Friday, December 23, 2016

1737 The Cheap Channels You Watch in Secret

Carl Marino (l)  plays the young Joe Kenda on TV. Joe Kenda today.

Reviewers never give the cheap channels a break.  Critics are always ready to tell you all about the latest sitcom or cop show or doctor show.  They’re always ready to assess the latest unfunnyness from Jimmy Fallon or Jimmy Kimmel or Stephen Colbert.

They’ll give you 800 well chosen words about the Miss Teenage America pageant, the Oscars, the Tonys, the Emmys, the Golden Globes, the VMAs, the MTVs.

They’ll talk about “Today” or “Good Morning America” or “CBS This Morning” at the drop of a cooking segment followed by a makeup segment followed by a live shot from Aleppo.

But no one cuts the cheap channels a break.  There are do-it-yourself and food and home flipping channels, pawn shop shows, evangelist channels.  There are channels with Law & Order marathons, CSI marathons, Forensic Files marathons.  You name it, there’s a channel for it.

People watch this stuff.  Advertisers, usually car insurance or class action lawyers or the drugs they class action against buy time.

So today, we offer a guide to “ID,” Investigation Discovery.  First, note they have a zillion programs. Second note that they’re all the same story.

“Homicide Hunter,” People Magazine Investigates, Barbara Walters Investigates, Paula Zahn Investigates, Chris Hansen Investigates, Tamron Hall Investigates.  

All the same. Just different faces.  And then there are the outlandish titles: Behind Mansion Walls, Wives With Knives, The Deadliest Decade, Killer Clergy,  Murder U, Hotel Horrors, Murder Book, Mom-sters, How (not) to Kill Your Husband, Who the Bleep Did I Marry?
The list is endless.  They churn these things out like Ben and Jerry’s on adderall.

But the stories are always the same.  
  1. Someone is killed.  Someone “everyone” loved. Someone saintly, someone who was “bubbly” or “loving” or a pillar of the community or “like our town’s mayor.”
  2. Police are called in at about :10 minutes into the show.
  3. We’re introduced to the doggedly determined investigator.
  4. Police are stymied.
  5. By about :20 in, the case threatens to “go cold.” But…
  6. Just before the half hour mark they get a “much needed break in the case and arrest someone.
  7. For the next ten minutes they talk about the suspect’s background.  His criminal history, his secret second life.  But then, he turns out to be the wrong guy.  His alibi checks out or his DNA or fingerprints don’t match those at the crime scene. Something.
  8. By :45 in, they’ve got their man (or woman.)
  9. By :55, they’ve solved it.  And in under three minutes, the accused is arrested, tried and convicted.
Always “closure for the victim’s family.”  Almost always a cop who “can’t let go of the case and finally gets his killer.

The name of the show doesn’t matter.  What matters is how many times you see Flo or the Gecko or “We are Farmers, ‘dum-da-dumdum… dum dum dum” or The General, now paired with Shaquille O'Neal instead of his former partner, a penguin in a sports car.

What matters is closure. Tears, but still a happy ending.

Now, you never have to watch because you know what to watch for.

Today’s quote:
-“If you kill (long pause) I will find you.” -- Lt. Joe Kenda of the Colorado Springs PD (ret.)

Best wishes for a joyous Christmas, a happy Hanukkah and Kwanzaa and any other holiday that falls or begins on or about this weekend.

I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
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© WJR 2016

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