The Ricki Lake Show: Review


The Ricki Lake Show

21 January 2013, 4pm, Fox

‘Can you review the new ‘Ricki Lake Show’ for me Alastair?’ said the Editor

‘Yes, of course.’ I replied jauntily.

‘Oh dear God, what have you done?!’ I wailed internally as lumps of brain and soul oozed from my ears, down my cheeks and onto the keyboard.

The mere thought of watching Ricki Lake, or any audience based talk shows, fills me with utter and complete dread. They serve no other purpose than to anaesthetise the lowest common denominator and fill the gap in the schedule between breakfast and ‘Bargain Hunt’.

It surprises me they still even exist, having reached their apex and nadir all in one mighty colossus; the mind boggling, circus of the moronic which is the ‘Jerry Spring Show’. However, they continue to be slopped out as they’re cheap and people are stupid.

Ricki Lake herself quit back in 2004 to concentrate on her family and other projects, but the popular host has returned to the genre in a completely fresh and exciting, new…I mean…exactly the same format on the Fox Network.

I have vague memories of Ricki herself, she was brilliant in the original Hair Spray film and a number of interesting movies in the 80’. She was a big girl with a big personality and was always a good watch but then in a move reminiscent from her own show she disappeared for a bit before emerging thin and shiny as a TV talk show host.

There was an element of tabloid tackiness to her programme, with the odd episode devoted to the love lives of the intellectually stunted and character flawed denizens of the nearest trailer park but it didn’t descend anywhere near the levels of the aforementioned Jerry Springer Show and mostly dealt with blander topics such as parenting, weight loss and social issues.

I hoped that it would be one of these, trailer trash based shows and not a caring, sharing, make over type edition. It wasn’t either; it was much, much worse.

The opening credits rolled and Ricki came bounding onto the stage as full of beans and energy as she ever was and announced the following.

“Today we are talking Hormones; headaches, bloating, mood swings and insomnia.”

It was like being thrown headfirst into a vat of sentient Activa yoghurt, dried off with a case of Bodyform, followed by a nice soothing castration and mudpack as an IV pumped pure morphine into my bloodstream.

I tried to follow what they were talking about, I really did. The show did its best to not let me get bored but it was to no avail. As the programme bounced from one hormone based topic to another my mind glazed over…I heard the words but they just did not penetrate.

In addition to the host, there were number of guests, all equally as energetic and high on life as Ricki herself. There was an actress who had written a book about the health benefits of hormones, a doctor who had whittled her education and experience down to “disease can’t hit a moving target, so keep on movingâ€? and a personal trainer man who also said words.

The only good thing about the show is Ricki herself, who remains a talented and charming host who somehow manages to remain unscathed and untouched by the banality around her. There are also a lot of ad breaks, which is nice.