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Most often heard in radio and television interviews. On hearing someone stubbed their toe on a bathroom door, interviewer asks "Really, that must have been terrible, how did you cope with that?" - not sarcasm though.

  • I would use "out of politeness" since I don't feel like the question you gave as the example to be cloying, more like the interviewer was trying to be polite. If you want to describe something more negative, how about just using "cloyingly/overly empathetic/concerned"? – seismatica Jul 14 '14 at 5:48
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This sounds like the 'Sammy Maudlin Show', the 1970's SCTV ongoing sketch satirizing maudlin talk show hosts of that time (The target was clear: Merv Griffin). Maudlin is defined as 'weakly and effusively sentimental' (I translate this as a phony display of emotion.) This was the era, you remember, of the ascendancy of the Vulnerable Male (perhaps incarnated in the form of Allan Alda).

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