Now that the Oprah Winfrey Show is good and over (and after that weirdly preachy final interview with herself, I’m thinking not a moment too soon), many of us who find ourselves at home in the afternoon are asking, “What the heck am I going to watch at 4 p.m.” (or whenever Oprah plays in your local market)? In the final days leading up to the Opracalypse, it was announced that her one-time in-house medical expert, Dr. Mehmet Oz, would be taking over her time slot in many major markets with his already in-session Dr. Oz Show. While many people have their issues with Oprah, the switch from her version of positive spirituality to Dr. Oz’s health advice is not good news for their shared largely female audience.
As someone who works/cares for her children from home, I have, on more occasions than I’m willing to admit, been bored enough to sit through Dr. Oz’s show. Although Dr. Oz is a cardiologist by trade, he’s built his celebrity on scaring/charming women into making health care decisions based on the word of a doctor who has never actually examined them. I’m no doctor myself, but here’s a run down of the red flags that have popped up during my time watching the Dr. Oz Show.
1. Do you have an ache or pain? It’s probably CANCER!
I will not deny that cancer is a horrible disease that has affected many people. I will also not deny that early detection can save lives. What does not save lives, however, is telling people at the top of the show that a small and common symptom is probably cancer, so that they’ll stick around for the entire show and self-diagnose. Knowing the symptoms of various cancers is important and seeing your doctor regularly is important, too. But running to the doctor every time you have indigestion or some muscle pain is not only stressful on patients and doctors, but also cost prohibitive for most people. So what you end up with is a bunch of worried housewives thinking they have cancer, but not being able to get it checked out. Thanks, Dr. Oz!
2. Weight is the most important indicator of health.
Dr. Oz does tend to do the full rundown on the overweight patients that he features, testing for blood pressure problems and diabetes, but in his mind, weight is all-important. He talks about weight a lot and not just in relation to exceptionally at-risk patients. For Oz, weight is the thing, which brings us to…
3. Supplements and super-foods.
Maybe I’m out to lunch, but every doctor I’ve seen has told me it’s better to have a healthy and balanced diet than to rely on a bunch of crazy supplements. Dr. Oz’s advice? Eat a bunch of wacky and expensive supplements and super-foods rather than trying to balance your fruits and veggies with your carbs and meats. Not because they’re necessarily healthy, but because they will help you to lose weight. Do you like to sometimes eat bread rather than acai berries? Too bad, sister, you’re going to end up fat and dead at an early age.
4. Pawing and Kissing Audience Members.
I will admit that Mehmet Oz is not a wholly unattractive fellow. But somehow he thinks that his fans’ affection towards him gives him license to turn into the Richard Dawson of the medical show circuit. He calls women out from the audience, gives them a creepy smooch on the cheek (or sometimes the lips), asks them about their hemorrhoids and then shamelessly flirts with them as he forces them to dress up like a piece of poop and demonstrate the havoc feces wreaks as it exits the anus. Say what you will about Oprah, but she provided her audiences with a sexually neutral, safe space and never made anyone dress up like a turd.
Dr. Oz is not the new Oprah. He’s not even the new Dr. Phil. Vote with your remote controls (as I obviously have not) and for the love of Pete, go visit a real doctor rather than taking the advice of a doctor who is playing celebrity on the TV.