having gunk all over you.  Sorry, you ruined what used to be a nice show.

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