Jerry Springer is asked all the time about what he thinks about the show. He’s obviously a brilliant man. Even outside of his successful political career, he’s a Tulane University and Northwestern University graduate. People associate the Jerry Springer Show with the uneducated masses, for better or for worse, and Jerry theoretically shouldn’t be one of them.
Jerry has been quoted as saying that he doesn’t watch his own show. He considers it a silly show that is not aimed at him. There are certainly plenty of different ways to interpret that.
For one thing, Jerry might not watch his own show, put he is immersed in it week after week. It’s difficult to imagine that he isn’t absorbing a lot of what is happening anyway. Actually watching it would give him a different perspective, it’s true, but he does more or less watch it regardless of whether or not he wants to watch it. It seems like it’s a little late for him the begin trying to take it back.
Personally, I think that this is just another case of Jerry being a good showman who knows what his audience wants to hear. He knows that these entertainment reporters enjoy thinking of themselves as the sort of people who are above the Jerry Springer Show. They want to believe that Jerry is above it, too. Taking anything seriously leaves you vulnerable. Saying that something is just silly or just for fun is a way to give yourself protection without having to actually denounce what you’re doing in any real way. I think that this was a good portion of what Jerry Springer was doing when he said that.
However, I should note that I agree with him about the show being silly and fun. People ask me all the time about why I like the show, since I don’t fit the stereotypical image of someone who likes a show like that, at least according to elitist entertainment reporters. All I can usually say is that the show is fun. I like hearing about all of the issues that the guests have, especially because we didn’t get to see this kind of thing very often before the Internet. Even with the Internet, the Jerry Springer contestants have more authenticity than Internet people usually do, even though some of the show is staged.
The completely unrestrained aspect of the show makes it fun. It’s a show that isn’t trying to impress. Reality shows are full of people who are desperate to please, and they’re taken the place of things like talk shows today. The Jerry Springer Show has a manic quality to it that makes it hard to turn away from, and I don’t see the point in pretending that you don’t like it.
Jerry Springer needs to be able to maintain a certain pretense around the people in the entertainment media. Authors who know that their books are not considered high art need to sustain a certain ironic distance from them or they will be mocked for actually liking something. Actually like something has been treated with a certain level of scorn in modern culture for a long time, and I’ve never been a fan of it.
One of the reasons why I like to point out that I like the Jerry Springer Show without apology is that I want to help bring back this sentiment. I can’t stand the term ‘guilty pleasure.’ You shouldn’t feel bad about the things that you love. Maybe some of them are objectively good and maybe they aren’t. We shouldn’t have to maintain a conspiracy in order to actually enjoy anything, and creators shouldn’t have to be vague about how they feel about their creations.