In the world of entertainment, TV talk shows have undoubtedly flooded every inch of space on daytime television. Many of us have seen and heard the often recycled topics found on such veteran shows as Geraldo and Sally Jesse Raphael. Anyone who watches talk shows on a regular basis knows that each one varies in style and format. One might enjoy watching the sometimes trashy subject matter found on Jenny Jones, while someone else might prefer the more serious and light-hearted feel of the Maury Povich show. But no two shows are more profoundly opposite in the content, while at the same time standing out above the rest, than the Jerry Springer and OprahWinfrey shows.
Jerry Springer could easily be considered the king of “trash talk.” The topics on his show are as shocking as they come. For example, the show takes the ever common talk show themes of love, lust, sex, sexuality, adultery, cheating, guilt, hate, conflict and morality to a different level. In a vintage Springer show, one finds women who cheated on their boyfriends and are ready to confess. But the boyfriends are in for an even bigger surprise when they find out who their girlfriends have been cheating with. As the secret lovers are patiently waiting back stage, the girlfriends confess that they have been cheating on their men with other women. Another episode seemed reminiscent of the John and Lorenna Bobbitt case, only more twisted. A man cuts off his own genitals because he claimed that his homosexual neighbor was stalking him. Shocking, indeed, but the list of talk material goes on from dangerous love triangles, broken homes, pregnant strippers, teenage prostitutes, adult film stars, devil worshippers, and the always popular rates booster, the KKK. Clearly, the Jerry Springer Show is a display and exploitation of societies moral catastrophes; yet people are willing to eat up the intriguing mishaps of other people’s lives.
Oprah Winfrey was once a follower of the trash TV format, but her long running popular TV talk show has since been reformed. Like Jerry Springer, the Oprah Winfrey Show takes talk TV to its extreme, but Oprah goes in the opposite direction. Oprah’s show is probably the most immaculate talk show there is. It is unlikely that you will find guests on Oprah that have committed adultery, or have sold their souls to the devil. Instead, the show focuses on the improvement of society and an individual’s quality of life.