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File:Maury 5010.jpg


"Maury, I am [insert huge number here] sure that he is the father of my baby!"
Almost every mother seeking paternity on the show from a deadbeat dad.
"You ARE/are NOT the father!"
Maury Povich

Originally titled The Maury Povich Show, Maury is a day time talk show where Maury Povich talks with several guests that have various problems and issues, such as finding people they haven't seen in years, medical conditions, etc. As the show gained popularity and ran longer, it went for more "trash" topics, such as cheating spouses. The most common element used in the show is paternity tests, sometimes taken to the extreme if a single man is accused of making multiple kids from different women, or when a single woman brings multiple men on the show (sometimes over the span of several episodes) to find her baby's father. The men always say, "That baby don't look nothing like me!"

Other common episodes are: rowdy, out of control teen girls who disrespect and abuse their mothers and/or siblings (they always say "You don't know me!" when confronted about said wild behavior); lie detector tests; men who treat their women like slaves; and crazy footage caught on tape (cheaters caught in the act, insane accidents, etc.). While not shown very often, there have been many episodes of mothers with extremely obese toddlers and young kids (usually ranging from ages 3-7) and their mothers who always are either clueless as to why their child keeps getting fatter; who know they're giving their kids too much junk, but don't know what to do; or ones that firmly believe making their child dangerously fat makes their kid special and beautiful.

Around certain holidays, such as Valentine's Day or Christmas, the show will celebrate those holidays by having either a group of people dressed as women (but some are men or vice versa, so the guests have to figure out who is who) or have Jack Hanna bring in a bunch of exotic animals (who almost always pee onstage) to entertain the children in the audience. Other times the show will have a "Maury's Talented Kids" episode where really cute kids sing, dance, etc., sometimes for cash prizes or family vacations.

You can also play the drinking game (at your own risk).


You ARE the father, and a user of these Tropes:

  • Artistic License - Biology: Apparently the guests on the DNA shows don't know or don't care to know how conception and genetics work. Including, but not limited to:
    • The man who said "That (girl) can't be my baby because I only make boys".
    • The man who claimed that he wasn't the father because the baby had six fingers.
    • Another who insisted that a baby wasn't his 'because the baby did not have six fingers.[1]
    • One who somehow thought that when a woman who thought she couldn't have children had a baby anyway, this meant it couldn't be his because she was supposed to be infertile, but yet another man could get her pregnant.
    • "That baby can't be my baby because s/he has blue eyes!" Permanent eye color (regardless of race) is usually not determined until a child is somewhere between 12-18 months. Cue stupid look on the guy's face when he's told that he IS the father!
    • One particular (Hispanic) potential father claimed that the baby couldn't be his because it didn't come out speaking Spanish. He later altered his statement to "it didn't cry with an accent". While recently conducted studies have determined that babies cry with accents similar to their parents' accent, this is learned behavior, so the guy is still an idiot and he was the father.
    • A rare case of mother-stupidity on this show which doesn't involve her promiscuity, or at least not directly — the potential father denied being the father because the baby was clearly racially mixed, and both the mother and he were white. The mother's response? "Skin color's got nothin' to do with nothin'", to which the crowd cheered! Needless to say, he was not the father. For some reason, the mother actually got furious and went after the guy, and when asked why she said something along the lines of "Because he's a (bleep bleep bleep)!", making her look even worse. [2]
      • The exact opposite happened in another episode. A white couple had a baby who was obviously half-black, but the husband was unaware of his wife's affair and was totally convinced the baby was his.
    • Sometimes there's a mother who just had the baby about two weeks prior to the show, and the father is right away saying that it doesn't look like him. Newborns don't look like either parent for the first few weeks or months — they all kind of look the same. And most of the time, it turns out these men are the fathers.[3]
    • The father's right-handed. The mother's right-handed. The child's left-handed. Ergo, the kid's not his because two right-handed people can't have a left-handed child!
    • One guest stated that he couldn't be the father because he only had one testicle. He ended up being the father.
    • Many, MANY men who claim they can't be the father because, "we only had sex ONE TIME!".
  • Better to Die Than Be Killed: Some people will not submit to lie detector tests but instead will confess up to three "secrets" to their spouse. One of them is usually a body count.
  • Blatant Lies: Especially when an obvious cheater is called out by a lie detector test, and they keep insisting they're innocent.
  • Daddy DNA Test
  • Did Not Do the Research: Polygraph tests are notoriously unreliable (or did they do the research but just don't care?).
    • Sporadically, Ralph Barbieri, the lie detector test administrator, will actually back up the test results (i.e., "When we asked you [question], I noticed/you were doing [typical lying/nervous gesture].") when a guest starts denying the results.
    • Or what about when he tells the guest that the lie detector indicated he/she slept with [x] number of people [x] number of times? (the assumption is that the tester asked "Did you do it once?", "Twice?", "Three times?" etc. and stopped when it seemed like he wasn't lying {or maybe after 10 tries maximum}).
    • Recently, someone tried to challenge the result of the lie-detector test by stating that Barbieri "cheated" when he administered it. Barbieri charged the stage.
      • Given that polygraph test administrators are known to ask questions after the machine's turned off...
    • At least once, someone accused the results of being fixed because their accuser slept with the examiner to get the desired results.
  • Double Standard: The show will occasionally leave out some details about a guest during an update episode in order to make them look better. One notable example is Ricktoria. During her first two appearance on the show, she found out that her boyfriend Clinton was not only cheating on her with her mom, but was trying to get her pregnant. On her third appearance, Ricktoria revealed that cheated on Clinton with his best friend Juan. She then revealed to both of them that she lied about being pregnant. Ricktoria's third appearance is usually not mentioned in updates about her.
  • Fridge Horror: One can only hope the children of the paternity show guests never see the episode(s) featuring their parents, especially in the case of promiscuous mothers.
  • Genre Blindness: You'd think the people who are brought out to be ambushed with big secrets would guess ahead of time what was about to happen. This is particularly egregious on "cheating man" shows, when they put a suspected cheater in the green room with a sexy decoy to see if he makes a move. Naturally, the guy always takes the bait; if he'd ever seen the show, he'd know there was a camera taping his every move.
    • One Genre Savvy man subverted this when he proposed to his girlfriend, holding up a board with "Will You Marry Me?" on it towards the camera.
    • Some men caught cheating with the sexy decoy claim that they're "only playing along" because doing that is "expected" of them when they come on the show. Nobody (especially Maury) really buys it.
      • When one man was shown the decoy footage, he insisted that it wasn't him! While the tape is blurry, Dave Vitali, the guy who administers the decoy test and observed the entire thing, was sitting right there in the audience!
  • Guilty Pleasure: The guiltiest.
  • Heroic BSOD: Maybe not always heroic, but some examples...
    1. A mother finds out the man she thought was her baby daddy isn't the father after all. This is usually accompanied by her running backstage in hysterics.
    2. A mother with two potential baby daddies finds out the man she wants to be the father isn't (and vice versa).
    3. A man finds out he is indeed a father when he clearly doesn't want to be.
    4. A man finds out he is not the father when he wanted to be (this tends to be genuinely heartbreaking).
    5. An accuser, when a lie detector test determines that their partner is unfaithful.
    6. A mother with two potential baby daddies finds out that neither guy is the father.
    7. The lie detector exonerates the accused...but also finds the accuser guilty of what they were trying to pin on the other.
  • Happy Dance: Some people get very excited when they learn they ARE / are NOT the father!
  • Hypno Fool: Some episodes are stage shows.
  • Inspirationally Disadvantaged: South Park called out Maury for the possibly exploitative nature of this in the episode "Freak Strike".
  • Lie Detector: Which is always deemed accurate, no matter how implausible this actually is.
  • Long Runner: Maury is the only true competitor of Jerry Springer still on the air (The Steve Wilkos Show doesn't count, since it's a more serious spin-off of Springer).
    • All three are owned by NBC Universal and have their studios in Stamford, Conn. Most stations air all three shows, so they're more like "compatible" shows than "competing."
  • Anakin, you ARE the father!
  • Rashomon Style: The stories of the man and woman always contradict each other, although in a lot of cases it's obvious that the man is lying to make himself look better (such as saying that the woman is promiscuous).
    • Sometimes too the woman is just way too upset to accept anything the man says, even when he's proven not to have done anything seriously wrong.
  • The Reveal
  • Rule of Three: Whenever a cheating man or woman confesses their secrets to their significant other, the secrets always amount to three and no more. Sometimes, the secrets are two instead of three.
  • Schmuck Bait: Maury employs a "Sexy Decoy", an attractive blonde who claims to be another guest who hits on men suspected of cheating in the green room. It's shocking how much this always works.
    • Some women on the show have actually gone so far as to name their son after a potential father. Flip a coin, and there's a good chance that Potential Father, Jr, is NOT actually Potential Father's son.
  • Serial Escalation: Occasionally a woman will make repeat appearances, dragging several men along each time. There was one woman who had near 30 men tested, and double digits isn't uncommon. Either these women are bringing in men that they want to be the father (namely well-off men they're hoping to get a false positive from to extort money out of), or they seem to think that you can conceive by drinking out of the same cup. Or else she's just... but let's not go there.
  • She's All Grown Up: Another frequent show topic is women who were nerds growing up but have evolved into beautiful young women, often with the help of breast implants and other cosmetic surgery. And if their stage antics are to be believed, we have every reason to think they now work as strippers. Men are sometimes featured on this type of show, and as expected, they're always muscle-bound beefcakes.
  • The Tell: On a cheating show, if a guy says "After today, she has got to change [and stop accusing me]", there's at least an 80% chance he's cheating.
  • This Trope Is Bleep: The show is randomly sprinkled with bleeps, even during (seemingly) silent moments. It gets especially annoying when Maury is trying to say something and one of the other people curses, creating a weird second of silence which throws everything off.
    • Considering the audience, it's likely that someone in the crowd dropped an "F" bomb, and they have to cover it, which can make the show sound like it's being preempted by an emergency SOS.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: Almost all the clips shown on what happens next before the commercial break always spoil (mostly with the lie detector/paternity test episodes) due to showing the guests' reaction to the results without actually showing the viewer the results.
    • Some episodes subvert this Trope by showing an unrelated clip of the audience acting like the test said someone was not the father, when it was actually the opposite.
    • Yet another episode had a cheating mother (an affair kept secret for 22 years!) with a daughter whose father might not actually be her father. The trailer that came before the DNA test showed the man saying "I never want to see you again"...but the DNA test revealed that the man was the father, and when he talked to the mother he said "I was thinking 'I never want to see you again', but I decided to be there for our daughter, even if she isn't mine." A classic bait-and-switch.
  • The Unfair Sex: Cheating men are always treated as Complete Monsters, while cheating women are treated as Wounded Gazelles.
    • A woman can bring on upwards of a dozen men for paternity tests. The men, who have every right to be doubtful they're the father at this point, are always booed off the stage when they say this (although they aren't really doing themselves any favors by making a loud, obnoxious scene).
      • Oh, it gets worse; men who say that they'll take responsibility for their children, but simply want to know the child is theirs, are booed, jeered, and catcalled. Men who refuse to take any responsibility no matter what are cheered and clapped for.
      • That's rather Unfortunate Implications than this trope. Either that or Double Standard.
  • You Look Familiar: Frequent fliers galore, especially for paternity tests. One woman, Shalonda, tested 18 men trying to find the father of one child (among whom were a smiling Token White and her cousin). She never found the father.
    • She later married another man, but revealed she cheated on him and a child she had with him might not be his. Fortunately, it turned out he was the father.

Notes

  1. He was actually right about this.
  2. ("Nothing to do with nothing" is a double negative and cancels itself out; by saying that, she admitted skin color had everything to do with it, which it did.)
  3. One guest was actually right about this. However, he still stayed with his girlfriend after finding out he was right.
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