Phony TV Therapy Hits a New Low

04/23/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

I'm disgusted. And I don't get disgusted easily.

You'd think the plethora of easy-answer therapists who flood the television and radio airwaves would anesthetize one's dismay of the field of pseudo-psychology. Sure, no one expects real analysis from these jokers. The typical advice is the equivalent to the insight of a fortune cookie or a bumper sticker. It goes hand in hand with the viewing audience's short attention span where the thinking is essentially: " I don't care how you do it....just entertain me for five minutes."

You can't blame the producers. They know the score. It fills airtime. It works well enough. And it's cheap. It also provides just the right balance of sensationalism, voyeurism and entertaining exploitation -- long enough, at least, to hold your attention until the commercial. I get it. And I usually ignore it.

Nevertheless, while on vacation and stuck in the hotel on a rainy day, I started flipping though the channels of afternoon TV and saw what may be the most egregious example of irresponsible, and dare I say hateful programming I've witnessed in some time. It was the Tyra Banks Show and she had on Steve Ward from some VH1 program called Tough Love. He was there to offer relationship advice to Tyra's guests --supposedly. Ward is billed as one of these no-nonsense characters whose blunt advice gets to the heart of the matter quickly. That type of thing actually appeals to me. But that was not the case here.

It was obvious within five seconds this guy wasn't a licensed therapist. But why should that matter? He's on TV! He calls himself a "professional." He must be an expert. This clown so was obviously faking some psycho-drivel, all the time chomping at the bit to go into his schtick -- which wasn't "tell it like it is straight talk" that one might expect from a "tough love" expert. Instead, it was merely abusive.

Steve Ward is nothing but a bully who's been given carte blanche to humiliate and mortify the people he confronts, under the guise of "setting them straight." But this went beyond ridicule and bordered on sadism. And shame on Tyra Banks and the entire staff of that show for allowing it.

In one segment there was a beautiful young girl who was obviously in pain over the breakup of her boyfriend. One habit she maintained after the split was to take pictures of pizza, because her boyfriend loved pizza and always wanted to try a new place. It was sweet, and it was sad. And maybe it wasn't the healthiest thing to do, but what followed turned my stomach.

Ward approached her and said something to the effect of " I'm going to make you into a pizza! And in that way you'll never think about it again!" He then went about smearing tomato sauce on her, sticking pepperoni slices onto her face and then pouring grated cheese into her hair. It looked as if the poor girl wanted to cry but she struggled to be a good sport. During this entire debasing debacle I wished that there were a man in the audience who would step up on stage and say, "Stop! "

This jackass Ward went on to destroy someone's computer for emailing his ex, and smeared dog excrement on an article of clothing that a woman saved from a previous relationship.

That's quality television for ya!

Many in the audience howled with delight, yet some just let out nervous giggles, while others (whom the camera quickly panned away from) were understandably not amused. Tyra Banks went along with it -- after all, he's the expert and the show must go on! Another nitwit.

I don't hold high standards for TV, and I hold hardly any at all for shows like this. But people like Steve Ward need to be called out for who and what they are. So often there is outrage at the likes of Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh because of their outlandish comments. But this....this is true violation. It's physical abuse. It's vandalism. It's cruelty. I don't know what's worse -- calling it entertainment or pretending it's some sort of "help."

Steve Ward is a disgrace and a coward and he must be stopped. If this were to occur anywhere else but on TV, he'd be arrested. And should. But I'm afraid that won't happen, as long as he's booked.