Wednesday, July 13, 2011

You Are What You Watch

I have to wean myself off the murder and mayhem.  You know, “Cold Case Files,” “The Investigators,” and “Body of Evidence.”  My husband is starting to worry about himself.  He wonders if I’m studying all this stuff for a reason.

 I’m not planning to do anything weird.  But he seems concerned, so I’ll make the effort until he’s more comfortable.  Heh, heh, heh.

 It all started with “Law & Order,” the original.  I just fell in love with Homicide Detective Lenny Briscoe.  Who wouldn’t?  A little bit world weary, a little bit My Favorite Uncle, Lenny just makes the murder seem… normal.  A natural part of life.  His life anyway.

Lenny gets lied to in every episode.  Maybe it’s all those years I spent as a high school principal, but I can relate.  I got lied to, too.  Kids make up a lot of stuff to protect themselves and their friends. 

Lenny just shakes his head and points out the inconsistency to the prevaricator of the moment.  Sometimes they stare, dumbfounded, stunned that they’ve been figured out (I love that).  Other times, they leap to another lie, to shore up the first failed one.  Either way, they’ve been had. 

 I learned lots from Lenny.

Then there’s Assistant District Attorney Jack McCoy.  Flawed, driven, beautiful to behold.  Just like Jack, I loved getting the bad guy and bringing him to justice.  That’s probably my flaw too.

Anyway, from there it wasn’t too far to “Law & Order: SVU,” “Law & Order: LA,” “Law & Order:  Downtown Newark.”  (It got a little silly and much less compelling with all the spin offs.) 
That’s when I branched out to “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.”  OK.  But some of the wannabes display an unsavory focus on the gore.  Have you ever seen “Bones?”  They want to gross you out!  Eyeballs slipping from their sockets, larvae in telling stages of development.  But the characters are so loveable, you just have to watch.

I felt mature when I graduated to “Forensic Files.”  They don’t make it a funny story.  They don’t dwell on the sex lives of the detectives.  They talk about the evidence, ma’am.  Just the facts.  They follow the minutiae right down to the bad guy, and they NEVER give up.  I love that the best.

You can run, but we’re never going to forget the miss-folded flap on this envelop found next to the body.  Only YOU could have left it there because we found out you worked at the factory where the machine miss-folded all those flaps that day ten years ago!  Ha!  Ha! 

But I digress. 

My husband has been eyeing me suspiciously, maybe because a fair share of the stories on “City Confidential,” for example, profile a conniving woman who goes from man to man, sizing up his bank account, and wheedling her way into his heart, only to poison him and cremate him before swooping off to Miami. 
He hates Miami.  All the humidity and bugs. 

That, along with being forced down onto my back with a relentless muscle spasm that’s lasted for days on end, has me shopping around for more wholesome television fare.  It’s not that hard to find, though you must measure your dose of budding new talent shows and wend your way through “real” housewives from assorted locales.  Now that will drive you to murder. 
There’s plenty of ghost watching so long as you don’t tire of green-lit scenarios in run-down houses with the host telling you it just got cold where he’s standing.  I admit one of the celebrity ghost stories creeped me out.  But I didn’t recognize the celebrity, so where’s the thrill? 

Biography Channel seemed promising until I spent an hour with Jennifer Anniston.  Don’t get me wrong, she’s adorable, and a very good comic actress.  But an hour?  She was born in Sherman Oaks.  She dyed her hair purple and acted in high school plays.  Imagine.
So I’m on to the Science Channel with Morgan Freeman.  We’ve traveled through the wormhole to the birth of the universe and repulsive gravity.  Really.

I’ve watched “How It’s Made” until I want to blow it up.  Come on.  A pipe wrench?  A snowplow?  OK.  Fascinating.  Who knew. 

Here’s the cruelest twist of all:  my husband doesn’t want to hear about the skateboard factory, or the giant sewing machine that stitches the stars on 224 flags at a time.  See, that’s just wrong. 

It’s the very kind of thing that could put a bad idea into a woman’s mind.