Thursday, November 17, 2011

Law & Order: SVU (Salon Victims Unit)

"In the criminal justice system, the people are
represented by two separate yet equally
important groups..."
Having officially made the commitment to streaming only Netflix I have been watching A LOT of Law & Order recently. Between eight available seasons of the original show and 12 of the Special Victim's Unit spinoff, that's roughly 320 hours of procedural drama at my fingertips and man do I love it. So much so, that I decided to start at the beginning ... to go back to the season that started it all, way back in 1990. These early episodes don't seem to pop up in syndication very often. My guess is that's because watching them is too much like opening a time capsule.

In 1990, my TV lineup got about as hardcore as forest gnomes on foxes, but over in the New York featured on Law & Order, weird $#** was going down. It was a place where cops used payphones and typewriters, nurses actually wore those little hats and white dresses, Times Square was still home to prostitutes, and sexism/racism/homophobia had yet to be more fully edited out of TV scripts. And in "ripped from the headlines" fashion, the first season is absolutely riddled with plots concerning crack and AIDS. In the first six episodes alone, those two topics came up six times combined. YIKES.

But ... let's put all those serious 20-year-old signifiers aside. Far and away the most laughably dated thing about the first season was THE HAIR. Oh my goodness, you guys. Get a load of these head cases:

The People vs. Male with Curly Bangs
Charges: Your honor, Mr. Curly Bangs is charged with ocular assault and his partner, Ms. Mushroom Head, is charged with aiding & abetting. In no time or place was a front sprout of permed and dyed bangs an appropriate hair style.
Verdict: Guilty on all charges. Sentenced to 7 years in Vidal Sassoon Penitentiary, no chance of parole.

The People vs. Cynthia Nixon in Feathered Mullet 
Charge: Your honor, Ms. Nixon is charged with trafficking & distribution of illegal hairstyles. Every woman at her NYC dance studio has been coerced into participating in her crime.
Verdict: Not guilty by reason of temporary insanity. Then again, those coiffures she sported as Miranda were mostly heinous. Released on probation.

The People vs. Jazzercise Lady with High Side Ponytail
Charge: Your honor, Ms. High Ponytail is charged with hate crimes against scrunchies and Lycra. Half pulled up hair, mounted on the side of her dome, indicates a clear bias against proper workout styling.
Verdict: Guilty. Sentenced to mandatory fashion management classes with a trained instructor.

The People vs. Male Princess Leia
Charge: Your honor, Mr. Side Puffs is charged with the identity theft of one Princess Leia. In 20th century earthbound males, balding is no excuse to compensate with hair buns over the ears.
Verdict: Guilty. The jury suggests 4 years at Vidal Sassoon, but this court is prepared to be lenient. In light of my own family members having sported this style in their younger years, I sentence one year with a chance of early release for good grooming behavior.

The People vs. Poodle Explosion 
Charge: Your honor, Ms. Poodle is charged with fraudulent hairdressing. While pulled high and tight in early court scenes, indicating a short, permed pompadour with mullet, her deception was revealed in subsequent interactions. All parties present were understandably terrified by the discovery.
Verdict: Guilty. Defendant is sentenced to immediate reduction of her poodle do for the safety of all those surrounding her.

 The People vs. Harsh Pixie Cut with Huge Frames 
Charge: Your honor, Ms. Frames is charged with indecent exposure of optical equipment. As A.D.A. Paul Robinette indicates above, "Damn. Get some contacts!"
Verdict: Not Guilty. Though egregious in nature, the offending glasses are a necessary tool for the sight of this woman. Free to go, though an optometrist appointment is recommended.

 The People vs. Chris Noth in a Masters Jacket 
Charge: Your honor, Mr. Noth is charged with disturbing the peace...with his hotness. Hey-o! But not even blessed genetics can overcome the obvious: this green sport coat/plaid tie combo is appropriate only for golf courses in Augusta, GA.
Verdict: Not Guilty by virtue of being the swaggering-est detective in the NYPD.

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