Since telling cable TV extortionists, err Comcast, exactly where they can stick their high-speed cable, my boyfriend and I have developed an unusual pattern to TV viewing. Banished from the luxury of casual channel surfing we are forced to find something of substance to watch on Zune, Netflix or Hulu. We have become what I call “show stalkers.”
The side effect of this is two-fold: my boyfriend gets a near permanent mulligan on Xbox gaming (nice eh?) so he can earn points on Zune to buy better quality shows and movies. The other symptom is that once we find a show we like, we tend to get stuck on it. At one point I think we were taking down two seasons of 30 Rock per week. The pattern is simple: Hunt down show. Devour. Repeat.
After we examine the wreckage of what we’ve done, we can be a bit at a loss. We wait for the next available New Girl to pop up, or use episodes of the Daily Show, Soup and other staples to tide us over, waiting for the next big “catch.”
The catch we made a recently was a doozy, and one libel to make you guys get all judgey on me. We’re addicted to COPS.
We put it on one night as a joke and spent the next 20 minutes watching slack-jawed. Insane, inappropriate behavior, action, danger, choices over right and wrong… What modern reality shows try to attain with loads of scripting and forced situations, this show has naturally in spades.
I’ve avoided Cops for its full 25 seasons, shrugging off the spare filming and shame-inducing displays of America’s poor at their worst. My own inherent fear and distrust of cops, and frustration with a justice system that punishes crack more harshly than cocaine and puts people away for dime bags of weed, is also a bias I couldn’t get past. To get all social justice-y about Cops however, does it a disservice. It’s a window into particular world, one that is:
Funnier than Reno 911-
- A woman flags down the cops as they drive by, to complain that she has gotten ripped off. Instead of receiving a crack rock, her dealer gave her a baggie with a piece of plaster. She demands the cops help her get her 20 dollars back.
- The cops are called to a domestic disturbance, which turns out to be a food fight. A couple and their kitchen is covered with eggs, flour, and jam. “Looks like you didn’t leave any condiment out,” one cop observes.
- A heroin addict, busted for breaking and entering, asks the cops before they shut the door: “I’m super thirsty, do think we could stop and get a slushie?”
- Two people are caught rolling around naked on the ground of a front lawn. The cop can barely contain her laughter as the couple drunkenly tries to explain how their escapade has moved from lawn to lawn.
- The “hehe, panties” guy (watch this, trust me!):
A reminder that cops are people too- Sometimes they are dicks, and sometimes they show incredible kindness to people they just had to hop three fences to catch. Some are burly and others are towered over by giant transvestites. They get shot at, bit, beat up; not something your average person has to face while walking to the office copy machine. Living with that kind of stress is enough to make anyone hit the donuts pretty hard.
Proof of a real life zombie apocalypse- It’s not coincidental that almost every incident on the show involves someone who is high off their butt. Meth heads in particular are super scary, acting like shadows of people. In one episode a guy, awake for eight days straight on meth, crashes into a car with three kids. The family is ok, but the perp isn’t very sympathetic, barely able to focus his vision on the cops as they ask him questions. All meth dude can say is, “I’m sorry, but that’s just the way it worked out man.”
A way to identify different species of drug addicts- Twitchy, paranoid, spaced, incoherent, stumbling, nervous- It’s interesting to try and call out what particular drug is involved before the cops do, or searches are performed. Trickier, and certainly deserving of bonus points if you make this a play-at-home game, is when there’s a combo of drugs involved, or something unusual like spice or bath salts.
Like Nancy Drew, with tasers- Oh the lies! Often the lies perps attempt to put together fall apart as fast as clothes from a Wal-Mart clearance rack. Sometimes a slightly less-intoxicated person will craft a story that seems more feasible…The fun part is finding the fatal flaw or inconsistency in the tale: “Oh, now you don’t know where you put the baseball bat?”
Anyone else have a favorite Cops moment? Do you love the show, are sick of it, or think it’s evidence of the downfall of society?