“What would You Do?” is both addictive and gives me hope for humanity.

I never heard of the ABC TV show “What Would You Do” until last night, when I stumbled upon it on Youtube (I do a lot of random Youtube browsing–there’s gold there). I don’t know if it’s still being aired or not (I don’t have TV), but I started watching one episode and that led to the next, and the next, and the next. I’ve probably watched 30 of them now.

It features actors playing out unusual situations in public places (almost all are filmed at locations in the greater New York metro area), often involving some form of abuse, discrimination, or bullying. The camera follows what happens when bystanders get involved, and they do get involved more often than you’d think, often standing up to the bully or abuser, and defending the underdog or victim. At that point, the host comes out and congratulates them on their charitable or kind actions.  It’s like “Candid Camera” with a conscience.

Here is one episode involving a thin, glamorous (but obviously narcissistic) mother, berating her young daughter for being too fat and not allowing her to eat normal foods, and the kind strangers who come to the girl’s defense.

Here’s another one with a much more abusive mother, who makes the one in the first video look like Mother of the Year. I will warn you that this video could be very triggering. Many of the people walking by are outraged by the verbal abuse.

9 thoughts on ““What would You Do?” is both addictive and gives me hope for humanity.

  1. Yeah I can get sucked into this show too. It’s been awhile though. I tend to binge and then feel the need to just stop. lol.

    I saw one where a couple young guys pretended to spike a girls drink with a drug at a bar, while she was in the rest room. One guy went to the door and blocked it, put something in the big brass bars on the doors to keep it from opening and called the cops.

    Then there was another couple that sat and watched the whole spiking, her drinking, pretending to be woozy and the guys leading her out. The couple watching, did nothing.

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    • I missed that one. It’s kind of hit or miss. Sometimes people don’t step in to help, but it’s a good social psychology experiment because they will set up a situation in a couple of ways to see if people react differently. For example, in one episode a woman was being abused by her boyfriend at a restaurant. When she was dressed modestly, people tried to help. But when they played out the same scenario with her wearing a skimpy dress, people were less likely to help her, believing she somehow “asked for it.”

      In another one, an older woman was in a pharmacy and couldn’t afford to get her meds. A couple of people stepped up and offered to pay for it. But when they did the same scene using a much younger woman, they were less likely to help, believing she somehow had more power over her financial situation.

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  2. I have seen this show as well; it is awesome to see how people come to the rescue of others! An yes it does give me hope that there are still people out there that care!!

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  3. A dose of human kindness sometimes saves a life…. I will watch this. Years ago the people in front of me in a McDonalds drive through paid for my meal anonymously. When I got to the window the clerk happily informed me “no charge, your meal is paid for”. The people in front of you want to wish you a merry Christmas. I was stunned. At that moment, I had a job and could afford to pay for it, but the absolutely priceless thing about their random gift to a stranger was its impact on my view of the human race. I literally went home, laid on my floor and wept. At the time, I was enduring a narcissistic supervisor that was making my work life a living hell. I was working in mental health administration at that time at the state level which meant I was privy to a lot of dirt that the public didn’t know about mental health.

    My idealism if I had any was completely shattered in that position. I’d endured another round of being uninvited for the holidays with my N family, this time not because I was “too poor” to be included but because “your sister doesn’t want you to be here”. The car in front of me could not have imagined that for years I hugged that memory in my desolate life, as proof that people could be kind. I paid it forward a few times after that too.

    Lastly. The sad thing about intervening with those abusive mothers is that people might think abusers are obvious. Those N’s that are saints in public, the sweetest ever mother and then destroy their child in private put duct tape over their victims mouth. No one understands why a child is rebellious or acting out when their mother is so very very sweet, or religiously pious.

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    • I had that happen to me a few years ago. I was in the midst of living with my abusive N ex, gaslighted and my confidence beaten down, and always broke because he bled me dry financially and every other way. I didn’t have enough for groceries and when they ran my card through, it said I had insufficient funds. A woman standing behind me paid for everything. Like you, I went home and cried in gratitude.

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