Dr. Phil My Coffers

Back in my Oprah-loving days, I used to genuinely enjoy the episodes that featured Dr. Phil.  His frank, common-sense approach to relationship issues was a refreshing change from her usual parade of psychologists peddling their latest self-help book.  As much as I enjoyed his appearances, I was skeptical when Oprah waived her magic prosperity wand over his head and granted him his own show.  Some things – like boy bands, creme brulee, lobster ravioli and…Dr. Phil – should be consumed in moderation so as not to cross the very fine boundary between really awesome and really awful.  Not surprisingly, Dr. Phil crushed that boundary almost immediately.
Not since Don King have we seen this level of self-promotion.  His narcissism has no bounds.  Every show is a shameless commercial for one of either his or his painfully vapid family members’ latest books.  Perhaps the most disturbing aspect of his show is his inability to conduct an intervention interview without pulling his plastic wife, Robin, into the conversation so she can give viewers a glimpse into their incredible relationship, sons and/or home life.  Because, after all, the show is not about the guests; it’s about the McGraw family.
The only Dr. Phil episode I’ve successfully watched from beginning to end aired while we were on vacation last September.  The entire show revolved around an extravagant surprise 60th birthday party that Robin organized for him (though he is alleged to have planned the party himself, going as far as to practice looking surprised) – from the venue (The Beverly Hills Hilton) to the ice sculptures to the expensive menu to the music (a private Seal concert) – they spared no expense rubbing their wealth into the noses of what is likely an audience of downtrodden housewives and unemployed factory workers struggling to get by.
As disturbing as the planning scenes were, they definitely saved worst for last.  The show culminated in an awkward behind-the-scenes look at Robin’s sessions with a band and choreographer who helped her reenact…wait for it…wait for it…Shania Twain’s “Man, I Feel Like A Woman” video as a gift to her husband.  Take that in for a minute.  Robin Not-As-Sexy-As-She-Thinks-She-Is McGraw dressed herself up in a teddy, fishnets and stilettos, donned a top hat and danced around in a music video that, though better-suited for viewing in the privacy of the McGraw bedroom, was broadcast both at the party and on national television.  I still have flashbacks.
Throughout the entire episode I was all, “Jack, are you watching this?  Can you believe this??  Oh. My. GOD!  JAAACK!  No, seriously! ARE YOU WATCHING THIS?!?!”  Why would I stay glued to such a shameless display of self-promotion? For the same reason I, and many others, watch the Real Housewives of New Jersey – like a moth to a flame, I couldn’t turn away.  And those images will forever be burned into my brain.

12 thoughts on “Dr. Phil My Coffers

  1. Thanks for the visual in my head of Robin McGraw parading around in fishnets and teddy. I’m just not even going to fight it, but will call my girlfriend up right now and tell her that we won’t be having sex for a few days and don’t bother asking why.

  2. How does a Dr, who isn’t a doctor, write a weight loss book when he’s fat? Easy! Gullable sheepish Americans who feed the mediocrity machine.

  3. i never even liked him on oprah, i guess since i was in the psych field, anyone who gives advice to the masses just bothers me. his big bald head and gummy mouth bother me, and his over simplified view of everything presented to him. if someone like him can hit it big…

  4. Why do you watch this stuff? I am too busy to watch TV until 9:00 or 10:00 at night. Who can stomach this stuff–Oprah or Phil? My recommendation: Listen to music or to NPR.

  5. He’s becomming more of a nut, than his guests, he has victims on the show and every time he makes a homespun statement, he refers to his book. Which soon pops up on the screen.. I will never buy his book. or watch his show again.

  6. If you think he over promoted his diet book, you should see his shows lately. There hasn’t been a show in the past 2 months that he has not mentioned his new book. Sometimes 4 or 5 times an episode. He uses the most ridiculous and obvious segues. If he were near as smart as he believes himself to be, he would realize that people can see right through it and are getting rather tired of it.

  7. Careful, your jealousy is showing. I guess it would better serve the world if we were ALL impoverished, desperate, and jealous of those who aren’t. The surest and most direct access to poverty is to hate the rich. You are telling the universe that you hate wealth. What goes around comes around. If you are miserable, you only have yourself to blame.

  8. Jealousy….NOT! I too am an avid fan of Dr. Phil and has been for many, many years. But lately over the last few years I too have noticed the increase in self-promotion of his book, his son Jay publishing company….now Robyn’s make-up line and his and Jay debt card….I think it’s called Chime. If you pay attention, most, if not ALL of his professional guests have a book that Dr. Phil shamefully promotes. This most recent episode introducing Robyn’s make up, Robyn’s charity, and his and his son Jay’s Chime card was absolutely shameless. The abused wife who was a guest during Robyn’s make-up episode was held captive while Robyn marketed every single product in her line giving all the ingredients and how great they are for the skin. The following episode featured a couple with sexual issues (wife didn’t like having sex with husband). The abrupt shift in this show to promote Robyn’s make-up and the Chime card was absolutely sickening. It’s growing more and more suspicious that the guests on the Dr. Phil show are selected strictly based on how their disfunctions can allow the McGraws to conduct more self-promoting of themselves. I just canceled my DVR settings to prevent me from throwing up!!!

  9. I used to love his show despite the book and makeup and ‘bird street books’ publishing company that his son has. I felt like ultimately he really did help many people. Lately however, the last season or two his methods shifted. He used to lay out a guests problem and then the recommended treatment and follow up. Now he gets the poor soul on and berates him/her for 45 minutes, absolutely grinding them into the ground, bordering on verbal abuse. When they are right on the verge of cracking, suddenly its not their fault. It’s addiction, childhood abuse, psychological issues, etc., and the last 10 minutes….his plan to fix the whole problem. It’s great that they get help on his dime but they pay a pretty hefty emotional price!

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