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Something Is Not Right

Curmudgeon here, peeking from between my fingers at TV once more as the blood runs like the bulls at Pamplona.

I caught the end of Criminal Minds between innings of the game on Fox to find a birthday party. Now, in my day, a birthday party meant Uncle Bill, supposedly in Nairobi building a hotel or something, rushing, loaded down with presents, to surprise Buffy and Jody.

It would be Jan Brady thinking nobody wanted to come to her party when, in reality, Alice had just put the wrong date on the invitation.

It would be Gilligan somehow finding a secret storehouse of backlot props to recreate a Kansas State Fair for Mary Anne's birthday or Ricky forgetting Lucy's birthday, with hilarious results ensuing.

That was then, this is now. At this kids birthday party, a deranged killer strung out on drugs is holding a knife to a young partygoer's neck, barking at him to shoot his own mother with an AKA 47. Had the pinata been a human head stuffed with date-rape drugs, I would not have been surprised.

The show ended with some more of that dime-store philosophy that is supposed to suggest the kind of philsophical deep-think meant to justify subjecting me to this  weekly gore-fest. Forget the violence, the dialog is sufficient torture by itself. "Stilted" had not found its true definition prior to this show.

OK, back to the game.

With Detroit ahead, I switched over to CSI: NY having seen a promo for it that suggested the show might have outdone itself, and everyone else, in the gratuitous violence department. I was not disappointed. Well I was with human nature and TV nature in general, but you know what I mean.

CSI: NY featured the body of a decapitated bikini-clad coed hanging from a ceiling fan. The show cut to the body numerous times, including the cross-section of the neck in all its special affects glory.

How is that game going. Detroit still ahead. Back to the bloodletting.

When I clicked back, it was to the woman's severed head being autopsied. Then there was the guy who had railroad spikes driven through his eye sockets, his eyes suffed in his pockets.

That was the same guy who was robbing banks, making the customers and employees strip and simulate sex with each other in front of family members and strangers. Just the kind of personal service I don't want my increasingly impersonal bank to engage in. Oops, sorry, that was the previous show, this was just a sicko kid punishing people to avenge his brother's death.

None of this was left to my imagination, not that my imagination is that good when it comes to imagining the most horrible things imaginable over and over again, with the names of different shows attached. These shows dwell on the wounds and bodies in the most sickeningly voyeuristic way.

Perhaps they think that by not showing the actual crime, only the horrid aftermath in graphic detail, they are sparing me. They're not.

While I was watching,  I was encouraged to tune to other shows like Close to Home, where I would find out what it's like to be the daughter of a serial killer, or Without a Trace, where a young girl was beaten and forced to have an abortion.

Then there was the promo for CSI, the mothership, where a gang of kids appeared to be beating someone to death.

But, hey, maybe it's just me. No, no it's not just me. To quote Ms. Clavell: Something is not right.

 By John Eggerton