At it’s height the Jerry Springer Show was must see TV. But conscientious viewers might have felt a little pang as they squirmed at the inarticulate freaks on screen, just as the fictionalised Jerry Springer we meet here does. This is a show for these viewers. If you enjoyed marvelling at how low the trailer trash could go, you’ll enjoy watching it opera style too.
‘I’ve been seeing someone else,’ the fat man sings to his fiancée. ‘She’s your best friend.’ And so the fiancée hits back at her (now ex) friend; ‘you’re a whore, you’re a slag,’ et cetera.
But the Jerry Springer Show was never this tame. I remember a late night edition about a man who’d flushed his penis down the toilet. Nevertheless, it is both funny and fun, ‘Jerry, Jerry… Jerry, Jerry,’ we gently sang along. Springer occasionally breaks off to do battle with his conscience – isn’t it all a bit exploitative? – and this makes for the first half which climaxes (don’t think this is a spoiler) with his being shot.
Poor dying Jerry Springer must now answer for his sins. The devil wants him for a TV special so he can resolve his arguments with God (‘But I don’t do conflict resolution,’ pleads Springer). In this bizarre death dream good and evil are not black and white and everyone – Jesus and God included – has their issues. But this is not a heavy critique of Christianity; it’s a light critique of trash TV. Judeo-Christian mythology merely frames Jerry Springer’s interior debate.
Related: Jerry Springer: the Opera protester