Oh my god, it’s almost 2010: Best Maury Moments
As the decade draws to a close, it becomes necessary to reflect on the events and experiences that have shaped our last 10 years. And what could be more important, in this reflection, than the “Maury” show? Connie Chung’s husband has proved himself to be of equal caliber as a hard-hitting journalist in his coverage of everything the public really truly cares about: obese infants, baby daddies, out-of-control teens and irrational phobias. And to top it off, he always does it with a smile—or a laugh as a woman describes her husband’s kidnapping. To celebrate Povich’s lasting influence on the 2000s, here is a list of the top five “Maury” moments from the last 10 years:
In many of his segments, Povich genuinely tries to help his guests, including those focusing on irrational phobias. Despite the guests’ later appearances on the program to show how cured they are, the way he goes about it is, well, a bit questionable. And that’s what makes it so entertaining! As for the top moment, this one has to be a tie: There’s the woman who is deathly afraid of mustard, yet she loves ketchup and worked at Burger King. She goes so berserk when they bring out a tray piled high with mustard that she runs into the crowd, attempts to strangle one of the audience members and then settles for hiding under the bleachers. Then there’s the woman who sobbingly confesses her fear of cotton balls and recurring nightmares about a man made entirely of cotton balls. So what does Maury do? He brings out the cotton ball man, of course! Every time I watch this, I don’t even find myself pitying the woman falling apart in front of my eyes as Maury chuckles to himself, or pitying her clueless husband as he tries to comfort her. I pity the guy whose only acting credit is the Cotton Ball Man.
Out-of-control teenagers are common guests on the “Maury” show, but this one takes the cake. The dramatic tale follows Vicky and her 15-year-old daughter Victoria’s desperate mission to get pregnant. They reveal that Victoria has had unprotected sex more than 300 times with 15 different guys (cue shocked yells from the audience) at the park, the mall, the playground, the staircase of a building, her mother’s bed. I won’t say it isn’t jarring to hear Victoria’s baby voice explain that she needs the “love and attention” a baby will give her as Vicky, her mother, sadly looks on, but don’t waste your time sympathizing with Vicky. Victoria is clearly very intelligent. I mean, she obviously has thought everything through in her pregnancy scheme. She has the blankets, tons of baby clothes, and “Girls Gone Wild” aspirations. What else could she need to be a good mother? Yeah, it’s cool, ’cause she’s got it like that.
Perhaps the most famous segment of the “Maury” show is the paternity tests: women write in to Povich and force their husbands/boyfriends/one-night stands to take the test after said male denies responsibility for the child. Maury tenderly interviews the woman about her struggles and then brings out the “father” in question, even showing side-by-side pictures of the baby and the so-called “baby daddy.” Povich has devoted countless, always entertaining episodes to this theme, but there is one that stands out above all the rest—and no, it’s not the 12-year-old girl testing the 13-year-old boy, or the case of the still-elusive father after testing 17 different men. No, in this clip, now infamous on YouTube, Sabrina declares that she is “not 100, not 200, but 5,000 percent sure” that Andrew is the father of her baby. Obviously, Maury declares that he is not. The crowd goes wild. Andrew breaks out into a smooth moonwalk (on the YouTube version, set to Outkast’s “The Way You Move”). Sabrina drags herself, sobbing, off stage. Maury runs to comfort her. And Andrew? He just keeps on dancing.
Man or woman?
In one of Maury’s more poignant segments, an elaborate runway is constructed for lovely women to parade around while wearing skimpy outfits and evening gowns—with one catch: some are women, and some are actually men. It is the job of the rambunctious audience to decide (via screaming or one-on-one questioning with Povich himself) the gender of the person. It seems simple, but this segment is so addictive because the task is actually quite difficult. Without fail, the most natural, perfect-looking woman is revealed to be a man—and the crowd goes wild! These segments, with titles such as “Hot Spring Bunnies, or Men Dressed as Honeys?” only showcase the elegance and subtlety these women (or “women”) exude as they confidently open up a grill to reveal the word “MAN” spelled out in hot dogs.
Maury is, arguably, too ridiculous to be parodied. The guests, the topics, the audience: They’re all unimaginably more absurd than anything most people can think up. But there is one show that manages to capture the true spirit of the “Maury” show beautifully, and that is “South Park.” In their episode “Freak Strike,” the boys see an episode of the “Maury” show in which a girl with no midsection wins a gift certificate (undoubtedly based on a real episode in which a woman with “no bottom half” brings her children). To win a prize of his own, Cartman goes on the show scantily clad and smothered in makeup as one of the out-of-control kids. His claims escalate: He has unprotected sex, he doesn’t go to school, he kills people, he’s part of 12 gangs that only commit hate crimes, and he was elected congressman and had an affair with an intern and then killed her and buried her body. Whatever—he does what he wants. Then they announce the next guest: a 4-month-old baby who takes off her clothes and is thus deemed out of control and berated by the audience. Maury, are you getting this?