Tuesday, May 25, 2010

That's it and that's all

All across the country, there are college sophomores finishing up their second year of school. Many of them are finally deciding on a major, one they will likely change a couple of times before finally graduating. A good portion of them are also figuring out that, in the words of Dean Wormer, 'Fat, drunk and stupid is no way to go through life,' although if I could find a way to do just that, I'd seriously consider it as an alternative to what I've got going for me now.

These are students who have spent the past two decades living in a world where they can barely remember life without the internet. They've never known a world with two separate Germanys and the Soviet Union was something made learning the countries in Asia much easier for kids in the 80s. They likely have very little, if any, recollection of ALF and Pac Man is that thing that freaked them out on Google the other day.

They've also never experienced life without Law & Order in their lives. Beginning in 1990, the show has been a staple of NBC where it anchored its Wednesday night lineup for more than a decade. Then its effort to show the effects of 'Not Leaving Well Enough Alone' the dumbasses in charge thought moving Law & Order would be a good idea. Even in the era of DVRs and Hulu, it felt weird knowing Law & Order wasn't holding down the Wednesday night at 10 p.m.

And so, on May 24, the last new episode of Law & Order aired. Granted, there's still Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Law & Order: Criminal Intent and the new Law & Order: Los Angeles, (airing this fall on NBC) and the ubiquitous reruns, but seeing the mother ship sail off to retirement is a little unsettling. I started watching when I was about 13 when I came across the reruns on A&E. I watched every chance I could, still watch the reruns I've seen dozens of times and have generally made Yes Dear hate the show because it was always on.

So what better way to send the show off that with a running diary. Here's what transpired.

10 p.m. - In the criminal justice system, the people are represented by two separate but equally important groups - the police who investigate crimes, and the district attorneys who prosecute the offenders. These are their stories. I assume this is the first thing they teach you in law school.

10:01 - A guy has pictures of girls and guns on his blog. Apparently this makes one a freak, at least to the dad on L&O who has apparently never been on the interwebs.

10:02 - I've long believed that the theme music for L&O should be played at the beginning of every trial or court proceeding. Greatest theme music of this generation.

10:05 - The Bing.com commercial confuses me. I think I'll stick with Google.

10:07 - Olympic skiier Lindsey Vonn is apparently making a guest appearance on the show. She's going to make a fortune in syndication.

10:09 - While I sympathize with the cancer treatments of Lt. Van Buren, one of the great aspects of L&O is that it it never delved into the lives of the characters. The crime was the story.

10:11 - Basic plot so far, blogger has video of pipe bombs on his site, cops think it could be something that may blow up an NYC block. Wild goose chase to ensue.

10:13 -  The potential bomber wants to blow up a school, according to his website. And if there's one thing we all know it's that everything on the internet is true. There are strict controls on the interweb, they don't let just anybody put stuff up on here.

10:19 - The counterterrorism guy just delivered his lines as though he was reading them for the first time. I hope he doesn't make it big or I'm going to look like an (even bigger) idiot for criticizing him.

10:21 - note to self, don't post crazy stuff on my blog, apparently some detectives may think it's a credible threat. (Note to any law enforcement reading this, nothing on here is serious and should not be construed as a credible threat.)

10:24 - A girl met a guy at a skating rink. Do the kids still go to those? I'm so out of touch.

10:26 - Commercial break means I can now say I'm confused by how a posting on a blog is deemed to be a credible threat that takes up the time of two homicide detectives (wouldn't threatening to blow up a school be something for the counterterrorism unit) and two assistant district attorneys. Granted, the postings seem to be focused and determined, but if the police and DAs spend these amounts of resources on the internet, they're going to be spending a lot of time chasing pranks and kids being stupid.

10:29 - The Hamm Hearing Center is run by John Hamm. First he stars in Mad Men, and now he's an ear doctor. This man is incredibly talented.

 10:34 - Still no luck finding the writer of the blog. I miss the days when someone was arrested by 10:30 and the next half hour was spent prosecuting someone. The duality of the show is what made it special. Sadly, as it went on, more and more time has been spent on the investigation and less and less in the courtroom. I can get police dramas anywhere, but quality courtroom dramas are not as prevalent. I learned more about the way the law and trials worked from LO then from any other book, show or class I took, including a law class in undergrad.

10:41 -I agree with Richard Belzer that 'Donk Donk' sound is 'the Dick Wolf Cash Register Sound'

10:42  - Apparently the cardinal rule of teaching is 'you never hit a student.' You need a rule for that?

10:45 - The mysterious blogger may be a teacher, not a student. Not exactly the plot twist L&O has come to be known for.

10:48 - Jack McCoy makes his first appearance in the show. The greatest character ever on the show. I hated when they made him DA. However, he's showing his flair and temper. I want McCoy to be my District Attorney. He's going off. Well worth the 48 minutes to get him into the show.

10:50 - As expected, McCoy gets what he wants, a teacher agrees to give up the name of the teacher they're trying to identify.

10:51 - I couldn't be a cop. They pulled right up to a place where they think a bomb's about to go off. They're running into the school while everyone else is running out. Then again, the teacher's also going with the cops. I'm better off not getting one of those jobs.

10:54 - I know I complained about the lack of a courtroom portion of the show, but this is pretty damn dramatic. The police get the alleged blogger, a former teacher falsely accused of molesting a student.

10:56 - Lt. Van Buren's cancer has apparently not spread. Good news.

10:57 - And we fade to black, thus drawing to an end the show I've watched more than any other show not named SportsCenter. Fortunately, it lives on in syndication for years to come.

11:00 - After reading about the ending of LOST (and I didn't watch the show, so I can't comment on how it ended), L&O ended about how I expected it to. There was no 'end' to the show because there's really no end. Crimes will still be committed, police will still investigate them and the district attorneys will still prosecute the offenders. We just won't hear as many of their stories now.

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