In the mid-to-late 1980s, Morton Downey Jr. popularized the notion that a talk show wasn’t complete unless the guests came to blows before the evening was out. And while Mort’s show flamed out pretty quickly, Jerry Springer would quickly pick up the idea and run with it, making it into an American television institution that continues on low-rent talk shows to this day.
And it’s gone international! As John Podhoretz writes, “Now This Is Great TV — Via Bad Rachel, I present to you perhaps the finest piece of television of the 21st century and a peculiarly fascinating example of the freedom we’ve helped bring to Iraq.” As you might have guessed from the pixelated word in the thumbnail, there are a few four and five letter words that appear in the captioning, so consider this a language warning of sorts — but again, anybody who watches American TV shouldn’t be surprised by our influence in that department as well:
To be fair though, having a rumble in front of a chromakeyed backdrop is far better than institutionalized beheadings and amputations, so perhaps that actually is progress of a sort. Nobody said democracy — not to mention the medium of television — was pretty.