Wednesday, May 20, 2015

JERRY! JERRY! JERRY! Comes to Alaska

Remember The Jerry Springer Show? It's a tabloid talk show that's still on the air, believe it or not. You're probably not watching it unless you're unemployed, which if you're a State of Alaska employee, you might be as of July 1 due to a presently unfunded state budget and resulting looming government shutdown. According to my favorite resource, Wikipedia:
A typical episode of Springer begins with a title card warning parents that the show may contain content inappropriate for children. Springer then enters the stage by sliding down a stripper pole, being greeted by an applauding audience chanting JERRY! JERRY! Springer then welcomes viewers to the show, introduces a particular situation, and interviews a person who is experiencing it. After finishing the interview, Springer announces the entrance of another guest whom the first guest would like to confront. The second guest enters the stage, and a confrontation between the two guests usually occurs, often breaking down into a brawl that is eventually broken up by on-set security personnel. Once the fight has been quelled, Springer interviews the second guest about the situation faced by the first guest. In many episodes, there is a third guest involved in the situation, who is also interviewed by Springer, and often takes part in the on-stage fighting. It is also not uncommon for a fourth guest to be involved. Often guests will be given a cup of water after fighting, ostensibly to "cool off," but inevitably, the guests toss the water at each other, thus resuming the altercation. The cycle is repeated for each set of guests on the show. Once all guests have told their stories, there is usually a "question and answer" segment where audience members ask guests questions relevant to their situations, although usually the questioners insult a guest or flash (show their breasts to) the audience in exchange for "Jerry Beads' (Mardi-Gras-style beads with the show logo).
Well, like so many reality TV shows before it, The Jerry Springer Show has come to Alaska, and it's been more fun to watch than The Deadliest Catch, Alaska State Troopers, and Ice Road Truckers combined! Episodes have been filming continuously since January in the halls of the capitol building here in Juneau, with some special tapings in Anchorage and at other select locations around the state. 

The role of Jerry is a rotating one, played by the chair of any given legislative committee. The guests are Alaska's other 59 elected officials, the press, and their constituents who are trying to get all 60 elected officials to behave like adults and stop whacking each other over the head with chairs (so far metaphorically-speaking), before every man, woman, and child in Alaska is unemployed, has no health insurance, and/or gets molested in a school (but not in art or music class, because there's no money for that). 

There's plenty of water and coffee to go around, though, and the temptation to throw it in people's faces is high, although as far as I know that hasn't happened yet. All of this content may be "inappropriate for children," as I understand that several class trips to the capitol to watch our noble democracy in action have failed to impress Alaska's tender youth.

The only thing missing--so far--is the stripper pole, the flashing, the Mardi-Gras beads, and Jerry unveiling a paternity test and yelling, "Senator/Representative so-and-so IS NOT THE FATHER!!!"

Say it with me now: JERRY! JERRY! JERRY!

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