Triad Magazine

A Hillsborough Community College Student Publication since 1978.

Clap on / Clap off

By Samantha Wooten

Television has changed over the years. I remember as a kid I’d plop down on the couch every day at 4 p.m. and watch Rickie Lake’s “ live “ broadcast and complain about how fake I thought it was. The concept of someone having more than one “Baby’s Daddy” perplexed me at such a young age, but as I grew older and realized the promiscuity of our society, I realized that it wasn’t as hokey as I had thought. This Spring Break I had the pleasure of attending a conference in New York City with the chance to participate in various media-related events and even trips to live broadcasts. “The Montel Williams Show” was at my disposal and I took advantage of the opportunity. I had no idea what was in store for me, and I bled with skepticism. Upon arrival, 40 of us students were shuffled through this back entrance of the studio beneath some plastic sheaths suspended from the ceiling. It reminded me of a meat factory; numerous students were herded into what appeared from the outside to be an abandoned building. The inside mirrored the outside with its puke-pink walls and limited seating. By the time we arrived, most of the seats were filled by viewers and we were left to stand. Approximately two hours later, a woman addressed us in the rudest manner, informing us of the rules of being on camera. Who knew your attire couldn’t bare logos? The idea that all candy and gum were to be disposed of at the door was just common courtesy. No one wants to hear bubble-gum popping when Montel is having a heart-warming conversation about MS. Once more we were rounded up and herded into a second room. This is where the actual filming was to take place. The seats were more comfortable, but it was uncomfortably cold at first. Later in the show when the lights were turned up to their highest volume, I realized why. It gets unbearably hot in there. When Montel finally made his appearance, we were offered 15 minutes to ask questions. Before it was time to go, a woman appeared instructing us when to clap and when not to. I had always heard rumors of those applause signs; it turns out there were no signs. Instead, that’s a designated job. The show unfolded exactly like it does on television, with frequent breaks and sweeps of the audience smiling and clapping. Despite the unaccounted hours of my life that I lost waiting for the show to begin, it was an overall success. From the eyes of a couch spectator to the eyes of a live audience guest not too much differs aside from the atmosphere.

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