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Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Jerry Springer vs. Jeremy Kyle (or how I learned to stop worrying and hope for the fucking bomb)

No matter who you are, there's always someone who makes you relieved to be you. For us in Britain and the U.S, it tends to be the various circus performers that make up an episode of a talk show. For those people, well, at least they didn't marry their sister/have sex for a fiver. If they did, well...well...at least they're not dead.

Shows like Springer and Kyle have a very special place in society – as a sort of holding pen for the deranged and the socially/sartorially unstable among us. 

Our American readers might be familiar with Jeremy Kyle, as he was recently farmed out to the U.S. for a bit to give the rest of us a fucking break. You guys seemed to warm to him, yet inexplicably we now have him back. On the other hand, I'm not sure how you guys feel about Jerry Springer, but us Brits have definitely adopted him. Trade?

But would you want to trade, and more to the point, would we? Do we maybe have the better deal with Kyle? I'm going to look into this, but the answer is probably no.

Round one – host likeability

Springer appears to win this round hands down at first, because people actually like him. And it's not hard to see why people like Jerry – he has an affable, easy going nature and seems to be offended by nothing at all. Even KKK members on his stage shouting “Die, Jew boy” don't faze him. The other side of this is that Jerry could perhaps be accused of being too easy going. His habit of poking fun at guests, even when they appear to be having a nervous breakdown, could lose him some points.

Kyle has no such problems. If anyone even remotely hints at smiling on his stage, he has them carted off and appears to take personal offence. Misery peddling is a serious business to Kyle, and he's not about to let some upstart in the studio make it look like entertainment.

The common consensus in Britain is that Kyle is everything Springer is not – judgemental, hyper serious and completely unable to crack a smile.

Winner – Jerry Springer

Round two – insane behaviour

A typical episode of either of these shows doesn't include debate about Ibsen. Generally it's people who have been caught screwing someone else. Usually there is a petrol station involved, for some reason. Occasionally an episode will centre around someone's who's done-something-fucking-stupid. Maybe they have a life size tattoo of Justin Bieber covering their body, or maybe they traded their house for a bra. Granted, Springer has the more insane guests, but Kyle more than makes up for this with his incensed reactions to anyone doing anything out of the ordinary, so it's a tough one to call. Since everyone appears to be insane on Springer, you can sometimes become desensitised, and for this reason I think I'm going to have to go with Kyle – quality over quantity.

Winner – Jeremy Kyle

Round three – audience interaction

The Springer Show is widely regarded as a free for all – a veritable hotbed of debate. Audience participation is encouraged, even rewarded (if you get your tits out). Kyle's audience, meanwhile, is encouraged to sit obediently around him like disciples of some kind. Speaking without putting your hand up and waiting your turn is severely dealt with, usually by a harsh look from Kyle.

Since the reason we tune into these shows is to watch goons fighting, surely this enjoyment is multiplied when the audience gets involved with the fist happy fun as well?

Winner – Jerry Springer

Round four – level of actual help provided

Although neither show is ever going to produce anything like a U.N. approved treaty, it must be said that Kyle overtakes Springer by leaps and bounds here. Kyle's backstage team includes counselling “genius”/Gary Glitter lookalike Graham Stainer, on hand to offer advice and kleenex. All Springer's guests have appears to be a pole to dance around. To be fair, this method of settling disputes seems to work surprisingly well; I may try It myself sometime.

Winner – Draw

Round five – fights (frequency of and reaction to)

I'm not sure there can be much debate here, certainly not as much as there is on Springer. Springer fighting is so frequent that they now have a bell at the ready to divide an episode into rounds. The security guards don't so much secure as stand there and laugh. Kyle's show couldn't be further from this – at the slightest hint of aggression, his henchmen arrive to carry the perpetrator off under one arm. If by some slim chance a contestant on the Kyle show does manage to get a sly punch past the guards, rest assured the show will A) not be aired and B) make the national newspapers -

PS nice advert, very appropriate

In other words – Kyle and his henchmen spoil everyone's fun.

Winner – Jerry Springer 

Looking at the evidence brought forth by this impartial scientific study – are you sure you guys don't want to trade?

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