Your RDA of Irony

Eugene’s Lunchtime Theater

Among Eastern Orthodox Christians, it is a custom to keep a votive candle always lit next to the family’s household icon. We Americans have a similar devotion of keeping the television perpetually on. As a child of my times, I couldn’t be expected to eat lunch at home without the accompaniment of the TV. And I can justify my habit by the cultural tutorial I gain.

At least, I am catching up on series that didn’t really interest me in the first place. For instance, by now I have seen every episode of “Crossing Jordan”, the adventures of a crime-solving, sexy coroner. (But aren’t they all?) Of course, after I have watched about five episodes, I had a pretty good idea what every show would be like. It seems our heroine–Jordan– has an unfortunate tendency to wake up drunk next to a corpse and there is always incriminating evidence against her. (The severed head in one hand and the bloody axe in the other could give people the wrong impression.) She then will spend the rest of the episode proving her innocence.

After a five-year run, “Crossing Jordan” was cancelled by NBC. I am surprised that the History Channel did not pick up the show. Think of all the historical murders that our heroine could solve. “Jordan wakes up in a car in Sarajevo. Next to her are the bullet-riddled corpses of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and the Archduchess Sophie; and our heroine is holding the murder weapon. Can she solve the crime before Austria-Hungary and Germany declare war on her?”

Of late, my lunchtime viewing is “Law and Order.” First, how can I avoid a series that been on the air for 230 years and has 98 spin-offs? But the show has a titillating appeal–its “ripped from the headlines” plots. The writers glean the news for names and storylines, and blends them into a sensational recipe–and two months later, there is an episode where Ben Bernanke kills Heath Ledger over incriminating photos of France’s First Lady Carla Bruni. So, two New York detectives have to first talk their way into the French Consul by claiming to be bidet salesmen. After beating a French attache into a confession, they then learn their mistake and that Bernanke was seen murdering Ledger. (Jerry Orbach apologizes to the semiconscious Frenchman by doing a Maurice Chevalier imitation.) And that is just the first 30 minutes. Then, you get to see amazing and horrifying machinations of lawyers. For example, 40 witnesses saw Bernanke strangle Ledger; but Bernanke’s lawyer suppresses their testimony on the grounds that they were violating Mr. Bernanke’s privacy. Although the murder indictment is throw out, the District Attorney manages to convict Bernanke of using the Federal Reserve Board as a front for a porn ring.

And if that particular episode had good ratings, Dick Wolf would plan a new series where Ben Bernanke kills another celebrity each week.

  1. LiberalMetsFan says:

    I’m surprised you haven’t done a marathon of the show that shaped our entire policy for the War on Terror….”24″.

    I wonder how soon after “24” started did Al Gonzales and Bradley Schlozman put Keifer Sutherland’s poster up on their wall.

  2. I won’t watch anything on Fox. Not even baseball games–because the camera would only cover right field.

  3. Brent Hoffmann says:

    Gene: Thanks for admitting an addiction to non-PBS TV. I don’t subscribe to pay-for-view because a cable-ready TV would be like a bowl full of Hershey Kisses. I’d dip into it every time I entered the room, out of habit. And I’d probably dote on “Dog the Bounty Hunter” and “Pimp My Ride” just ’cause they’re there. So I watch HBO, Showtime and popular cable shows later, on rental DVDs. My favorite: “Deadwood,” with dialogue that strips the whitewash off the old bunkhouse. The characters drop f- and s-bombs thoughout every sentence; the men talk rough, too. Producer David Milch (ex-Yale lecturer in English Lit., then writer for “Hill Street Blues” and “NYPD Blue”) also crafted Shakespeare-worthy soliliquies for his frontier rustics. It’s worth renting the first DVD just to enjoy Milch’s dense, prof.-lecturing-grad-students rationale for creating such a vile village in the Dakota Territory of the 1870s. After gold was discovered, said Milch, Deadwood became a world unto itself. “This is the equivalent of the first amphibians coming out of the primordial ooze.” Great, primal stuff — and the mostly-true, three-year series ended with mining magnate George Hearst (father of William Randolph) owning it all. –Brent

  4. rene says:

    “Dog the Bounty Hunter” was a good show. The wedding episode was a classic.

  5. I am surprised that no one has suggested that Jill Hennessey file a restraining order against me. She was the star of “Crossing Jordan” and was part of Sam Waterston’s harem in “Law and Order”.

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