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The Episode Where She Gets a Split End

September 2, 2014 - Diane Laney Fitzpatrick

I spent some time binge-watching some TV shows recently. I'm back now. No need to send in a rescue team. I'm fine. I will shower and change my clothes shortly.

I don't binge-watch TV much, but when I do, it's psychological thrillers, suspense and crime shows. My social TV watching is whatever everyone else in the house wants to watch - mostly The Big Bang Theory, 30 Rock reruns and Modern Family. My private TV watching is any show where people are killed or damaged big time. I prefer shows that de-emphasize racial, political and mob related murders. I prefer when it's a secretly crazy spouse, an evil mother-in-law, or someone very rich from a dysfunctional family.

I recently found the motherlode on Netflix, where there's a storehouse of thrilling crime shows starring some powerhouse actors. I am thrilled that suspenseful crime TV is now very noir, dark, edgy and way more professional than just a few short years ago. We've come a long way since Dragnet. But for the life of me, I can't understand why these shows are still so unrealistic.

Cliche doesn't even begin to describe it. I can't figure it out. The writing is pretty darn good on these shows. But then they slip into this nonsense that leaves me wondering if the writers live in the actual world, or if they're in some kind of simulator. For instance:

* A woman gets buried alive - I'm talking buried alive underground in a wooden box - and she manages to get a cell call through to her partner, who is in a car several miles away, without as much as a Can you hear me now? I can't get a signal if I turn to my left while standing in my dining room, and this chick is able to cough and moan out latitude and longitude of her burial location. Also, her hair looks great.

* Two married literature professors at a small college who couldn't make more than seventy grand a year combined (I doubt the one is even tenured based on the fact that he's killing coeds during his Monday office hours), live in a stately brick house with columns and a circular driveway. They have a lady who answers their door. They drive a gleaming black Lexus and a little red convertible sports car. Also, she looks like a runway model, especially when she takes off her glasses after school.

* Female cops are running to beat all hell in 5-inch CFMPs and pencil skirts. The skirt is not riding up to just under her armpits, yet she can climb a chain link fence. She does not once fall off her heels. After jumping down from the fence, she can kneel to cuff the perp and she does not get as much as a snag in her pantyhose. Also, her hair look great.

* Cops both on-duty and disgraced/unfairly accused/temporarily badgeless and gunless have still not figured out that you can go ahead and turn on the lights when you're checking out a potential crime scene. You've got those big old flashlights beaming through the house. Plus you're yelling, "Police!" over and over again. I think an overhead light or even that reading lamp that you just walked past isn't going to give anything away. Also, you broke down the door, which was kind of a giveaway that the police have arrived.

* Reporters are still the most obnoxious cretins on the show, beating out pedophiles, serial killers who leave obscure clues based on classic literature, and the miserable boyfriend who shows no love to the puppy. TV anchors don't just sit behind the studio news desk. No sir. The blond ones are out there in the field, rooting through garbage cans, bossing around the camera man, and running crazily toward the main characters in the show, screaming their questions. Also, there's not an extra BMI point on the whole lot of them.

* Very, very important people, like district attorneys and transplant surgeons, CIA agents, the head of Homeland Security, when their phone rings in the middle of the night, just lay there for a sec before groggily picking up the phone and muttering mhyelo. It's as if this phone call is boring them to death. Oh brother, what could this be? Honestly, I mean it's not as if I'm a . . . oh right. I am espionage coordinator for the Middle East. Meanwhile, here's me, a housewife. When my phone rings during the night I levitate out of the bed as if I've been electrocuted. I grab the phone before the end of the first ring, but still, by the time I've screamed HELLO????? into it, I've already imagined every emergency possible and planned my funeral outfit.

And my hair is a mess.

~ ~ ~

Diane Laney Fitzpatrick is the author of Home Sweet Homes: How Bundt Cakes, Bubble Wrap, and My Accent Helped Me Survive Nine Moves. Her Just Humor Me column runs here on her website at


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