Friday, June 22, 2018

No more cries of “Jerry Jerry” echoing from our TV screens (except in reruns)

Perhaps it’s the ultimate evidence of just how clueless and unaware of pop culture trivia I can be, but I honestly didn’t have a clue that Jerry Springer’s television program was still in production.

SPRINGER: Rides off into sunset of retirement
At least not until I read the news reports indicating that the production company that puts the show together is no longer going to do new episodes.

FOR THE RECORD, the show that once was a national sensation/embarrassment that was produced from our very own NBC studios in Chicago lasted some 27 years – and there are in excess of some 4,000 episodes in existence.

It hasn’t been produced in Chicago since 2009, and to tell you the truth, I guess I thought the show went off the air sometime shortly thereafter.

Not that I cared much. I never paid much attention to it when it was in Chicago, and wasn’t about to continue to follow something I never gave much thought to in the first place.

Which, if anything, is the American Way of doing things.

IF I FIND something too stupid to spend time with, I choose to ignore it. I certainly don’t go about trying to get it shut down or censored. If enough people were to take that attitude, the ratings would plummet to the point where the tacky TV would just go away.

The type of activity the 'Springer show' gave us … 
Or at the very least, shift over in reruns to those many countless cable TV stations that fill their airtime with all those long-forgotten programs from decades past.

Which is bound to become the fate of Jerry Springer’s show.

A part of me is actually surprised someone hasn’t taken the backlog that has developed through the decades and created a separate Jerry Springer channel. “Jerry TV,” all “Jerry” all the time.

WHERE ONE COULD always tune in to the sight of someone being cracked over the head by a chair, or trying to beat up her husband after learning he impregnated the neighbor’s teenage daughter (only to have them separated by Steve Wilkos or many of the other t-shirted security personnel -- many of whom once were off-duty Chicago cops -- who became an integral part of the Springer program).

… at the show's peak
If you think I’m exaggerating, keep in mind that Springer used to defend his programming choices by claiming he was merely reflecting the reality of a certain segment of our society. Most definitely the tacky parts, but it is real.

Personally, the last time I remember seeing the show, the guest was a woman who used the program to inform her racist boyfriend she was dumping him. She being white and her new boyfriend being a black man.

As though it was somehow enlightening to see some Southern white male feel humiliated on national television. Of course, in this Age of Trump, we’d probably be expected to feel empathy for the white guy, and perhaps we’d allow him to get a sense of public “vengeance” on his girlfriend.

WHOM YOU HAVE to admit engaged in a bit of trashy behavior by wanting to make a spectacle out of dumping the jerk she no longer wanted to have in her life.

Hollywood gave Springer a moment of fame
How big a sensation was Springer? I still recall the 1998 film “Ringmaster,” which allowed Jerry Springer to play the part of himself as host of a tacky TV show called “Jerry” (only based in Los Angeles, rather than our wonderful Second City). Which in my mind is only memorable because it was the first time I ever heard of actress Jaime Pressly (and the sight of Springer clad in a gaudy Western outfit).

Now, it’s all done. Although at age 74 with such a long run, perhaps retirement has been earned.

And we can all spend years speculating on how much our society was degraded by watching such trivial nonsense – even as we watch those reruns over and over and snicker as much at the period fashion sense as much as we do the tacky behavior.


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