I can’t help myself. It all started when I had my daughter. I’m more of a Netflix type of girl, but those first few months with a newborn were rough and I was desperate to put anything on the TV to keep me awake.
Soap opera…flip. Commercial…flip. Daytime talk show with an all women cast…flip. A woman in a wedding gown fighting a stripper over their redneck boyfriend…score!
I don’t have a logical explanation for why I started watching it. It was an awful feeling – one of despair and embarrassment. I felt guilty for watching people degrade themselves in such a manner, but I just couldn’t look away. Maybe, it was the shock value? Maybe, it made me feel better about myself? Or, perhaps it was just the fact that these “guests” reminded me of people I knew. For whatever reason, I continued to watch.
Like most people, I hate humiliation, I even hate watching other people be humiliated, but Jerry made me feel better about it. He sprinkled humor into the foul situations in which these guests became entangled. He’s always so witty. I know it’s a trashy, sleazy show, but every day at noon, I would tune in. It was a surprise every time.
It became an addiction that spiraled out of control. I found myself watching Youtube videos of old episodes. I would try to get my daughter to nap before it came on so I could watch it without disturbance. With my cup of coffee, 5-day old pajamas, and my tangled and barely brushed hair, I would plop on the couch to indulge. I was elated when I heard that introduction. Jerry! Jerry! Jerry! I was disgusted with myself, but I continued anyway.
I never could admit to others that I liked it. I treated it like people treat pornography. Whenever someone walked into the room I would turn the channel quickly or close my laptop. I know that if anyone found out, they would ask me the dreaded question: Why do you watch that crap?
I DON’T KNOW!!!
Finally, the time came for me to stop. Or, so I thought. There was one episode that made me feel so guilty that I actually had trouble sleeping that night. There was an image that to this day, I still can’t forget.
There was a woman who was easily 300 lbs., dressed in a bikini, dancing in a pool of butter. Yes, you read that right. She told this guy, whom she slept with once, that she would do anything to have him again; she would dance for him. They brought out a plastic pool filled with sticks of butter and she just swayed in the pool. The guy’s fiance came on stage to confront the man, and while this was happening, the girl just danced in the background. Falling and swaying, falling and swaying. As time went on it got worse. She spent more time standing back up than anything else. You can see the look in her eyes as the audience just kept laughing. I did not find it funny. Why would she subject herself to such ridicule? Why would she humiliate herself on live television? It was one of the saddest things I ever watched. That’s it Jerry, you went too far!
I went through withdrawals for about a week, choosing to watch random picks on Netflix instead. But, one day I was surfing Youtube and for my suggested videos, I saw it. There it was, right in front of me. The temptation was too much and I clicked it. A woman was yelling at another woman and her dentures fell out onto the stage. (Go ahead and Google it) I don’t know why I laughed, but it was hilarious. And just like that, I fell off the wagon.
However, today is definitely the day I stop. My now 18 month old daughter was playing in the living room. I never let her watch Jerry Springer, but I know that she has heard it from the playroom from time-to-time. As she was singing happily to her stuffed animal, the introduction to the show came on. When it went to a commercial, I faintly heard my baby girl say, “Jerry, Jerry, Jerry”.