Tuesday, June 08, 2004

As part of its “Flops” theme week Trio broadcasted the shortlived Cop Rock series in its entirety, and Elizabeth made sure to Tivo every single one. In case you don’t know, Cop Rock was conceived and produced by Stephen Bochco, who previously had the Midas touch with critically acclaimed hits like Hill Street Blues and LA Law. I don’t know what can explain this show except coke induced hubris. Imagine a gritty crime drama in which beat cops, criminals, lowlifes, and civic leaders break out, for no good reason, into Bollywood style song and dance routines. It is spellbindingly awful.

Most of the songs are composed by Randy Newman and are vaguely reminiscent of bad 80s hits (think lots of shrieky sax), although some embarrassingly bad rap songs also manage to work their way in, usually after a crack house raid. Although the songs are ridiculous, some of them are pernicious earworms. I still can’t get the sappy ballad one police officer tenderly sings to his wounded partner in the hospital out of my head, and I fear that it might drive me mad if I can’t somehow flush it out.

My favorite scene takes place after a meeting of undercover police women adjourns. They are all setting out to nab a serial rapist, and as they strut down the police headquarter's hall with aggressive, angry intent like the hookers in Pat Benatar’s Love is a Battlefield video, they begin to sing lines like:

That rapist be getting on my last nerve
Gonna make sure he gets what he deserves
We're going to give him a niii-AIGHT to remember

Wow. A staggering 1.8 million dollar cost per episode (In 1990s dollars!) and widespread public scorn sank the show after only 4 months, and it has become one of the most notorious failures in TV history. If you would like to spend a few hours in jaw dropping amazement and wonder at this fiasco then be sure to try to catch it.

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