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 Jessy Raphael. And 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 content, while at the same time standing out above the rest, than the Jerry Springer
and the Oprah Winfrey show. Jerry Springer could easily be considered the king of "trash talk." The topics on his
show are as shocking as they get. 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 a bigger
surprise. As it turns out that all the women haven't been secretly seeing other guys, but seeing other women, who also
happen to be waiting backstage. Another episode tells of a John Wayne Bobbit type case, but with a more twisted
plot. A male cuts off his own manhood 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 ever popular talk show regulars, the members of the Ku Klux
Klan. Clearly, the Jerry Springer show is a display and exploitation of societies moral catastrophes, yet people are
willing to eat up the intriguing predicaments of other peoples 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 is probably the most
immaculate talk show there is. It is unlikely that you will find guest on Oprah that have committed adultery, have sold
their souls to the devil, or are part of a racist hate group. Instead, the show focuses on the improvement of society and
an individuals quality of life. Topics range from teaching your children responsibility, managing your work week,
proper etiquette, getting to know your neighbors and entertaining interviews with celebrities. Not many talk shows are
interested in taking time to teach children right from wrong, or give techniques to get along with people better, but it
seems that the Oprah shows top priority is to educate first , and then entertain. Compared to Oprah, the Jerry Springer
show looks like toxic waste being dumped on society. Still, there are times when Jerry Springer has made an effort to
help the troubled people on his show. The most notable is when he has helped extremely obese people get to the
hospital and help them turn their lives around. The entire process is still taped for its entertainment value, but at least
something good came out of it. Jerry also ends every show with a "final word." He makes a small speech that sums
up the entire moral of the show. Hopefully, this is the part where most people will learn something very valuable.
Even if Oprah is as squeaky clean as it is, the show is not for everyone. The shows main target audience are working
middle-class Americans. A vast majority of these people usually have the time, money, and stability to deal with life's
tougher problems. Jerry Springer, on the other hand, has more of an association with the the young adults of society.
These are your 18 -21 year-olds whose main troubles in life involve love, relationship, sex, pregnancy, money, peers
and influence. They are the ones who see some value and lessons to be learned underneath the show's exploitation.
While these two talk shows are as different as night and day, both have ruled the talk show circuit for many years
now. Each one caters to a different audience while both have a strong following from legions of fans. Ironically, both
could also be considered pioneers in the talk show world. Jerry Springer's crude and vulgar topics may be