"Springer" a synomyn for violence

Posted on June 1, 1999

Some people eat peanut butter sandwiches without the jelly. Others think Cher was better without Sonny.

But "The Jerry Springer Show" without fights? Could that be possible?

According to the Associated Press, Studios USA, syndicator for the show, has replaced some of its episodes with tamer shows. Springer's show could be stripped of the things that vaulted the talk show to top ratings — violence, physical confrontation and profanity. That's like Stephen King writing his next book about flowers, Martha Stewart advertising Harley-Davidson gear or Austin Powers appearing on Lifetime dramas.

This isn't the first time Springer's slate was supposed to be wiped clean. In May 1998, Springer dispelled rumors that the show was getting a makeover. He never wanted to tone the absurdity down.

It appears he won't have a choice this time. Following the recent school violence incidents and the Jenny Jones' verdict, which held the show for negligence and awarded $25 million, "The Jerry Springer Show" will have to meet the no-violence standard, and reruns will be edited to take out fights.

In Tuesday's episode, there was no need for editing. Danny, a 20-year-old who is suffering from progeria, a disease that accelerates aging, celebrated a birthday with his favorite TV personality. It wasn't Springer, though. It was Mr. T.

Mr. T and Springer have a lot in common. Both are trying to change images for the 453rd time. Both act as if they are smarter than they actually are. Both should have appeared in at least one "Jaws" movie (Mr. T was slated for "Jaws II," but instead, he got the sets mixed up and appeared in "Rocky II.").

I pity the fool who watched Wednesday's "Springer." Sure, it was violence-free. It was practically interest-free as well. The show's premise was good, but the guests rarely talked. The only thing worse would have been trying to listen to it underwater on the radio. Violence should not be the answer to higher ratings. But other talk shows without ludicrous guests seem to be doing just fine. Rosie O'Donnell won this year's Emmy for best talk show. The closest thing to violence on that show was probably a movie preview.

It's hard to imagine a Springer show without violence. But newer shows can't be any worse than the previous ones. "The Jerry Springer Show" will always be synonymous with fisticuffs, arguments concerning practically nothing and ridiculous love triangles and rhombuses. Each show ends with a sermon, similar to this paragraph, pertaining to the atrocities being witnessed and how to put a stop to them.

Trashing the violence is the first step. Trashing "Springer" is the second. Eating a peanut butter-and-jelly sandwich with Mr. T should be the grand finale.