She shops for menswear. Black pants and dark sweaters, also black, or the grey of hot fresh asphalt. Fleece (“too casual”) is verboten. He is partial to fine cable knit sweaters with zip-necks. She found a black V-neck cardigan and paired it with a glazed grey shirt, which he loved. He is unafraid of turtlenecks. It’s a neutral style of dressing, like a mime’s, or a stagehand who rearranges the props in between the scenes of a play.
He rolls the sleeves up his forearms during tapings. The wardrobe assistant thinks it’s an unconscious gesture. He shows his flesh to his guests to reassure them, somehow. He wears eyeglasses to deliver the results of the paternity and lie detector tests. It adds a certain gravitas, but also– he’s seventy-four years old and he needs them. People forget because he’s so unbelievably spry.
He never knows the results of the tests beforehand. This ensures that his reactions are absolutely fresh. He pauses to savor the moment before he delivers his catchphrase. “You are the father!” or, “You are not the father!”, depending. He affects a southern accent of varying intensities.
The wardrobe assistant would like to see him take more chances with his eyewear. He prefers rimless glasses, with clear arms. She got him into some heavier black Yves Saint Laurent frames. He grimaced and said, “People used to wear glasses like this because they had to,” but put them on for the show.
He wears sensible shoes to mine primordial urges. He’s up and down the whole show to greet people. He has issued an edict against pointy-toed loafers. His black shoes have rubber soles and good support so he can chase the hysterical guests backstage. Man or woman, he cups their cheeks in his palms to cajole them with the Maury Treatment.
Beggin’ by Madcon blasts before he comes out to start taping. It’s always something lively; Sexy and I Know It; Don’t Stop the Party. The audience goes berserk when Maury walks onstage. The guests can hear the music in the green room. They’re so hyped up some of them start pumping their fists.
The shirts and sweaters go straight to the cleaners at the end of the day, because he sweats foundation onto the collars. The pants are usually fine, if someone goes over them with a garment steamer. This is one of the wardrobe assistant’s responsibilities.
Whenever her job comes up at social gatherings, it becomes a big topic of conversation. People can be so judgmental. There’s always someone who rather proudly informs her that the show she works on is trash.