I adore Dr. Phil. Not the man as such, the man in the show. He is such a clever manipulator. Full of debilitating one-liners like “How is that working for you?” or “You can’t change what you don’t acknowledge.”
Immediately we are sucked into the logic of his reasoning. We, the audience, are not always certain in what direction he is heading. We need to hang on his lips to find out if he will be on his or on her side; if he will bear bait the grandmother; if the victim is truly a victim and not a perpetrator. For he does like to turn things around for us at times, our Dr Phil. However, as soon as we see where he is going, we follow him like lambs, we applaud his every word, we nod in agreement, for he speaks the thoughts that we already had, or should have had, in our minds.
O, he is so understanding, so wise, so funny, so charming, and we fall for him like blocks.
I love it: his arch manipulation, the drama, the naiveté of his guests who must be really keen on their fifteen minutes of fame to pour out their most horrid secrets.
Or they try to hide them. But then they have misjudged their host, for he is on to them! He ambushes, smirks and Whammee, gotcha! We are given even better drama.
Commercial? O yes, absolutely! And this is clearest on the shows when Phil has turned into a Santa and he is giving away present after present on behalf of certain companies. Those days I turn off the TV.
But all the other days I am hooked!