Saturday, April 17, 2010

C.O.P.S. -- The guiltiest of guilty TV pleasures

While watching C.O.P.S. a friend said to me: "Have you heard my C.O.P.S. rant?"

No, I hadn't.

"That's the best show on TV," he said. "You know why? It shows the real America. I've suggested before it should be shown to immigrants. They can then be asked, 'Sure you want to move here? Because that's going to be your neighborhood!'"

Also, my friend said, "What I want to know is why so many people go on car chases with cops when they have some lame warrant on a ticket? You know damn well if those cameras weren't rolling, they would be getting their asses beaten with a night stick!"

There are quite a number amazing things that occur in any episode of C.O.P.S..

As a writer, I love hearing the convoluted, ever-changing stories told by the captured perps. The most classic was probably the one guy in whose pants pocket the cops found some drugs, and the guy -- without missing a beat -- said they weren't his pants.

What is also amazing, is just how stone-stupid and self-sabotaging the criminals are. Obviously, the vast majority of them are on drugs. They speed with suspended licenses; they do everything possible to alert police or observers that they're up to no good. They just serve themselves up on a platter.

The most puzzling part of the entire program -- and I've been watching since it first came on the air -- is how police react to someone they believe is telling them a lie.

A cop will chase some dirtbag at 120 mph through swamps and garbage dumps. Then they'll engage in foot pursuit through quicksand, the scuzziest drainage ditches, through the scummiest allies and trailer parks, wherever. And the cops will find every sort of contraband on the crooks. Through it all, the cops treat it like they're just doing their job.

Then comes the hackneyed interrogation: "Why'd you run?" the cop asks.

"I don't know," the perp will mumble, "I got scared seeing everybody running at me!"

To which the cop comes back, his voice filled with emotion -- with genuine hurt -- "Don't lie to me, man! After all we've been through!"

I've never understood it. The cops hit the street knowing people are capable of killing their own children, trafficking drugs, stealing anything that's not nailed down, who'll smoke gerbil turds dipped in Drano . . . but somehow, the fact that criminals will also lie escaped these cops' education.

I think the sole reason why drugs haven't been legalized in America is because C.O.P.S. would go off the air. Without drugs, the show wouldn't exist -- most of its audience would find something else to do, and its myriad, unsuspecting guest stars would suddenly be inaccessible.

After all of these years on TV, I genuinely believe that C.O.P.S. has that much pull. That show chooses who'll be the next president, next head of hte UN.

C.O.P.S. is more powerful than the Bilderberg Group.

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