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New Adventures in Low-brow

Fresh from last week’s excursion into high culture at the theatre, I’ve now descended to the remarkable depths of The Springer Hustle, showing most evenings on whatever MTV’s Freeview offshoot is called. It’s quite remarkable even if, like me, the last time you saw The Jerry Springer Show itself was back in the 1990s when that bloke and his horse (if you don’t know, don’t ask) made an appearance.

Essentially a cheap marketing spin-off, the new series reveals the tactics used by producers to keep a fresh supply of half-crazed raging morons for Springer’s talkshow. I’d always assumed that the method used to provoke arguments and fights was simple (booze), but it turns out to be a lot more advanced than that. In fact, the producers spend hours coaching each guest and then rile them up just before they exit onto stage. It works a bit like this:

Producer: So, what do you think about (other guest)?

Guest: Well, he tried to steal my truck.

Producer: Could you call them a white trash redneck motherfucker who stole your truck?

Guest: Er, I guess so. But..

Producer, louder: That white trash redneck motherfucker stole your truck! He stole your truck! Call him a white trash redneck motherfucker! Now! Go! Truck! Fuck! Truck! FUCKTRUCK!

Guest, exiting onto stage: YOU WHITE TRASH REDNECK (punches other guest) MOTHER(BLEEEP) etc.

The whole thing is presided over by a guy who looks like a member of the Grateful Dead, who hands down verdicts like Ceasar at the Colliseum, nodding at sufficiently debauched segments and glowering at producers whose work fails to make the grade.

Highbrow television this isn’t, of course, but it is remarkably entertaining. Especially wonderful was the segment on one Toby Yoshimura*, a producer, and his quest to get a man from Kentucky, his pig, and his rather angry shaman wife (complete with burning incense and curses) into the studio on time. This might just keep me entertained until Series 5 of The Wire stumbles onto DVD.

* Check out the credits, which include “I’m Happy I Cut Off My Legs! (2007) TV episode (producer) “

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