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.