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Article: Springer = Satan.
Writer: Brinepacer
Date Posted: 29/12/00

Over the last few months I spent a lot of time watching chat shows for various reasons - days off college spent in front of the TV, time spent with my then girlfriend watching TV at her flat, evenings at my parents house with nothing to do but watch TV. Watching Montel, Sally Jessy Raphael, Rolanda, Judge Judy (which, despite its courtroom gimmick is still a chat show, but that's a whole other paragraph, so I'll come back to it) all the shit that European channels (as in terrestrial TV and satellite) import as they see them as, I don't know, kitsch I suppose, a guilty pleasure, a voyeuristic act, a feeding of the European fascination with Americana, the safety of observing the Americas from a distance.

After a while, the cheating boyfriends, transsexual fiancÚs, shagging cousins, stripping teens, and other denizens of the deep of Texas become just a blur, until you are desensitised to this complete breakdown in moral attitude - when the guy cheats once on his wife you think - "Well it was only once, and the last guy cheated 50 odd times, so she should be glad". And herein lies the problem, we seem to lower our standards as the talk show people lower theirs. Sure we clap when the cheated kicks the cheater to the kerb, but at the same time, we are nonplussed when something that would provoke extreme reactions from us, provokes extreme reactions in others, as if we feel all these people are so morally bankrupt their reactions should be different, that for them to be emotionally identifiable to us would be completely unexpected.

The real low point in all these 'chat shows' however is 'Jerry Springer'. Anyone who has seen it, knows it, so I won't describe it, if you haven't chanted 'Jerry, Jerry!' on at least one occasion then you haven't lived. And for those of us who sit there going 'Steve! Go Steve!', well, I say no more. Jerry the man sees his show as 100% entertainment; he doesn't see himself as having a moral responsibility to his viewers, or the people who appear on his show. And therein lies the problem. When you stand back and look at Jerry Springer, you see that he is peddling the most morally bankrupt, soulless shit that is on TV at the moment. The people he has on his shows are shitty people who are doing shitty things to each other. And he himself never has anything worthwhile to say about it. He does not take them seriously. Sure, he treats them like the non-humans they are, but he also acts heartlessly to those who have been cheated on. He seems to think he is a ringmaster who must entertain regardless of the feelings of the animals on display.

The defence for these actions could be that he is treating these scumbags as scumbags and thus debasing them and treating them the way they deserve. But the other side of it is that he has a constant line of these people on hand to be brought out, like animals, to break hearts and have them broken. He doesn't turn round to these people and tell them that they are shitty people enough. The odd time he does, he undoes his efforts by playing to the crowd who cheer his every move and the message is lost for (taa daa) entertainments sake.

If your ever watching Springer, and Cletus is beating on Rolanda because she's sleeping with Jane, look over to the crowds right. You will see a guy in a Springer t-shirt, with a headset banging on the wall, whooping, and generally encouraging the crowd to cheer and encourage the guest's behaviour. This really calls Jerry Springer's value into question - he may be just working towards entertainment, but at what price? Some guy getting bruised and beat up because his boyfriends guy is pissed at him for even existing? The best thing I could see happening is that someone with a broken thigh from a fight sues that guy who apes the crowd, on the basis that the shouting of the crowd raised his aggressor's testosterone level (as well as allowing him to think his actions were socially acceptable) and thus worsen his injuries.

Another example of how TV is demoralising people is Judge Judy. First off can I say that she is really that much of a bitch, its not an act, someone I know knows someone who worked in her court before and she was just as bad. Among the litany of acts that cause me to hate her are her refusal to fully listen to peoples stories, always ruling in favour of women (remember that woman who bit a cop, she gave the cop nothing, and the woman got nothing either - poor girl was on the way to collect her son, she didn't want to be late so she bit him, happens to all of us), and most of all, ruling in what she sees as common sense rather than law. Its stupid, anyone with a sad story wins. Its like a court run by your grandmother (sure poor thing, exam stress and all, no wonder you killed him and ate him).

Is TV ruining our generation? Yes, as I keep saying it's demoralising us. Everyone dismissed the suggestion that the Jamie Bulger killing was caused by 'Childs Play', but how many people do you think are out there right now, watching people recounting endless cheating stories, and staring to feel ok about their own cheating. It's the little things that add up, and all these little chat shows all up to one big demoralising mess. Think for a second where chat shows start. The first chat show i saw was Oprah (who now only does 'Women are great' type shows). At some point we went from Oprah interviewing people with genuine problems (work still carried on by Maury, which no one watches because, uh, its just so boring), to Jerry Springer and the midget Siamese twins cheating on each other with the same transsexual. Talk about a lowering of standards. Is there a way out of this mire? Nope. As long as people will accept this trash, they'll keep making it. So keep watching, dear viewer, until all we have is mud wrestling midgets on 50 channels of the Jerry Springer network, and Maury follow ups where the midgets take each other on Judge Judy for civil suits. Feel the glow of human warmth when the little (female) midget wins (cos they got her name wrong on her dressing room, that kind of pressure would make anyone jump into the crowd and bite someone's nose off) and then go pack your head in ice and hit it with a hammer, and try figure out why you started watching this trash in the first place. First person with a good reason gets their own chat show.