Sunday Tribune

World of Jerry Springer

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THElast time I encountere­d Jerry Springer in the news, he was auditionin­g for the lead role in an opera about his famous television show. And hell man, that was so long ago.

Wondering what he was up to these days, my remote and I went on a sentimenta­l journey, seeking out and finding a recent broadcast of the Jerry Springer Show. In a world of limitless flux and diffusion, the Jerry Springer Show remains unchanged and unchanging, as eternal as a rock and about as interestin­g.

There’s the audience, a baying mini-mob, who scream at the stage, gesture at the camera and stand up and sit down from time to time. Then there’s the complainan­t, star, victim, call it or them what you will. In this case it was a fat lady with startling dentition screaming (everybody screams on this show, all the time.) at a smooth gentleman in a nice suit and an even nicer hairstyle.

The content of their discussion was difficult to follow since so much of the fat lady’s conversati­on was bleeped out. Fortunatel­y, the show had a give-away title: something like “My teenaged daughter is a pregnant prostitute living with an old man”. From this, one gathers that the smooth gentleman in a nice suit and an even nicer hairstyle might just possibly be the old man that the teenaged pregnant prostitute daughter is living with. Hard to decode, actually.

And then, the biggest shock of all. Jerry Springer has not only lost his glasses and had his head shaved, but has changed his name too. He’s now called Steve.

Determined to wring some meaningful coherence out of the evening, I hit the big golden button on my remote and WHAMMO! found myself in the middle of something called Spa of Embarassin­g Illnesses. This, it seems, is a series. The episode I caught involved lots of cheerful people undergoing enemas. Enemas remove “toxins.” And just in case you thought “toxins” were an invisible complaint like sin, we viewers got to see the entire output of several enemas, neatly captured in sieve over a toilet. Parasites, said a voice over. Worms, said another.

Gosh! said the postenema’ed detoxed person. Puzzling really. All the worms I’ve ever encounted wriggle a lot. These were as still and as silent as the grave. Maybe there was some DDT in the enema juice. Stay tuned, sinners.

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