Last week on the Dr. Phil show — something so sad and utterly amazing happened — and Dr. Phil and his parental guests and an “expert” in the audience failed to see, and then act upon, the alarming breakthrough a young woman expressed right under their television noses.
The show revolved around a 14-year-old girl who loved dressing naughty and calling herself a “slut” and a “whore.” Her 12-year-old sister was “perfect.”
The somnambulistic parents were uninvolved in the older child’s life except to buy her thongs and to tell her what a failure her life had become; the full energy of the parenting was spent on celebrating the adorable younger child who just happened to look exactly like them.
The slutty child gladly took on the role of the family black sheep rebel — you could tell she knew she was playing a role and that she didn’t really believe in any of the bad things she was saying or doing — but Dr. Phil made an excellent point that if she plays slutty long enough, that will become her reputation, and she will quickly find young boys and men who will take her up on her image and take her to a place she does not want to go.
Dr. Phil drilled into the girl to find out if her core was still real or not. He said she was smart. She denied it. He told her he knew she could be successful in school. She denied it.
In the last five minutes of the show, Dr. Phil gave the slut one, last, appropriate, pummeling for not living up to her gifts — and the young woman broke her facade for just a moment and confessed in a small voice, “I don’t know who I am anymore.”
Her father spoke over her.
Dr. Phil interrupted the father to send the show to a commercial.
We, the audience, were left stunned and wondering why Dr. Phil didn’t acknowledge that soul-bearing moment in the blistering glare of a national television audience.
We knew when the show came back from commercial that someone on Dr. Phil’s staff would alert him to the girl’s final, caustic, revelation of character that was a quiet cry for help to change back to her old, non-slut, successful self.
The show came back from commercial and Dr. Phil’s eyes were glassy — he gets that way when he’s rushed for time and reading off a teleprompter — he thanked his onstage guests, and then threw it to the child psychologist in the audience who was shilling a book.
Nobody acknowledged the girl’s confession as time was running out and then we were back to Dr. Phil who told us goodbye and walked off the show with his wife, Robin, as is his traditional want.
The rest of us at home were left to simmer wondering if anyone in that television studio caught the young woman’s plea for help and we slowly became outraged that Dr. Phil’s television doctoring proved that day that he was more interested in selling soap to housewives than saving the soul sitting in front of him.