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.
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).