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California and the West | MIKE DOWNEY

Next on Springer: 'I'm Really a Decent Guy'

April 08, 1998|MIKE DOWNEY

Producers of the award-losing "Jerry Springer Show" have announced that syndicated television's No. 1 talk show will clean up its act. No more fights. No more X-rated language. In other words, same as Oprah Winfrey's show, except you can still eat meat.

Jerry, this is terrible news.

It means you and your staff will have to come up with a whole new assortment of topics, like:

* "My Wife Is a Woman."

* "I Stole My Boyfriend's Comb."

* "Grandpa Made Me Lick His Postage Stamps."

* "I Had Diana Ross' Love Child (On Album and CD)."

* "My Parents Had Sex Once."

And so on.

Jerry's show just won't be the same. Jerry is a TV pioneer. I think most of us will never forget TV's golden moments, like Lucille Ball inside a vat of grapes, or Ed Sullivan having the Beatles on for the first time, or Jerry Springer letting a man in a dog collar sink to his knees and lick his female-impersonating dominatrix's boot.

And they say there's no variety on television anymore.

Jerry, I just hate to see you change what works. Speaking on behalf of most TV viewers, I'd be really disappointed if your audience never gets a chance to see a skinhead Nazi sociopath hit you in the chest with a chair.

On free television, yet.

I think we'd pay to see that.

*

It seems to me that when Oprah's TV ratings were at their peak, she came out publicly and said her future shows would be less provocative, more responsible.

And just when Geraldo Rivera seemed to be doing quite well on TV, he came out publicly and said his future shows would be less incendiary, more restrained.

And right around when Jenny Jones got a lot of publicity for allegedly causing a guest to get shot, she said her future shows would be less titillating, more dignified.

And then Maury Povich said something, but nobody pays any attention to Maury Povich.

Now, we get a newer, gentler Jerry.

I recently watched a "behind-the-scenes" program on the E! cable network, showing one of Jerry's staffers instructing a studio audience on how to go "Ooooh," "Ickkkk" or "Boooo," depending on the situation.

(Much like when the Rams and Raiders played football here.)

Backstage, Jerry spoke of how proud he was of his program, and how there was no need to change a thing.

And in a newspaper interview, Jerry spoke of how children should watch his show, because "we make it clear that infidelity, promiscuity, drugs and prostitution are bad."

(As opposed to all those TV shows that make it clear that infidelity, promiscuity, drugs and prostitution are good.)

Well, I had to admit, at least this was a man who stood up for what he believed.

Good to see a garbage man who really loves his garbage.

Furthermore, unlike the Oprahs, Geraldos and Jennys, it looked as if Jerry Springer was determined to be true to what made him a star. The man had absolutely no intention of becoming a silk purse. He was a sow's ear, and proud to be one.

Next thing you know, though, "The Jerry Springer Show" announces that it will contain no more violence, which is sort of like "NYPD Blue" announcing that it will contain no more rear ends.

I am shocked.

In fact, this is the first time that Jerry's show HAS shocked me.

I just can't imagine what this bodes for America's No. 1 talk show. It will probably have to give up the "Jeffrey Dahmer--Was He So Bad?" themed segment, as well as the Ku Klux Klan dance number.

*

Jerry, if you're sad about all this, cheer up. You have come to your senses.

You probably aren't a bad man. You were once mayor of Cincinnati, although I'm sure I could come up with a better example.

Look, I know this won't be easy for you. But think of it this way:

At least you will no longer have to be the host of the most repulsive, rotten, slimy, dirty, disgusting, vile, grotesque, stinking, depraved, demented, dreadful, putrid, rancid, appalling, shameless, heartless, mindless, worthless, cruel, crude, creepy, nasty, sleazy, sickening piece of filth in the history of American television. Congratulations!

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