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March 12, 2004 7:30 AM   Subscribe

Did you catch last night's episode of Law and Order? [this is good] (via Milk and Cookies)
posted by leapfrog (39 comments total)

 
They all run together in my head to the point where I swear I've seen some of these...
posted by Space Coyote at 7:43 AM on March 12, 2004


...alternatively, check out this 24 generator
posted by swordfishtrombones at 7:58 AM on March 12, 2004


This little script produces plots that are actually less formulaic than the show itself.
posted by jpoulos at 8:02 AM on March 12, 2004


If the writers for Law and Order are make more than minimum wage, they are overpaid.
posted by pomegranate at 8:03 AM on March 12, 2004


Loving it. I have started to really hate Law & Order after a constant stream of "ripped from the headlines" plots which were ripped from the headlines... for the first five minutes. Then it becomes something new, and usually stupid.

The "ripped from the headlines" plot about a shot NYC councilman turns into an international conspiracy. The "ripped from the headlines" plot about the Puffy/J.Lo club shooting turns into the Puffy-character covering-up for the fact that the J.Lo-character is secretley the shooter. The "ripped from the headlines" plot based on Geraldo's troop-position revealing becomes an anti-war journalist faking his own assisanation at the hands of angry former soldiers. The "ripped from the headlines" plot about the Great Whte concert fire ends up being a secret-daugher conspiracy. It's insulting to both my intelligence and the people involved in the real stories. They'd "rip" 9/11 from the headlines if they could write a script where it suddenly turns out to be the fault of guest star Oliver Platt who was just covering-up his drug problem.

SVU is much better because it's like the entire core cast of Oz went out and passed the Bar exam.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 8:05 AM on March 12, 2004


Scratch that "Are". Apparently I'm not even qualified to be a writer for Law and Order.
posted by pomegranate at 8:06 AM on March 12, 2004


The generator is missing the snappy comebacks dropped by Briscoe just before the opening credits.
posted by grabbingsand at 8:10 AM on March 12, 2004


"SVU is much better..."

Drek is drek. They make policework glamorous and as easy as NYPD blue did:
Go to crime scene, make comment about society, go back to police station. Sit around, talking to each other, random people on phone, sooner or later the perp walks in (or maybe their partner) and confesses.

The show was well written for a couple of years. that was about a decade ago now.
posted by Busithoth at 8:11 AM on March 12, 2004


My secret dream is to run away and become a L&O writer. This just shot my dreams to hell.
posted by CunningLinguist at 8:20 AM on March 12, 2004


This little script produces plots that are actually less formulaic than the show itself.

Did you ever stop to consider the idea that that's why people enjoy it? Because it's formulaic? The shows always been basically Dragnet with more sensationalist crimes. It's something to zone out on while eating your frozen dinner. And there ain't a damn thing wrong with that. It may be a minority opinion, but I have no desire to be "challenged" by TV anymore. I'm challenged enough by my actual life.
posted by jonmc at 8:20 AM on March 12, 2004


The beauty of Law & Order isn't in the original plotlines, it's in the tremendous performances by actors who are trying to make us forget that we saw "Homeless man discovers body of teenaged girl in an alley. Lennie and Ed originally suspect the scummy child molesting mailman, but end up arresting the kind and helpful taxi driver. McCoy and Serena prosecute, but McCoy must overcome the girl's mother's objections to win. The ex-Senator turns off the lights in his office as he spouts of a southern homebaked witticism about dogs that hunt." three times before, once before there was an Ed, Serena or ex-Senator, once before there was a McCoy and once before there was even a Lennie.
posted by Dreama at 8:21 AM on March 12, 2004


SVU is much better because it's like the entire core cast of Oz went out and passed the Bar exam.

Now if only Lee Tergesen would show up as a guest star on L 'n' O SVU, perhaps as Detective Stabler's former, um, partner, the creepy similarity would be complete.
posted by Stoatfarm at 8:31 AM on March 12, 2004


What I like about these shows when I've seen them is when they interview "the friend" or something and it's a guy working at a garden centre who can't take 5 minutes out of his day to talk to the cops. They conduct the interview while he's stacking bags of fertilizer.

It makes for a more kinetic show, so I understand why they do it. I just think the whole thing is a little implausible. And really fun to look for.
posted by ODiV at 8:34 AM on March 12, 2004


The beauty of Law & Order isn't in the original plotlines, it's in the tremendous performances by actors ...

I agree, it's often the execution of the formula that makes any given cop show entertaining, because Cop/Law shows are often formulaic. Much as I like them, the plot of any given episode of L&O, NYPD Blue, CSI, etc. is typically paint-by-numbers -- it's characterization and atmosphere that set them apart from each other, and (usually) make them watchable. NYPD Blue is a good example -- where would that show be without Dennis Franz? They practically spend half of each episode in that tiny interrogation room.

That said, this plot generator is pretty amusing. If I'd have looked at that thinking it was real episodes, I would have definitely thought I'd seen most of them.
posted by markavatar at 8:39 AM on March 12, 2004


NYPD Blue is a good example -- where would that show be without Dennis Franz?

There you go. That's the main appeal of the show is Sipowicz as a surrogate for audience rage. He expresses the ruthlessness and rage in a way that the audience cannot, thus giving us a cathartic release.
posted by jonmc at 8:51 AM on March 12, 2004


I'm really a bigger fan of SVU, but Lenny is just classic. SVU, however has given me a reason to like Ice-T. The verdict is still out on the new ADA -- Alex was just too cute.
I also make my wife call me Stabler.
posted by leapfrog at 8:56 AM on March 12, 2004


everybody knows that L&O is best when you walk in halfway through an episode, and your friends have to explain the plot to you between courtroom monologues.
posted by krunk at 9:00 AM on March 12, 2004


This goes well with the Law & Order Coloring Book...
posted by Robot Johnny at 9:07 AM on March 12, 2004


As an aside, did anyone feel like Mystic River was just a long episode of L&O?
posted by majin at 9:09 AM on March 12, 2004


It's something to zone out on while eating your frozen dinner.

That's the perfect metaphor, isn't it? L 'n' O, SUV, and CI are sort of the Patio Frozen Dinner of TV shows: zesty but never too shocking. You might not brag about being a fan, but sometimes you know that nothing else will do.

Ah, what fond memories of a USA Network L 'n' O-a-thon and a completely misspent 3-day-weekend. And, yep, I really do love Patio Frozen Dinners. Perhaps a lovely little frozen dinner or a TV programming stunt can work as well as a madelene?

Totally WTMI like the "I also make my wife call me Stabler" post, but what the hey, it's Friday.
posted by Stoatfarm at 9:23 AM on March 12, 2004


Totally WTMI like the "I also make my wife call me Stabler" post,

Yeah, you Raiders fans are a sick bunch.
posted by jonmc at 9:32 AM on March 12, 2004


Well, I think it's only fair since she's my Bensen.
posted by leapfrog at 9:58 AM on March 12, 2004


HBO's The Wire is the only cop show worth watching
posted by Mick at 10:04 AM on March 12, 2004


Bensen or Benson, that is the question.
posted by Stoatfarm at 10:32 AM on March 12, 2004


Or Bentsen?
posted by trharlan at 10:46 AM on March 12, 2004


Did you ever stop to consider the idea that that's why people enjoy it? Because it's formulaic?

I'm sorry, jon. Am I being elitist again? I said it was formulaic, you agreed. Where's the problem? Did I say "it's formulaic so it sucks?" You're the one who came up with that.

Once again you're projecting your own issues on everyone else. Stop defending yourself against people who aren't criticizing you.
posted by jpoulos at 10:56 AM on March 12, 2004


Hey, what about Sam Waterston as McCoy? He's one of the best actors around, and I always enjoy his performances. He did a TV film of Glass Managerie years ago that was stunning.

It's kind of disconcerting to see his face on all those brokerage ads. I liked Dennis Franz's post modern approach to ads better. As I recall, he was talking on a Nextel phone explaing to an agent that he doesn't do ads...
posted by jasper411 at 10:57 AM on March 12, 2004


jpoulos: it wasn't meant as a defense. It was an honest theory. People watch TV shows to relax. Formulaic shows are probably more relaxing. That's all.

Chill.
posted by jonmc at 11:01 AM on March 12, 2004


ODiV, yes! Like the cops come and ask about a murder every day. The cops came to my house when I was 16 or so, looking for my brother, and again came looking for someone who didn't live there anymore. Those were BIG DEALS. I didn't, like, keep casually washing the dishes while I talked to them.
posted by MrMoonPie at 11:05 AM on March 12, 2004


Speaking of former Treasury Secretary Bentsen, anyone else out there who just get enough of the TD Waterhouse ads?
posted by Stoatfarm at 11:24 AM on March 12, 2004


I kept hitting reload, trying to get the results "A prostitution ring was discovered in a dumpster by a hardened cleaning crew," just so I could enjoy the intersection of Law & Order and Penthouse Forum.
posted by junkbox at 11:42 AM on March 12, 2004


only because no one else has done it:
or uosuaq?
posted by Fezboy! at 12:18 PM on March 12, 2004


My first one was "A drive-by shooting was discovered in a dumpster..." and THAT sure made me chuckle.
posted by kevspace at 12:22 PM on March 12, 2004


Wow, turn's out I'm Det. Stabler. Who knew?

Which Law & Order: SVU character are you?
posted by Stoatfarm at 12:25 PM on March 12, 2004


The verdict is still out on the new ADA -- Alex was just too cute.

Very much yes.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 12:53 PM on March 12, 2004


This goes well with the Law & Order Coloring Book...

Holy Jesus... that's the funniest damn thing I've seen all day...
posted by wfrgms at 12:57 PM on March 12, 2004


...I have no desire to be "challenged" by TV anymore. I'm challenged enough by my actual life.

The last container of orange juice is found spilled on the floor of a supermarket. jonmc initially pins the accident on a group of schoolkids, but a later examination reveals it was the assistant manager. jonmc requests a raincheck, while realising he must contend with an ex-girlfriend working the courtesy desk. The old security guard rubs his chin and says, "Vitamin C...you can never get enough." A tattooed woman who poured drinks at Irving Plaza guest stars.
posted by Smart Dalek at 1:30 PM on March 12, 2004


My ex was a big fan of Law and Order. There's a different Law and Order episode on every frickin' night and sometimes it would have been nice to cuddle up without watching detectives investigate a child rape. Grrrr...
posted by Skwirl at 3:10 PM on March 12, 2004


The thing that makes the formulaic nature of L&O work is that we're free to see the more subtle actions of the characters. L&O:Criminal Intent takes this to an extreme, since you already know who did it, and the entire show is just an exploration of the psyche of the perpetrator. But the L&O original series still touches on this-- you get a chance to see how great the writing is when, say, the suspect, before being led away for questioning, turns down his date's offer to call a lawyer. When you later find out the suspect is a twisted misogynist, you think, "ah ha... of course he would react that way." It's those little things that show how much thought and effort they put into the writing, if not their sometimes irritating "ripped from the headlines" hooks. Also, each episode portrays another aspect of New York City life-- another neighborhood, another set of professions, etc.

Occasionally they break formula, which is why the series becomes all the more entertaining.
posted by deanc at 7:19 PM on March 12, 2004


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