In a quiet cancellation, NBC has officially stopped production on The Jerry Springer Show. This marks the end of an empire for a show that spanned 27 seasons and more than 4,000 episodes.
Starting in 1991 (the year I was born, so it’s weird to think that I never lived in a world without The Jerry Springer Show, before), Jerry Springer blasted American televisions with a showcase of trashy absurdity that hadn’t been seen before. His talk show, interviewing the weird and loathsome among us and working to spark conflict and get some of them chairs thrown, became part of the cultural zeitgeist.
My grandmother used to sit up weekday mornings and afternoons, drinking a Busch tallboy and clucking at The Jerry Springer Show, saying, “I can’t believe people would act like that.” But she watched. America did the same, revolted by the exploitation but drawn in by the spectacle. It’s a surprise to see that Jerry Springer would stop the show at all. It seemed he would end first.
In a future we’ll now never see, a couple would shout and curse each other after the woman found out that her boyfriend of three years was actually a gay Klansman, and Jerry trying to hold them apart would suddenly seize his chest and fall over. The two would stop, realizing what had happened. The crowd would fall silent. Then, the couple would kneel, and security would drag the Jerry Springer Sarcophagus onto the stage. They would lift Jerry and place him within.
And just as they sealed the lid, the crowd would stand, lighting the torches that had always been under their chairs for a moment like this, and they would chant, “Jerry. Jerry. Jerry. Jerry.” Tears would stream their cheeks and drip off their chins.
“Jerry. Jerry. Jerry. Jerry.” Cement would flood from an opening in the ceiling, spattering the sarcophagus first and then pouring onto the couple, the guards, and into the crowd. Still, they would stand, and they would chant. “Jerry. Jerry. Jerry.” Even as the cement filled their mouths and covered their eyes, their jaws would continue the silent motion, until they were frozen in the stone, vassals to the pharaoh of trash TV. Will America ever be the same without him?
Yeah. Yeah, it will be.