The Evolution of Jerry Springer
“From germs to apes, to Jerry Springer” by Danny Sparks
A germ in an ancient coral grows gills and fins and swims to an ancient beach. As the germ with gills and fins approaches the banks, it develops legs. The germ walks onto the ancient beach and its gills become lungs and its fins becomes hands. Fast forward a few million years and that germ is on an airplane reading the New York Times, while on the internet, while on a cell phone…you get it. Evolution and the progression of existence is a fascinating and intriguing concept. Everything must change, and evolution is the process in which this change occurs.
Jerry Springer is evolution at its finest. Only the strong survive is the sub-mantra that fuels the ever-ignorant broadcast of social pond scum, which keeps daytime America tuning in. Where is Sally Jessie Raphael, Jenny Jones, Donahue, Geraldo, or Ricki Lake? I’ll tell you where they are: at home watching Jerry Springer. In an Oprah era, how do a man and his microphone command such an attraction? The only other shows that usually survive in the Oprah era are a spin-off of Oprah (Dr. Phil, Dr. Oz….hell, Gayle King has a show). I’ll tell you how Jerry and his security guards stay relevant: evolution.
The set is a far cry from its original season. A few items are missing, the chairs for one, the classy, quiet crowd and Jerry’s long hair. Fast forward to today, where the show has no furniture on stage and the backdrop is a mossy brick wall with a huge duct fan. There are sewer pipes throughout and the only proof of decorating taste is the tan carpet (scotch-guarded for bloodstains). The guest come out to a fight-bell, “ding, ding, ding…” and punches are briefly interrupted by menial dialogue. Violence is the rule, whereas resolution is the exception. The crowd often partakes in flashing breast, hurling insults or simply chanting ‘Jerry’, which usually instigates yet more violence. But ever present are Springer’s security staff, which consists of Chicago’s finest bruisers; there only to pick guests up off the floor as they fight to give steady-cams better vantages points for better viewing. Then there’s the security guard whose double amputee status add a bit of circus touch to the show. Walking on his knuckles as he breaks up a fight is surely a sight of amazement.
In today’s short-attention span programming, Jerry Springer has become the car crash that America can’t turn its head from. Oprah next show is with some distinguished actor, while Springer will host a fast food clerk and his transsexual stripper boy/girlfriend. Springer started as a germ and crawls in to the television sets as an evolution of the American dream fully developed. I can’t wait to see what the show develops into as we enter a new era…the You Tube era. 100 years from now Springer will still be here, will you?