Why TV Paternity Test Results Are Not Really Entertaining

The Maury Povich Show which aired from 1991-1998 as a Paramount production adopted the title Maury in the 1995-1996 season. From 1998 to the present, it is produced by NBC Universal.

The audience applauds when Maury Povich on the Maury1television show reads the results of the DNA test:

  • “You are the Father” or
  • “You are not the father.”

It would be interesting to know what they are applauding.

Time Out:  should that really be entertaining?
Time Out: should that really be entertaining? | Source
  • Are they happy that the mother is not being punished for her irresponsible actions?
  • Are they glad that the man was “caught” by the paternity test results and sentenced to his role as father?
  • Or, is the applause nothing more than the usual response to something entertaining?

Whatever the reason, it appears that sensitivity to the moral implications of the situation is lacking. A child is born to irresponsible parents, facing the possibilities of never bonding with a biological father, being deprived of basic provision, living indefinitely without a sense of belonging. How could this be really entertaining?

Judge Lauren Lake of Paternity Court
Judge Lauren Lake of Paternity Court | Source

Paternity Court is produced by 79th & York Entertainment and distributed by Orion TV Productions (Orion Television), a division of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc.

The New Paternity Court

The applause on Paternity Court,2 which premiered on television on September 23, 2013 becomes less and less entertaining as the court proceeds. Still, those looking for a laugh can find it.

When Judge Lauren Lake reads the paternity test results, she has already scolded the promiscuous mother or the negligent father for his or her callous behavior. The offender may even show some remorse.

Judge Lauren Lake is also a relationship expert.3 She earned her law degree at Wayne State University, Michigan with family law being an area of concentration. She is able to read the emotions underneath the sometimes tearful, sometimes wrathful countenance of the man or woman; and she interrupts the court atmosphere to show compassion or to diffuse anger. She demands respect for herself and for the court; she also insists that the accusers respect each other.

Her court also deals with adult children in their twenties and thirties who never knew, or have doubts about their fathers. These young adults are no longer ignorant of their parents’ foolish behavior. They experience shame, neglect and low self-worth. They are the sure proof that paternity tests results are not really entertaining.

Four Examples of "Paternity Court" Cases
A little girl grows into a young adult woman, carrying the supposed father’s name on her birth certificate, only to have the man demand paternity testing based on a doubt he had all along.
Grandparents, aunts and uncles are forced to give up years of relationship they formed with a child who is now an adult, because a previously dishonest mother is ready to tell the truth.
An adult child craves acceptance by a father, but after several DNA tests, the mother still has not named all the possible fathers.
A nine year old boy hears rumors that the man raising him is not his father; his mother does not want her mother to know the truth. Twenty years pass before the truth becomes known.

Definitely Not Entertaining

"So many people are missing a couple pieces of the puzzle,” Judge Lauren Lake says concerning these adult children. “It holds them back in life. . . People face some of their darkest fears and shame.”4

Her job is more than reading DNA results. She goes further to help build relationships after the paternity dispute is settled.

The judge makes the point that thirty years ago, women who had children out of wedlock were encouraged to be discreetly silent as opposed to involving the media to help establish paternity.

One wonders whether the introduction of DNA testing in the late 1970s and 1980s,5 plus the availability of these television shows, have created family problems where there might have been none. Or would there have been problems, without an audience to find them entertaining?


How Television Viewers Should Respond

Millions watch the social mess created by irresponsible men and women. They see how careless and insensitive society has become. They witness the beauty of healthy relationships and our basic responsibility to the children being trampled upon.

Our sense of responsibility can help us and our families restore and promote respect and decency in our households.

  • Nurture Wholesome Thoughts

First, make it a habit to feed our minds daily with thoughts about the kind of life the Life Giver intended for us to live. Encourage this in our household. Engage in spiritual exercises, read inspirational material and watch wholesome shows. This will decrease and may even destroy the appetite for these kinds of shows.

  • Practice Self-Control

Resist the temptation to watch these shows every day. Deliberately plan an alternative schedule. Those who live alone may find it more difficult, but be willing to practice self-control.

  • Find Teaching Opportunities

If there are teenagers in the house who insist on watching, watch with them sometimes. Point out actions which are wrong, and discuss what the right actions should be. Take advantage of the teaching opportunities presented by these shows.

  • Support Values and Virtues in the Children

More importantly, affirm the children, teens and young adults when they ask for guidance in their relationships, and when they exercise good judgment. Hold up the values and virtues of purpose and self-worth. Express confidence that they will do the right thing, and pledge support for them.

  • Practice Compassion

If we ever cross paths with victims of irresponsible parenting and they still need help, it is our duty to practice compassion and do whatever we can to enhance their lives.

  • Finally

We need to stop laughing at the foolish immorality displayed on our television screens. Wisdom dictates that we think about the children for whom the paternity tests are being done. They are often denied their right to loving, responsible parents and homes. We cannot afford to find their dilemma entertaining.


1. Maury: Maury's Team - Maury Povich, Host (visited March 18, 2014)

2. Winston, Oretha: Elev8, Move Over Maury . . .Here's Paternity Court (July 23, 2013)

3. Paternity Court: Lauren Lake (visited March 18, 2014)

4. Ho, Rodney: Access Atlanta, Radio and TV Talk, New 'Paternity Court' judge Lauren Lake has Atlanta Ties (October 3, 2013)

5. DNA Dignostics Center: The History of DNA Testing (visited March 18, 2014)

© 2014 Dora Isaac Weithers

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Comments 38 comments

Jackie Lynnley profile image

Jackie Lynnley 2 years ago from The Beautiful South

Oh I know I would watch those now and then and they were so sad; heartbreaking sometimes! I just stopped watching. We should never support shows like that (by watching) I agree. ^

billybuc profile image

billybuc 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

Dora, I will never understand why people find shows like these so interesting. Are their lives so empty that they have to live vicariously through the trials of others? This stuff really bothers me, and it is further proof for me that I never need to own a television. :)

MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Jackie, you are better off not watching. Thank you for sharing.

MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Bill, empty lives may be a good explanation. Better not to watch, and not be bothered. Thanks for your input.

FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

Oh, Dora, I could not agree with you more! These shows put the most basic sense of identity into the spotlight and pooh and aahh over mistakes but there are human beings at the center. Everyone is a loser on these shows, no matter what the genetic tests show. Where is our empathy?

Faith Reaper profile image

Faith Reaper 2 years ago from southern USA

Amen on this one here, MsDora! I do not understand the mentality of those who produce such programming and then those who are wanting to cheer on, but for whom are they cheering indeed! My goodness, this is so wrong on many levels, I agree. It does bother me to no end that people will go on television because they are paid to do so and never thinking of what they are really doing to the child.

Thank you for standing up for what is right and against what is just wrong!

Up and more and sharing

God bless you,

Faith Reaper

word55 profile image

word55 2 years ago from Chicago

MsDora, That was well said. People humiliate each other while others find it entertaining. It's more deplorable for the victims. Such programs are disgraceful to watch. How can such drama be entertaining? Thank you for presenting this article. Thanks to Jackie for sharing it too.

MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Flourish, "there are human beings at the center." Thank you for putting the spotlight on that.

MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Faith, thank you for standing with me. The more of us, the better our chances of making an imapct.

MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Word, I always appreciate your input. Thank you for your support.

Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 2 years ago from Shelton

wow MSdora I am entertained by the dim-wits, half-wits.. yeah so I am in the minority?

sujaya venkatesh profile image

sujaya venkatesh 2 years ago

good reflection do

MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Frank, you may be entertained by the dim-wits, but I believe that you see beyond the laughter to the plight of the children. My aim is to focus on them; they are still victims when the entertainment is over. Thank you for the opportunity to say/write that.

MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Sujaya, thank you for your input. "Reflection" is a good word.

DDE profile image

DDE 2 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

An interesting insight to this hub title and I have learned from you. I don't watch such entertainment.

MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Good for you, DDE. I hope that some who watch, also learn from the article. Thank you for commenting.

Eiddwen profile image

Eiddwen 2 years ago from Wales

A wonderful hub Ms Dora; thanks for sharing and voted up, across and shared.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Eiddwen, thanks for the feedback and the votes. I appreciate you.

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sheilamyers 2 years ago

I agree that such cases shouldn't be shown on television. The one time I watched, I wondered why people would voluntarily air those kinds of problems on TV. Of course, the same could be said for many talk show topics. I'd like to ask them why, if they don't want anyone to know their "dirty little secrets", they choose to go on television in the first place. There wouldn't be shows like that if everyone opted to go to a regular, non-televised court.

MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Sheila, I think they avoid court costs on these shows and another reason is that some people want recognition no matter how they get it. The whole society is dysfunctional. We don't have to participate. Thanks for your feedback.

L.M. Hosler profile image

L.M. Hosler 2 years ago

I rarely watch television anymore and this type of show is one of the reasons. But there are some people who have so little respect for themselves that they will go on these shows mainly for the attention they will receive. Personally, I really do not care to see or hear these people & the language they use.

parrster profile image

parrster 2 years ago from Oz

Don't have a TV, so don't know much of this, but I still managed to glean some wisdom from this article. voted up.

MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

LM, thnks for your input. I agree with you concerning the lack of self-respect. That's even more the reason that my heart goes out to the children. Look who's rising them?

MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Parrster, it encourages me that you gain some wisdom alongside the information. Thank you.

Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia

Good hub MsDora. Fortunately we don't get these shows here(unless they are on Pay TV which I don't have) and I wouldn"t waste my time watching it anyway. To me reality shows like Big Brother etc are a waste of waking hours. Things like paternity tests shouldn't be allowed to be used as entertainment.

rajan jolly profile image

rajan jolly 2 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

I watched the Maury show while in the US way back in 1998 and I sure was not entertained. It sure was painful for the children and the women involved and for me too as a viewer. Not entertaining by any standard.

Good hub.

MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Jodah, you are fortunate, indeed. Thanks for your feedback.

MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Rajan Jolly, perhaps those who are entertained are those who are blind to the pain the children will have to endure. Thanks for your input.

epbooks profile image

epbooks 2 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

You brought up some great points. Every once in a short while I get a chance to watch these shows and I can't help but shake my head. First, why would someone publicize their business like this and yes, you are so right- why are people applauding?

MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

EP, thanks for your input. You're right. Shaking your head is way much more appropriate than applauding.

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Phoebe Pike 2 years ago

I've always felt a little broken while watching those shows about DNA testing. All of them are heartbreaking but there was one show that really made me cry. Two men wanted to be the father to the boy really badly and the baby was just a year old. The woman had been married to the first, then divorced and got together with the other man... then she learned she was pregnant. They both wanted to be a father so badly and she said both of them had been excellent providers and loving fathers to her baby so she would have been fine with either being the biological dad. It was a horrible show to watch... no matter what happened someone was going to lose something they truly deserved.

MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Phoebe, usually none wants to be the father, so having two men wanting to be is really touching. Wish the women would be more careful!

profile image

Phoebe Pike 2 years ago

MsDora- It does take two to make a baby... all parties involved should have been careful.

MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Phoebe, I agree with you.

profile image

Phoebe Pike 2 years ago

Each child is a miracle and should be treated as such.

MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Phoebe, this is also true. I appreciate your input.

joedolphin88 profile image

joedolphin88 2 years ago from north miami FL

You're coming from a very strong and progressive place but I think many of us are guilty of indulging in day time mind numbing tv and laughing a little. I think we are all just a little stupid when it comes to tv and sometimes we are entertained by the plight of others. It's sad but true.

MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Couldn't say it any better. "Sad but true." The mind numbing is serious. Thanks for your input.

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