March 26th, 2004

Tom Lehrer is Smug


CNN Entertainment is reporting that Jerry Orbach is mulling over leaving Law & Order at the end of this season and possibly moving to the fourth spinoff, Law & Order: Cajun-Style (er, no, wait, Law & Order: Moon Unit Zappa ... no, no, wait, there are too many joke titles and not enough time.)

At any rate, I can understand if Orbach feels like he's being creatively hemmed in -- you gotta admit that L&O is currently using one of the most played out, albeit wildly successful formulas on television today. I mean, every episode these days turns out like this:
  1. "In the criminal justice system, the people are represented by two separate, yet equally important groups: The police, who investigate crime, and the district attorneys who prosecute the offenders. These are their stories." (Can't believe I forgot this point the first time around)
  2. Body is discovered in ironic fashion by random people. It's dead.
  3. Kchung-kchunggg! Detectives Green and Briscoe show up, Briscoe makes wry, ironic joke concerning victim.
  4. Opening credits.
  5. Suspects and witnesses are questioned. If there's a father involved, he's sanctimonious yet sleazy and you immediately hate him outright, regardless of his eventual guilt or innocence. If there's a mother involved, she's an overprotective shrew and/or a shrill harpy. If there's a high school-age girl involved, she's sleeping with her teacher. Regardless of whodunnit, everybody's guilty of chewing their own scenery and it's all a lot of fun.
  6. We may have to go to a bar, in which case we learn -- again -- that Briscoe doesn't drink. Also, he's divorced. And proud of it.
  7. Briscoe badgers a suspect in interrogation. Van Buren is all sassy. Kchung-kchungggg.
  8. Eventually they uncover some other crime that has happened, that suspect is brought in, charges pressed, and we forget all about the homicide case.
  9. Enter that Courtroom Captain of Cool, that Dynamite DA, "Fightin" Jack McCoy and his Hot ADA, who gets to go up during the arraignment (usually before the sleepy, bored-looking old judge) and argue that the accused is a flight risk. No matter who was charged for what crime, they're always a flight risk.
  10. But wait! There's an obnoxious defense attorney representing the accused! S/he argues that his/her client ought to go free on account of them being such a good sport and all! OH DON'T FALL FOR THAT TRAP, SLEEPY BORED-LOOKING OLD JUDGE!
  11. Obnoxious Attorney and McCoy have at it in conference, usually arguing over who's going to make the first offer.
  12. Legal Technicality!
  13. Legal Counter-Technicality!
  14. Final statements! McCoy is eloquent and grand as usual! The jury agrees! Obnoxious Attorney shakes his/her fist while Jack celebrates with a minty Mentos: The Freshmaker.
  15. It's a victory, but bittersweet for some reason. Maybe it involves a baby. I dunno. Hot ADA always looks glum, but Jack and the old DA dude seem to have words of wisdom that fit just right.
  16. Executive Producer: Dick Wolf

Oh, and while I'm on the Orbach kick, which comedian had the routine where they'd sing "Try To Remember" and forget the words, getting stuck on "Try to remember..."? Good times, good times.
Tom Lehrer is Smug

Happy anniversary

March 26th marks one year to the day where I got to work by 11 (my usual time) and noticed they were "fixing" the electronic badge locks on the side door to the office. By 6:00 the VP of Customer Service had informed the dozen or so of us on night crew that we "were no longer employed" by the company and we were herded into little alcoves to discuss severance with HR drones.

I had less than a week before I was moving in to a new apartment. Abbie had just earned himself a $600 vet's bill. And I was petrified.

And in a way, I still am.