Springer’s Baggage: “Dysfunction is not a Competition”

So, Jerry Springer has another show called, “Baggage.”

I’ve got to admit, it is actually pretty interesting to see contestants work on a decision to go on a first date as they learn a few secret flaws in one another. I confess I haven’t been much of a fan of Springer in the past, and I don’t know that Baggage will win me over. I’ve always thought we should have a bumper sticker based on Springer’s other show. The sticker would simply say, “Dysfunction is not a Competition.”
Well, in keeping with his game, we have a new form of dysfunction-is-competition from Mr. Springer. But first, on the good side, Jerry always tries to bring some moral lesson to light in terms of tolerance, forgiveness, and remembering we are all flawed humans. I honestly think he believes what he’s saying— but his delivery system for the message is pretty much just entertainment with a generous portion of hype.
The Point is Good
The point of telling the truth and learning the awful secrets we all (supposedly) have is right on. Surely we should all do ‘due diligence’ to find out what kind of person we are moving toward building a life with. Surprises are great when they are good, but awful when they are bad. Getting couples to tell the truth makes sense and seems harmless enough, right?

The Point is Bad

Unfortunately, off the bat most of us can understand that divulging our ‘baggage’ to other people we don’t know on national television is, to say the least, bad form. To do so with an eye on deciding to go on a date is just downright silly. The silliness is multiplied by the artificial nature of of a TV show and a dopamine-driven audience which could just as easily be at
WrestleMania. My apologies to the memory of Andre the Giant.
Some Perspective
I make the case in Glaen: A Novel Message on Romance, Love, and Relating, that there are two things that go into a great long-lasting relationship:

  1. Chemistry
  2. Basis

Chemistry has to do with whether or not there is any attraction or connection with the other person. Basis has to do with the shared values needed to build a life together. Basis is really about understanding if there are any deal-killers in play. You know, if you don’t want to have any children and your spouse-to-be wants lots of children—well there’s a problem! It really can be anything and it is important to tell the truth. Yet, on a first date and on national television; don’t you have to wonder if it’s a fair shake? People actually grow sometimes and yet, some do not! I watched an episode that had as the ‘baggage’ a final unveiling that our contestant would never move out of his momma’s house because she cooked, cleaned, and could babysit the kids as they grew up. All I could think about is that at least The Waterboy (Adam Sandler) moved out of his momma’s house. Here are a few of the questions I’ve been asked about Springer’s Baggage show:

  • How soon is too soon to tell the truth?
  • Do you freak out the other person on the first date?
  • Is it OK to keep some secrets (even if you end up getting married)?
  • How is the best way to discuss “baggage” without overreacting?
  • Should some things be “deal-breakers”?  How do you know if you honestly want to know?

Well, clearly there isn’t much of a point freaking out the other person on the first date; only a person with issues would like that! Basically, I can’t see the wisdom in continuing to date someone you know for a fact you would never marry. That is just ridiculously unkind unless they get it too and agree. Of course, then it really isn’t quit dating; rather, it’s a couple of folks sharing a rent car for companionship on a drive to getting dropped off at the Match.com national headquarters.

I believe the more truth the better, but I would offer a couple of boundaries:

  1. The other person honestly wants to know the truth
  2. It’s private (respectful)

Forcing information on someone who doesn’t want to know the gory details is not actually showing much respect for their freedom. Blabbing it out in front of a crowd does show much respect for the relationship. I get it, Springer’s show is a gag…but people can turn gags into grandiose experiments. Why not just ask if they want to know? They may not, but you are
better for offering.
Glaen is the unfolding story of someone learning what real relating is all about, all the while avoiding the 7 Fatal Mistakes of Dating. It does involve being true to yourself and and truthful to the other person. You’ll never get there without the truth, but Springer’s approach overshoots the runway by two canyons and a bottomless lake.
I’d recommend a careful reading of Glaen, but you can watch Springer for one simple reason; there is a macabre comfort in seeing that your baggage isn’t as bizarre at least one other person. You might also see why the person you’ve got (or may have soon) ain’t so bad!

Remember: Dysfunction is not a competition!

1 comment to Springer’s Baggage: “Dysfunction is not a Competition”

  • Ivan

    Hi, I’m intersting with your show “Baggage”
    So I would love to know more about it, like:
    Which conditions must I have to be selected,
    Is it trou you win your date for really, or is just game,
    How to play that game?
    Can you play that game when are not in USA?

    Ivan I.

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