Samantha Bee pulled exactly no punches during Wednesday’s TBS takedown of the troubled-teen industry. Dr. Phil — and “Dr. Phil” — were among those who got decked.
“Each year, some 50,000 kids in the U.S. are sent into residential treatment programs — boarding schools, tough-love wilderness programs and boot camps — often against their will,” Bee said on last night’s “Full Frontal.” “Kids are sent to these programs by their parents and, strangely, daytime TV.”
Roll the “Dr. Phil” montage, after which Bee immediately made fun of Phil McGraw’s apparent need to make every phrase “folksy.”
“We get it, you’re just a regular guy who’s not at all qualified to be a doctor,” she said, dubbing McGraw “Hometown Buffet Krampus.”
The former “Daily Show” correspondent then turned her ire away from talk shows and onto the actual facilities.
“Those facilities aren’t using ‘tough love’ to help teens grow,” she said. “Those are businesses that are abusing children to make a profit.”
Bee then used words like “horrifying” and “appalling” to describe certain “treatment” centers. (That third set of quotation marks are ours.)
“Many facilities are ill-equipped to care for children at all, let alone provide the psychological support needed to help children with mental health needs,” Bee said. “In fact, many of these programs don’t employ licensed staff or supervising physicians, so not only are some kids sent there by Dr. Phil, they have to be treated by Dr. Phils.”
That led to a pretty horrifying (doctored) staff photo of “doctors.”
“Every kid deserves to be cared for, feel safe, and to never, ever go on TV with Dr. Phil,” Bee concluded the segment.
Watch the video above. There was a really great “Animaniacs” joke in there too, and a very good “Big Love” reference as well.
In October, a woman who appeared on the “Dr. Phil” show as a teen in 2019 sued McGraw and his talk show’s parent company, ViacomCBS, for negligence, claiming she was sexually assaulted at a Utah treatment center that McGraw recommended to her parents.
Jerry Sharell, a spokesman for McGraw and the “Dr. Phil” show, said in a statement to TheWrap at the time: “After Hannah Archuleta’s appearance on ‘Dr. Phil’ in 2019, her parents chose to seek treatment at Turn-About Ranch. None of the defendants in this case had anything to do with her program at that facility, as documents signed by the Archuletas reflect. We understand that she subsequently sued Turn-About Ranch but that case was dismissed and recently refiled. This case will be vigorously contested.”