Film and TV

Jerry Springer: Now counting twenty years of freaks, weirdos and wonderful

In television history, perhaps no single show has ever been quite as revolutionary as The Jerry Springer Show -- not that many people would see that as a good thing. All the same, over the course of its twenty-year history, Jerry Springer, along with a cast of strippers, transvestites, trailer-dwellers and toothless inbreds, took it to surreal height of crassness and insanity whose only real precedent predates television itself by hundreds of years -- the freak show -- and whose influence, it's arguable, spawned the whole genre of reality TV; The Jersey Shore, for one, owes it a debt of gratitude. So to commemorate the twentieth anniversary of one of the longest-running, best and worst shows out there, we bring you a few of the highlights -- or lowlights -- of that distinguished history.

This is obviously an early one, and it would be Springer's willingness to set up ridiculousness and possible violence on the show -- GG Allin pretty much always invites both of those things -- that would turn the show into what it is today.
What would Springer be without fighting midgets? Pretty much an ageless staple of awesomeness.
Say what you will about Springer being past his prime, but there is still not another show on television with shit like this.
Watch what he does here: First, he's flat-out arguing with the guy, which is great enough, but then -- with classic Springer aplomb -- he hands the mike to a black lady, steps aside and lets the action happen. And that's why Springer is -- and always will be -- the godfather and king of trash TV.

KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Jef Otte
Contact: Jef Otte