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Most popular talk shows papers

What do Jay Leno, David Letterman, and Oprah Winfrey have in common? They are the hosts of the most popular talk shows. I mostly watch David Letterman’s late show on CBS. There is a certain type of pattern in the show, and many other show hosts such as Craig Kilborn and Conan O’Brien are sharing this pattern. Although the Nielsen Media Research shows that the rating for such talk shows is not as high as other TV shows like Friends nowadays, I still want to make an in-depth analysis of talks shows because there is no such talk shows in the country I came from; therefore I think they represent the American culture in a certain way.

The requirements to be a talk show host are the ability of giving a good speech and sense of humor. David Letterman has them both. Hosts need these qualities to conduct the show, to bring enthusiasm and excitement. Can you imagine what would happen if a host has nothing else to say five minutes after the beginning of the show? Dave never has this kind of problem because he is wisely funny, talkative, and mean. He can make his monologue interesting. Dave always starts the show with about five short jokes. Many jokes are about current issues with celebrities. I personally hate people who make fun of the private lives of others, but I also understand that the subject would be attractive. After all, minding other people’s business and private life is the media’s main mission; it’s also part of the American culture. Actually I think it’s true for all cultures around the world. The fact that paparazzi chasing after Princess Diana and reporters hunting Monica Lewinsky says it all.

I don’t know if Letterman comes up with all the materials or someone writes the jokes for him, but one thing I do know is, those jokes are the root of the show; not only do they keep the program running, they also reflect modern American culture.

Time management is significant to a show. It takes skills to tell jokes, interview guests, and have guests perform in one hour. Dave does know how to control the pace of his show. Most of the time everything goes on at the speed of his schedule, so the show looks pretty smooth and the audience feels comfortable and not rushed.

Are interviews and jokes the only two things going on in the show? Certainly not. After his five jokes, three guests show up. The guests are always Mr. or Miss Popularity, such as actors, comedians, sport stars or musicians. Who wants to watch the show if Dave invites a pizza guy or mailman? Eight out of ten times the combination of the guests is one movie star, one singer, and one TV actor. I’ve seen Dan Miller, Demi Moore, David Duchovny, Michael Jordan, and Joan Osborne and many others on the show. Needless to say, it’s full of another type of commercials. The show plays clips of films or TV shows with the guests in, so that they can promote their movies or shows. As long as those famous stars show up, the number of audience members keeps increasing. Thus, Letterman and his guests get full benefits of the show. More and more people watch David Letterman and the actors’ shows or movies, or buy the musicians’ CDs. Eventually, Dave and his guests are the winners; they get all the money in their pockets. Isn’t money a big part of American culture?

The guests’ clothing and hairstyling show the shapes of the American culture as well as the jokes. It seems that the host and guests have some sort of uniform. Dave and most male guests wear suits only. Female guests have more varieties of dresses. It’s a trend to show their beauty by covering only half of their body surfaces. Sexy women have become a vital element of the show. It’s a tradition for women to show their bodies because it’s just a stereotyped female character. Some guests, especially musicians, have their own styles; they wear whatever they think looks good, even if it looks weird to an ordinary person. It’s not unusual to see a bunch of holes on their shirts and pants. Cutting clothes has been a part of American culture since the 60’s.

The guests need not be funny. If they have nothing to say, Dave asks them questions to start a subject. The subject covers almost everything. Dave and the guests talk about people, movies, music, cars, food products, sports, politics, and even toilets. They rarely say anything about environmental problems, education, or economy except at the times when Hilary or the governors of New Jersey and Minnesota went to the show. Sometimes they attack people personally. Once Jay Leno took out a ball, which was shaped in the form of a Spice Girl’s head and he pumped it until it exploded.

If a show were an hour long, the actual length would be forty-five minutes. Applause from the audience, commercials, and the live band take fifteen minutes. After Dave shows up at the stage with his two beautiful assistants, whom they call “interns”, the audiences stand up, scream, whistle, and clap for quite a while. They do the same thing when guests show up. Once George Clooney went to the show, and the audiences did their routine job, but they wouldn’t stop even after Clooney sat down. It seems that super stars take a big portion of the list with the most respectful people for people under 30 years of age.

TV commercials and advertisements in general are also part of the A-culture. The quality varies; “Jim the Hammer” on Central New York’s local network has been the bad commercial my friends and I laugh about, while there are some very good commercials like the ones in Super Bowl. I hope there is a law that regulates how exaggerated a commercial or advertisement can be. An Oakley Sunglasses ad I saw says their sunglasses are bullet proof. If someone shoots me in the eyes and I get blinded or even worse, die, will they be responsible? Another one I saw is a box containing printing paper. On the box it says: “99% jam free.” How could paper be jam free? If there’s a paper jam, the problem is with the printer, not with the paper! If I had the manufacturer’s phone number, I would call and tell them that I put in a hundred pieces of paper and only ninety-eight came out.
Another fact is the racism. White people are invited more often than the others are. It’s a show for whites; it’s unusual to see a black or Asian face on the show. Dave may not be a racist; the problem is with the Hollywood and Americans in general. Although Caucasians are the majority of the population, the number of African and Asian Americans are not small. Among 166 Oscar ex-nominees, only one of them was black. The ratio of black to white people must be much higher than that. Asians have been stereotyped to be kung-fu stars or gangsters. Therefore, the filmmakers prefer Caucasian actors or actresses, which explains why there are not so many non-white famous actors in Hollywood.

The material and language that they use on the show varies from Z to triple x. Sometimes they curse, have some sort of sexual contact, or kiss the same genders. Youngsters are too young for those. If you don’t have kids around, David Letterman is a good show; it can help vaporize the stress, make you laugh, and it reflects pop culture.

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