You cannot help but love Louis Theroux. His excruciatingly awkward interviewing style is so good to watch. He relies on his British-ness to get away with the confrontational direct questions that he asks. It’s why it only works when he interviews Americans, because rather than make them defensive they seem to think of it as a cultural ignorance.
Last night he interviewed serial sex offenders in LA. One guy was a repeat flasher that liked to expose himself to older, motherly women. He has been in prison for most of his adult life because of the compulsion.
Upon cross-exam by Louis, he asks him if he is aroused when he does it; is your penis erect? The guy sort of falters then says well yes, or starting to be. Then Louis says, can you explain why? And he goes into an explanation of being seen of feeling human, or feeling connection. He says the women also enjoy the connection and aren’t scared or shocked.
So Louis suggests he do it now, on camera. The guy looks at him like he’s nuts. But you like to be seen, says Louis-the-ingenue, this is your chance for massive public exposure, won’t this be the ultimate?
The guy furrows his brow and says, but you lot are guys. Yeah, says Louis? Is that a problem. We can connect to you. What’s the problem? How do you think we will feel? Shocked! the guy retorts, and awkward! Why are our reactions different from the women he asks? And they are alone when t happens. Won’t they also feel shocked and afraid? Still genuinely innocent eyes.
The guy just stands silently. I see what you are saying he says. He nods to himself. Yeah, I see your point.
Notwithstanding that it was excellent interviewing by Louis, the way he manoeuvred the conversation, it was also very insightful. After years of being in and out of prison, no one seems to have been able to make this point to that guy. Why not? Are the counsellors and psychiatrists not confrontational enough.
There are some characters that can cut through the bullshit and call it as it is. Louis is one of them. I suppose the person has to be ready to hear it. But Louis pushes them there maybe when they are ready, but in denial. He’s a top bloke and it’s a great show. He is definitely on my list of ultimate dinner-party invitees.