chapter  7
CONFRONTATION AS A SPECTACLE: THE ARGUMENTATIVE FRAME OF THE RICKI LAKE SHOW
Pages 18

In the mid-1990s a new strain of talk show emerged, led by the American shows Ricki Lake and Jerry Springer. This type of show is guest-based, rather than being an audience participation debate on pertinent social issues, as for example the long-running shows Donahue and, in the United Kingdom, Kilroy. The topics or themes of the show center not around questions of wider public concern but “everyday life dilemmas,” and the guests, who do most of the talking, are ordinary members of the public, usually with a bone to pick with each other. The show’s discourse routinely revolves around confrontations between ex-lovers, family members, friends who have fallen out, neighbors who are in dispute, and so on. In this sense, such shows create what could be called confrontation as a spectacle, in which guests are encouraged to air publicly disputes that ordinarily would be confined to the private sphere of everyday life.