The Dr. Phil exploitation spectacular!

OK, hold on, let me get some gum to take the pungently bitter taste this YouTube clip from yesterday’s episode of Dr. Phil has just left in my mouth. In fact, let me spare you the experience of watching it yourself, and recreate it for you here:

First, Dr. Phil emphatically warns the audience that the footage they’re about to see is unpleasant and inappropriate for children. Then he runs the package in which the creator of a series of videos called Bumfights, Ty Beeson, brags about the magnanimity of capturing homeless men — as we see for ourselves in multiple clips from the Bumfights videos — fighting with each other, ripping out their rotten teeth, banging their heads into walls, and generally behaving in a completely sub-human way.

Then, as if that wasn’t awful enough, just as the package seems to be concluding, we hear Dr. Phil say, "Stop the tape, stop the tape." He turns to Beeson, now sitting on the stage, and says, "I don’t want to talk to you. That’s despicable. You can go." — as if he had only just seen the footage for the first time. Meanwhile, the moment Dr. Phil begins condemning Beeson and telling him to get off the stage, Beeson — who shaved his head, tacked on a fake-looking mustache and dressed in a suit to look exactly like Dr. Phil — goes into a rant about how Dr. Phil exploits people on his show too.

As some production staff escort Beeson off the show — with a camerajust coincidentially waiting backstage to watch him walk off — I couldonly marvel at what a mutally beneficial circle-jerk of exploitationthis whole enterprise was. Beeson gets free publicity — he gets his videos shown on Dr. Phil!– and Dr. Phil gets to look morally righteous as he declares, after"just" watching that footage, that he "refuse[s] to publicize that," and that it’s an "insult to my intelligence and theintelligence of my viewers for somebody to stand up and say ‘I’m tryingto help people by doing this!’" On that last part, I really couldn’tagree more.

Now, you’d be right to complain that, by bringing this whole sorry state of affairs to your attention, I am myself indirectly publicizing both Bumfights and Dr. Phil,all so I can look morally righteous in my own hissy fit of reprobation.Of course, I didn’t invite Dr. Phil to create this manufactured episodeon his show just so I could slam it, nor, for that matter, did Iseek out homeless people and goad them into acts of abject humiliationto make a quick buck and win some easy fame (or infamy). I guess I’mjust trying to do what I can only assume was Dr. Phil’s originalintention: to call attention to responsible parents that videos likeBumfights exist, and to keep them far, far away from the curious eyesof the adolescent boys Beeson is clearly targeting. Except I also feel the need to call shenanigans on a show (and a host) that invites Beeson to spew his muck on its air, castigates him for it, and then tries to pretend that it somehow remains squeaky clean. At least Springer has no illusions about where he lives.

OK. Now I gotta find some more gum.


Comments (35 total) Add your comment
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  • lola

    I feel ill and I didn’t even watch the footage (but have seen parts of Bumfights before). Honestly, I hope someone rips out Beeson’s teeth, slams his head into a concrete post, urinates in his eyes, and throws him into an incinerator. There, I said it. Oh, yeah, and that goes for all the idiots who watch Bumfights. Maybe not the incinerator, but the rest of it,

  • Brett

    Wow, I can’t believe the people behind Dr. Phil were dumb enough to think that anyone couldn’t see that this is the most scripted “drama” ever. Ridiculous.

  • mike

    This is not a new discovery. Sixty Minutes did this story months ago. First, Dr. Phil has a big weight loss program that failed. Then there was a book about dating advice. Now, he is using Springer tactics. Doctor, heal thyself.

    • M. Neves

      Could you give me more information about this 60 mins episode. I’d like to watch it.

      • M. Neves

        I forgot to check the followup box

  • echo

    It’s not about Beeson. I’ve noticed the change in Phil McGraw’s show for more than a year. We refer to him as “Maury with a degree”. He’s cheapened his format and even has his wife and son hawking their merchandise as well. He appears to have become exceptionally greedy, perhaps for face time as well as monetary gain. He once seemed so refreshing and home-spun when he was only on Oprah’s show once a week, but something has changed and he’s almost become affected and he certainly does a poor job of faking his indignation when the viewing audience knows that the piece was set-up before. He really seems to have gone Hollywood, and maybe……lost his vision for helping others.

    • Kate

      I agree. What is really sad, and completely dysfunctional, is that he claims “We have fun, here, on the Dr. Phil show”, but if watching people hurting and in pain is his idea of fun, then he’s an abusive person. He brags about his ‘experience’…right. His license was taken away from him, and there’s a reason he hasn’t gotten it back again. He’s more sick than his guests.

  • linda

    First, you have Dr Phil (and people he isnt a real doctor) saying to take your kids out of the room. So he had to have seen the footage already. Then he gets angry and tells the guy to leave. What a joke!! But what was priceless was the guy saying that Dr Phil exploits people all the time. AND HE DOES!!! He was more pi#$#@ed off about the guy dressing like him and mocking him. Please Dr Phil, we are not that stupid. Its time that you, your wife and son, stop exploiting yourselves and other people. You have really embarrased yourself this time. Even with a guest who is a total jerk and should be smacked and put in jail. While people were totally disgusted with this jerk, they thought that you were full of it. WHAT A JOKE!!

  • Dizzles

    I do think that Beeson is a horrible man that belongs in jail, but I don’t think that this is the right place to discuss him. I feel that the real idiot in the clip was Dr Phil. I agree that he must have seen the footage before, and I’m guessing that he said stop when Beeson came out as him. I think it’s pathetic that “Dr” Phil would schedule someone just to kick him out. It’s his job to have these discussions, not to throw hissy fits and refuse to talk to his guests.

  • bootsycolumbia

    This Ty Beeson dude sounds like he needs to be charged with some sort of crime. I don’t know what, but some sort of assault crime against these homeless men would do for a start. As for Dr. Phil–what the heck has happened to that guy? He’s always been a big, loud obnoxious Texan, but he used to have shows with substance, talking to people with real problems and helping them find real solutions. Now his show just seems to be a forum for his sanctimonious bull, and I hope it gets cancelled. And fast.

  • Karla

    I had a really hard time with Dr. Phil even when he was just Oprah’s weekly circus pony. I felt that his willingness to air people’s personal troubles on the air, and then berate them out of them was just absurdist tragicomedy.
    And then he so thoroughly lost his moral compass with those diet pills and having his wife shill for some hormone cream. It’s really distasteful, lowbrow cheesiness that cheapens therapy.
    Note to Dr. Phil: Stop reading (and believing) your own promotional material, take some time away from the limelight, and re-set your priorities NOW. And as our old pal Carl Jung says, “Dude, look at your shadow and clean up your act!”

  • amy

    it sure as heck seems fake to me !! cause why did Dr.phil let the clip run so long if he was so disgusted by it ?
    but also.. what that beeson guy is doing is not right, making money off other peop’e’s mis-fortune and he looked so stupid trying to look like dr.phil !!!

  • Cynic

    When it comes to Dr. Phool, I have very low (or no) expectations.

  • usagi

    I agree with everyone’s outrage, but do you think Carl Jung really said, “Dude”?

  • heidi

    I have to say I was disapointed, Beeson clearly has no morals, but I was at least hoping for a serious disscusion. Dr. Phil has changed alot. People freak out about Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt exposure, but my God, Dr. Phil even has his dog in the opening credits! talk about over exposure!

  • cranky

    Phil is a sick and sad little man who should get off of the air NOW!

  • Christopher

    First off… this is the most self-aware entry in PopWatch we’ve had in awhile. I’m curious about the comment, “Of course, I didn’t invite Dr. Phil to create this manufactured episode on his show just so I could slam it, nor, for that matter, did I seek out homeless people and goad them into acts of abject humiliation to make a quick buck and win some easy fame (or infamy).” I haven’t seen any indication that McGraw hired (that nut) to create this, but that it was a product (that nut) was already marketing. Where in the footage, or in this PopWatch entry, is there confirmation that McGraw/show producers paid Beeson to invent this product specifically for the “Dr. Phil” show?
    I find the “Dr. Phil” costume interesting… it leads me to believe the guest knew he was going to be brought in for a public chastising and decided to be the biggest jerk he could, and to pick up his check while promoting his product. If I didn’t want to see both host and guest walk off a cliff after the footage, I might have laughed. But it’s difficult to find any humor in the segment.
    The rebuke wasn’t necessary. The show never had to give the product or it’s creator any publicity, and if the show had followed the vibe of “Oprah”, it would have simply not aired the segment at all. Also, the show could have cut all footage of (the jerk) from the show, as well as black-out the name of series so that he’s giving it no promotion.
    The rebuke was a choice McGraw made in an age where we like to judge ourselves superior to others instead of considering our own weaknesses. That’s why people watch Springer… and, to a degree, we get the same thing from Oprah, who celebrates heroes and occasionally castigates villains.
    I guess the difference is, Oprah actually asks viewers to look at their own weaknesses while trumpeting their strengths.

  • Sean

    Give me a break people. Dr. Phil knows exactly what he doing and I don’t think he really cares that we believe that he is exploiting himself along as he is exploiting the problem. Here we are calling Dr Phil sick and digusting for showing it but were also talking about Beeson who is a person who is in my opinion lower than scum, don’t you think Dr. Phil knew that. Everyone believes that Dr. Phil is some hokey idiot from Texas, the man knows what he is doing. Here in a week or two people who viewed that piece won’t be saying, “Man, what was Dr. Phil thinking airing that!”, what they will be saying is “That Beeson guy is a waste of oxygen!”

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