Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Rednecks portrayed on Jerry Springer

The depiction of the working class on the television show "The Jerry Springer Show" does not depict this class in a very positive light. Known as the epitome of the "trash TV talk show" and the "Worst Television Show Ever" by TV Guide Magazine, this show that highlights the troubles found in dysfunctional or bizarre families, most of which would be considered "trailer trash."  For example, some of the show's guests have been 12-year old mothers on welfare, a man cheating on his wife with his sister, or someone confessing to bestiality, pedophilia, strange fetishes, prostitution, etc. The purpose of this television show is to provide some kind of guidance or aid from the host, Jerry Springer, or the audience. However, this attempt to resolve these family's problems usually escalates to tempers flaring, foul language, hearts being broken, women flashing the camera, and fights among the guests. The unkempt guests on the show further deepens the stereotype associated with "rednecks" because, according to Jim Goad, they are considered "inbred, less intelligent, unattractive, trashy, racist, and violent." (Goad, 76) Below is a clip from Jerry Springer in which the previous description is pretty accurately portrayed. 
What is quite amusing about this show is that Jerry Springer, its producers, and pretty much everyone considers it to be more of a joke than a serious talk show. The show has even boasted that it is "an hour of your life you'll never get back." Jerry Springer is portrayed as the helpful, knowledgeable host which develops a contrast between the host who is part of the upper-class and its guests of lower class. He has become more synonymous with his celebrity status, with the audience chanting "Jerry Jerry! Jerry!" at the  opening of the show, rather than the advice he gives to his guests. He has even admitted: "I would never watch my show. I'm not interested in it. It's not aimed towards me. This is just a silly show." 


  1. OK... I love Jerry Springer. Back in the day when I actually had something called "free time," I occasionally put on Jerry Springer.
    This show DEFINITELY presents what the White Trash is, and what kind of person such an individual is. Every show, Jerry presents these "God knows from where" people who claim to have some "serious problems." Although it is a funny thing to watch when they beat each other up, it is sad that these stereotypes still appear in popular TV, and we as audiences accept them when we watch those shows.

  2. I feel like this show was less of a "guidance-based" show and more of a way to make fun of lower-class Americans.

  3. I remember seeing collections of this show available for rental at Blockbuster when I was growing up--things like "best fights, best crazy topless women, etc." There's no way to successfully argue that a "serious" talk show would market itself in that way. When Steve, the bodyguard, is a popular character, there's not much credibility.

    On another note, have these people ever seen a dentist?

  4. Haha! Jerry Springer certainly does rely on stereotypes and brings a certain look to the issues because classy people with these "who's my baby's daddy?" problems wouldn't be stupid enough to be on the show (though I realize Springer is full of actors). The show really chews up the lower-class and encourages you to ridicule these folk.

  5. I was always more of a Jenny Jones girl myself