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Bad Boys and Naughty Girls!

You’ve gotta hand it to Jerry Springer—he’s milking his success for every last penny. The man who put the “sin” in “syndication” isn’t content merely having usurped Oprah Winfrey as the nation’s top-rated chatterbox. He has now signed book and movie deals and has direct-marketed no fewer than nine home videos, four of which will soon be available in stores.

These titles are being released, ironically enough, by a company called Real Entertainment. The tapes’ hair-pulling, chair-hurling brawls may or may not be real, but they’re too depressingly redundant to qualify as entertainment. Springer has done more than 1,400 shows, yet the same clips keep turning up. Still, there are subtle differences, which I’ll outline as a service to consumers unsure which one meets their special needs.

If you like to watch strippers pouring goo onto their bulbous boobs, Jerry Springer: Too Hot for TV!—Deluxe Edition is for you. Repackaging the original Springer video previously available only through TV ads and the Internet, the tape opens with a perfunctory introduction from Jerry (“It’s a crazy world—have fun with it!”), followed by a haphazardly edited montage of three kinds of clips: women fighting, men fighting, and strippers pouring goo onto their bulbous boobs. The former Cincinnati mayor disingenuously paints himself as a patriot in his “Final Thought” (“If we permit only those views which the majority of us hold, then you and I are free only so long as we agree with the majority”), which is followed by 10 minutes of “extra-hot bonus footage” of strippers pouring goo onto their bulbous boobs.

If you desire a pretense of respectability, check out The Best of Jerry Springer. Promising a behind-the-scenes peek at the Jerry Springer Show, this quasi-documentary features interviews with the host and his staff. Springer recalls how he was groomed to be the new Phil Donahue, and we see a snippet of a segment he did with homeless people in New York City. But “once we started aiming young,” Springer says, “then we started going crazy.” (Oh, those demon demographics!) Following this two-minute history lesson, Best gives viewers what they apparently want: fights, fights, and more fights (at least six of which are also on Too Hot for TV!).

If you need context, Secrets and Surprises! is right up your alley. A disembodied narrator offers lame intros (“And who could forget these…?”) to extensive excerpts—up to six minutes!—from episodes in which guests reveal supposedly shocking news. Alas, there are only three types of secrets: I’m sleeping with somebody else; I’m really a man/woman; I’m sleeping with somebody else, and it’s a man/woman.

If you think domestic abuse is a hoot, Bad Boys and Naughty Girls! has your name all over it. Boasting the most vicious fights from Springer’s most recent season, Bad Boys offers the novel sight of men pushing and slapping women, some of whom claim to be pregnant. They’re cheered on by the studio audience, who probably yell “Jump!” at suicidal people on top of buildings.

While there are more Springer tapes available by mail order—including Too Hot for TV! 2, Wild Relationships!, and I Refuse to Wear Clothes!—none includes the racy footage that reportedly exists: Springer’s hotel romp with a guest and her stepmom. Guess that one’s really too hot for TV. Too Hot for TV!—Deluxe Edition: D The Best of Jerry Springer: D+ Secrets and Surprises!: D- Bad Boys and Naughty Girls!: F

Bad Boys and Naughty Girls!
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