Friday, May 11, 2007

Dr. Phil portrays a real life "Days of our Lives"

Boy, NBC daytime Dr. Phil has some dousies on his show (3 PM EDT) (and the “Dr. Phil House” does sound like an exercise in self-promotion). But the two-day saga of “Jeffrey and Jen” and obsessive love, spanning the continent (from Virginia, to Los Angeles with the hospital Creative Care), ending up with nasty court separation hearings and restraining order (involving the kids), matches any soap opera.

While there is no need to belabor the details (they have been covered on Dr. Phil -- link here -- and local media in Virginia), they do show an important lesson (as do some of the soap operas, like the saga of Shawn, Belle, Philip and baby Claire on NBC / Corday “Days of our Lives”). For some men, the social meaning of the institution of marriage – its permanence, the kids, the idea of vicarious immortality through biological lineage – seems to become what they live for. In extreme cases the results of domestic disputes become downright dangerous. But the institutionalism of marriage (so touted by Maggie Gallagher and others) sets this up. A lot of men feel that one cannot become a man without having the responsibility for – and psychological ownership of – “wife and kids”. That seems to be the question to pop to Dr. Phil and Creative Care (as well as the writers of Days).

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