Tuesday, February 7, 2012

I’ll take my blood in black and white


You have to hand it to crime dramas in the 21st century. They know their skeptical viewing audience. 
We aren’t gullible. 
Don’t just tell us the victim is dead. 
Show us.
Crime drama execs have complied. When someone is killed, there is no doubt. 
The corpse is deader than dead. 
The Prude sees (peeking though fingers in front of her eyes) that the dead person has a tinge of blue in the face, eyes departed from sockets, innards that are no longer innards but outards, and is lying any-which-way in a pool of what The Prude keeps telling herself is ‘tons of catsup, just tons of catsup’.
But there is absolutely no doubt that the dead person is really most sincerely dead.
How naive we Perry Mason fans were! We caught a glimpse of a dead person in the black and white world lying on the floor, eyes neatly closed, possibly a slight trickle of catsup from a tidy hole somewhere in the head, or a smear of catsup on a white shirt.
And–silly us– when that dead person was pronounced dead, we believed it! 
Why did it never occur to us to look more closely and wonder, “But maybe they aren’t really dead. Maybe that person is just sort of dead. Clearly there is not enough catsup, all their internal organs are still neatly encased internally, and the eyeballs are right where eyeballs are meant to be. Hence, I do not believe that victim is dead.”
We are no longer wet behind the ears. We no longer are required to suspend our disbelief. We’ve entered the wonderful world of verisimilitude. 
And doesn’t it give you pause to wonder:

When Dorothy ‘killed’ the Wicked Witch of the East, was there any gristle or gore? Well? 
Makes you think, doesn’t it?
Us cynical sophisticated types of the 21st century require much, much more.
Remember:
‘No tombstone until it's gruesome.’
REALLY most sincerely dead?

5 comments:

Suef said...

Funny, cute and clever again. As one who watches way too many crime dramas (some with quite a bit of humor in the drama) I share your peek-through-finger method of viewing.

Lori Lipsky said...

I haven't seen Perry Mason in years, but my mom was a regular Perry Mason viewer and the music was chilling!

Sadly, less is left to the imagination these days. Yes, there is much more gore now a days, and it's usually needless, gross gore! But that 'black and white' Perry Mason theme song and background music was so so scary! It creeped me out!

Susan said...

Ah,haha. So true. I was watching some old crime drama, Dragnet?, and after the detectives told us the man was brutally murdered (without more details), they walked over to the sheet covered corpse, lifted the sheet (camera and audience positioned opposite them see nothing but the back side of the sheet), and sadly shake their heads. Now that requires no finger screen!

Joanie said...

Perry always protected the public even if it was only in black and white.

Robin J. Steinweg said...

Yes, really most sincerely dead. Prude, you are brilliant!

Joanie, it's good to meet you here!