I never really got into daytime talk shows, even as camp. Itís not that I think myself above some forms of low-brow entertainment–I canít get enough Wally George for instance–but that I found the formulas boring. Who my baby daddy? KKK families. My 400-pound mother dresses like a hooker. Each staple topic is amusing once or twice, but quickly grows old.
Yet I was very pleased to catch an episode of “Classic Springer.” In my opinion Jerryís apex came, not with the profanity packed, “I have a secret,” brawls, but when the show gave up the pretense of authenticity and Team Springer just started making shit up. The episode I caught is from that period of the show and it is indeed a classic.
Segment One “I Live in a Box”:
A white trash woman has thrown her man out of the house with nothing but his underwear. The man turns a large box into a residence/pair of pants. During the day he uses the box as a five-foot-wide pair of shorts. At night, the box serves as a bed. Heís living on his ladyís lawn and sustaining himself on the bowls of water and bird feed she fills for him each morning. He also follows her about town and serenades her with horrible folk songs. All is captured on video. When their stage appearance goes unfavorably, box man stages a sit-in on Jerryís stage and offers commentary on the rest of the show.
Jerry: So, your cousin comes to you in need of a place to stay and you refuse to take her in unless she allows you to hide under the bed when she is having sex with her lesbian lover?
AUDIENCE ERUPTS IN CHEERS
This guest is in love with his mother and has come on the show to propose a romantic relationship. Video taken at the young manís home moves the premise into the realm of brilliance. He puts on his motherís underwear (after some sniffing). Before long, he assumes a ridiculous falsetto to say things like “sometimes my son doesnít take out the trash and I have to yell at him. But, what I donít know, is that this only turns him on!” On stage, the son rips off his clothes to reveal that he is still wearing momís underwear, thereby inciting her to chase him around the stage for a good two minutes. Picture it.
This stuff is undeniably creative and funny writing that rests somewhere between surrealism and satire. It kind of reminds me of Becketís Molloy as far as being an absurd, funny, abrasive assault on what we are. Whoever came up with this material deserves some credit. More intelligence and originality went into the classic episodes of Springer than into 90% of the slop that wins Emmys.