At the end of January I got sick. It was a weird perfect storm of running afoul of some mushrooms in a batch of veggie dumplings, mixed with some flu symptoms. I used to LOVE mushrooms, but a couple of years ago they started making me really sick when I ate them. I’ve since stayed away, but I hoovered down a batch of veggie dumplings containing mushrooms and got very ill (I’ll spare you the gory details). At the same time I got hit with a flu-like strain that was going around. I was out of work for a week. I’ve never been out of commission for a whole week as an adult. It was an odd experience.
I don’t like being too sick to read, but my condition lent itself to such a situation. So, while being ill, I watched TV. A LOT of TV. I no longer have a cable package that has lots of channels. In an attempt to save some money we went down to the most basic package that we could. I get about 7 channels, the PBS stations, and about 10 home shopping channels (I personally think that is a very weird set up, but so be it). At any rate, while I was sick I ended up watching a lot of Law & Order. And, again, I mean A LOT. It’s on often…and when I say “often” I mean 4-or-5-episodes-a-day “often.” And I’m not talking about any of the spin-offs, the Criminal Intent, or the Special Victims Unit, or the Trial by Jury, or the Los Angeles, or the UK… just regular old Law & Order. This show, for those of you not in the know (which was me up until I got sick), is a series that spans a 20 year block of time. It’s kind of amazing to me that this show was off my radar for the entire time that it was broadcast…but I don’t think I ever watched a single episode. What might be more remarkable is that this show was on from 1990 until 2010.
Because of my recent immersion into the world of Law & Order I decided to, with the help of my friendly neighborhood library, watch the series from the beginning. I have no idea how far I’ll get before I decide to throw in the towel, but I’m into season 4, and I’m still engaged. The somewhat cynical side of me wants to say that Law & Order is the “poor man’s version of The Wire” (My love for The Wire deserves a whole post, so I won’t get into it here). Suffice it to say, for a network TV show that tries to wrap things up in an hour, Law & Order still surprises me in that it allows some open endings and some character developments that I didn’t expect. I have no idea if that quality will remain through the whole series, but as far as the first four seasons are concerned, I’m a fan.
Oh, and for the signature “chonk CHONK” sound that accompanies many of the scene breaks in the show, I found the following information on the Law & Order Wikipedia page: “The tone moves the viewer from scene to scene, jumping forward in time with all the importance and immediacy of a judge’s gavel – which is exactly what [music director] Post was aiming for when he created it. “The Clang” is an amalgamation of nearly a dozen sounds, including an actual gavel, a jail door slamming, and five hundred Japanese monks walking across a hardwood floor.”
I have NO idea if any of that is accurate, but it sort of blew me away!
-Eric (who is currently binge-watching Law & Order with the cats)