When you watch old favorites years later, sometimes you realize how much you used to overlook. In Pre-Woke Watching, viewers revisit their personal classics and evaluate how they look now.
Back in the early 2000s, I’d rush home to watch the holy grail of daytime television: Maury. It was the perfect balance between the shamelessness of Jerry Springer and the dubious self-empowerment of Oprah.
My biggest weaknesses were the paternity test narratives. You remember them: a woman with a young child believes a man to be the father of her child. The man denies it. They then confront one another—and we get a definitive answer. It was so satisfying. It was also deeply messed up. As explained in this episode, watching the ritual today, I realize the show is a mirror that reflects our own prejudices back at us.
Previously: Everyone Compares My Life With Lesbian Moms to The Kids Are All Right. I Wish They Wouldn’t.
For more conversations like this, check out the Represent podcast archives.