Moments That Should've Gotten Springer Kicked Off TV

Unbelievably, The Jerry Springer Show has aired for 25 years, surviving way longer than anything TV Guide dubbed as the "worst show of all-time" has the right to. This is an especially incredible feat when you consider all the times Springer went so over-the-line that it absolutely should have been cancelled. These are episodes and moments when the show deviated from its usual "you cheated on me and I'm mad" formula, and instead went to a much, much darker and more deplorable place.

"I Married A Horse"

In 1998, Springer dug into a topic way more controversial than any before it, because everything before it was at least legal. But the "I Married A Horse" episode was about exactly what you would think: beastiality. A man had fallen in love with his horse and wanted to walk down the aisle with it, and couldn't understand why people would think him strange, or criminal, for it. He was joined onstage by a man and a woman, both of whom had fallen head over heels for their dogs, because, in their view, at least the dogs wouldn't abuse them (yes, this was how one of them defended their actions). During his "Final Thought," Jerry condemned their "love," like it mattered any. He already gotten plenty of ratings and attention, and he knew it. Too bad the networks allowed him to earn much, much more of both for years after.

Anytime They Invited The KKK

The only people who get more airtime on Springer than jilted lovers are members of the Ku Klux Klan. Why this is, we've never understood—a way for the more racist members of the Springer audience to feel better about themselves, perhaps?—but after the second instance of the show giving a literal murderous hate group the attention they so clearly crave, everyone involved should have gotten the boot. At the very least, the episode where an angry African-American and Jewish man attack a group of Klansmen the second they walk on stage should have been enough. Serial killers don't appear on talk shows, so why extend that privilege to people who would be serial killers if they thought, for even one second, that they could get away with it?

"I Want To Marry My Step-Mom"

Springer guests have a reputation for being inbred rednecks with zero self-awareness about why everybody's laughing at them, and episodes like 2010's "I Want To Marry My Step-Mom," do nothing but reinforce that. A young man, clad in a tux because suddenly Jerry's stage doubles as a chapel, declared his love for his step-mother, which is the most stereotypically redneck thing you can possibly do, aside from fall in love with your actual mom. The young man's father confronted and argued with him as Springer guests do. That is until the step-mom took to the stage to defend her young lover. And yes, she wore a wedding gown, just to make this whole thing even more absurd. Mother and son even got "married" on the stage, though since every priest within 500 miles was too busy hurling to actually attend the ceremony, it would appear the nuptials were unofficial. Sadly, no immediate axing of the show ever became official.

"Family Affairs"

Back to 1998, which, in hindsight, was the perfect year to end this intelligence-insulting sham of a show. Further case in point: the episode "Family Affairs," where Springer stopped side-stepping pure incest (usually, guests sleep with step-family) and instead tackled it head-on. A woman lost her husband because she was having sex with her own sister. A teenager slept with her half-brother and got pregnant, only to dump him for his brother (at least she's finally dating outside of her bloodline). To top it off, a woman not only slept with her twin sister (behind her boyfriend's back), but they planned to turn their relationship into a lucrative porn career. The only possible upside to this episode was that nobody fought, though that's like saying the only upside to getting shot in the chest is that your leg is fine.

Using An Outdated, Offensive Transgender Slur…In 2014

Of all the minorities who Springer regularly exploits for cheap laughs, few have it worse than transgender people. So on the surface, an episode called "T****ies Twerk It Out" is, sadly, not out of the ordinary. Except this episode aired in 2014, long after it became crystal-clear that t***** was an offensive slur, no better than the N-word. And yet, Springer used it anyway. After the Internet called him out for it, Jerry appeared on TMZ and apologized, saying "I've just been educated...I won't use that term. I honestly had no idea that you're not supposed to use that term, so now we'll find another term to use." On the one hand, at least he admitted he was wrong. On the other took him and his show until 2014 to figure that out, and we had to yell at them before they did so? If that's not a sign this show needed to be taken out back and shot years ago, what is?

The Woman Who Cut Off Her Own Legs

In the hands of an actual talk show, 2007's "I'm Happy I Cut Off My Legs" would likely be a fine episode. The subject—a woman who felt psychologically compelled to amputate both of her legs—would probably make for a fascinatingly informative topic. But since we're talking about Springer, naturally they treated this woman's plight as nothing but a bizarre, wacky sideshow. Jerry played with a circular saw (the tool the woman used to self-amputate) as the audience laughed and applauded. When the woman came out, the show played a cuckoo clock sound effect, because it's easier to call someone crazy than actually delve deep into their psyche. And when Jerry asked why she mutilated herself, her response of "I didn't want them, my brain just kept saying 'get rid of them'" prompted yet more laughter. Jerry Springer usually punches down, but this time, it punched straight to the bottom of the grave.

That Time A Spat On The Show Led To A Real-Life Murder

On the surface, the July 24, 2000 episode of Springer wasn't anything special. The topic was love triangles, and a woman named Nancy Campbell argued with her ex-husband, Ralf Panitz, and his new wife—the usual Jerry fodder. But this time, the show that many believe is too outrageous to be real turned deadly. Months after taping the show, an allegedly drunken Panitz tracked Campbell down and strangled her to death. He was quickly arrested, and is currently serving a life sentence for second-degree murder. Though Campbell's son sued Springer for manipulating, according to the lawsuit, "a mood that led to murder," it's pretty clear that a mere lawsuit isn't enough. Once somebody lost their life because a trashy gabfest just had to shock its audience once more, that should've also been the last time.