by Wil Forbis
When I was a kid, the world was a wondrous place. With a little help from my toddler imagination, animals could talk, tree limbs could turn into emerald scepters, and floating clouds became enemy spaceships. But as I grew older, my imagination was dulled by the cruel edge of reality. I began to see the world for what it is; a place devoid of magic, where most of us carry out our bleak existences in the obscurity of our day to day lives. A place so plain, so dull, that we ultimately turn to some crutch, be it drugs, or alcohol, or sex with chickens, to reclaim at least a small part of the fantasia of our childhoods. Life as a child was a rainbow of colors, life as an adult is a drab gray.
Truthfully, I thought the magic was gone forever… until I happened to find myself in between work recently, and needed TV to fill the newly created void in my life. I turned on the television one day only to discover something… incredible. It was a show hosted by a noble man named Jerry Springer, and he has show me what a wonderful, fascinating and entertain society we live in.
Let me rephrase that: Jerry Springer has shown me what an incredibly fucked, freakishly deviant and intoxifyingly entertain society we live in.
Have you seen this stuff? Our world (the world of normal people) consists of punched clocks and 5:00 o'clock traffic, Jerry's world is filled with midgets having sex with dwarves while cheating on their bisexual lover's dog. Homosexual Klan members who like cross dressing in church. Gigantically breasted women who go midget bowling. Gangbanging Mormons who believe themselves to be the reincarnation of Elvis. And most importantly, midgets.
Midgets really are at the core of the Jerry Springer experience. He seldom goes long without doing a show that has at least a cursory involvement with midgets, and they really add to the circus atmosphere of the show. But you can't blame Jerry for this, midgets are fascinating motherfuckers. They seem to live in a universe parallel to ours, but with key differences… sort of like Superman's Bizzarro World. In a recent Springer episode entitled "Invasion of the Little People" I saw a female midget tell her father that she was no longer a virgin… to which he responded by cursing and trying to eat his chair. I saw a midget tell his tall and beautiful girlfriend that he liked to wear cloth diapers ("I like the way they feel," he explained.) I saw two black midgets chase each other through the audience in an attempt to prove their love for a women who looked like Queen Latifah. I saw all this and I became wise to midgets and their wily ways.
This is not to say that Jerry is biased against non-midgets. He often features stories about one woman stealing another's man, which seems surprisingly tame until you realize the women are mother and daughter. The hard subject of racism is often discussed as Klan members and neo-Nazis set themselves up as bowling pins to be knocked down by the audience's ridicule. Physical deformity of all types is celebrated; in a recent episode, two well groomed young men fought over a women, which didn't seem that odd till the young woman appeared on stage with one leg and two stubs for arms.
Of course, the driving force of Jerry's show is tragedy. All the guests are sad, sad people, dealt the cruel hand of fate by either biology or their impoverished environment. Often while watching the midgets I'm overcome with sadness at the fact that these people must make light of their pain by appearing as T.V. clowns (The feeling usually only lasts a few seconds, then I'm back to laughing at their amusing antics.) My heart groans when I see a 39 year old mother try and hold on to her youth by stealing her daughter's boyfriend. Whatever amusement I derive from seeing an ill educated racist (white or black) spout their rhetoric is offset by the fact that they are probably converting someone to their point as I watch.
It's all there with Jerry - the comedy, the tragedy, the hatred, the love, the midgets. Every aspect of my childhood is represented. Granted, the talking animals have been transformed into screaming transvestites, the emerald scepter is two 500 pound sisters attacking each other, and the spaceship clouds are a street pimp telling the women in the audience he can make them his "bitches." But why get fussy with the details? At least now when I yearn for fantasy all I have to do is turn on the TV.
The Jerry Springer Show is syndicated nationally. Check your local TV Guide for time and stations!