Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Move Over, 30 Rock, Here's My New Favorite Show
My new favorite show is The Police Women of Broward County. All the new first run shows are coming back in the next couple of weeks, but I don't care. I care about a little TLC program that follows the tough, funny and brave female police officers of the Broward County, Florida sheriff's office.
TLC has odd programming. Pretty much the reality version of Lifetime, targeting the women folk, but instead of bad TV movies starring Joanna Kerns or Tori Spelling or Melissa Gilbert you get a lot of reality crap, a lot of wedding, makeover and design shows, and then some real gems like I Didn't Know I Was Pregnant, which looks more like Unsolved Mysteries with all the re-enactment footage cut with real interviews. (Sidenote: Unsolved Mysteries was one of the few shows I did not allow myself to watch alone, especially while babysitting, alone in a strange house after dark, kids asleep, it just always freaked me out.) And the spangled, creepy glitz wreck, Toddlers and Tiaras. Don't watch this show, it's unsettling and brings out the nasty judgmental sides of my personality. I think fake tan, teeth and eyelashes on three year olds are bizarre. If you don't agree, then tune in and vote for your favorite sparkly baby swimwear contestant.
But I tune into TLC for the ballsy, sharp, bad ass female sheriffs of Broward Co. I've never been a big fan of the show Cops. Just found it depressing, bleak and occasionally funny or exciting, predominately a lot of footage of cops running suspects down, breaking down doors, or shining flashlights on people they've pulled over. This is fine, and there is plenty of this kind of action in Police Women, but you also get to see a little more behind the scenes. Who are these police officers? What duties and responsibilities do they balance between being cops and being mothers and wives? How do their interactions with suspects and victims differ from the way many male officers interact with the public? And I guess because I have a vagina, all of this is much more entertaining and compelling for me than Cops. I like back story, I like some action too, but the action has more meaning for me when I care about the officer taking the risk. I love hearing people's stories, victims, suspects, the officer's, but mostly I just love to hear about how someone got to the place they are in, what decisions, right or wrong, put you in the handcuffs or the one doing the cuffing?
The real draw of this show is the personality and character of the women themselves. They are open, articulate, self-deprecating and tough. They don't take disrespect, they don't take lying and most of all they seem to treat even the most lowlife criminal with respect. One scene in particular sticks out for me. Deputy Andrea Penoyer and her team have arrested a young drug dealer and as she asks him why he's dealing again, he calmly and sadly tells her a little bit about his life, tears running down his face, hands cuffed behind him. Deputy Penoyer nonchalantly wipes off his face for him with his T-shirt. It sounds like a throw away scene, but it was kind. It wasn't special, it wasn't babying him, it was just a kind thing to do for a kid who'd made some bad decisions and some serious mistakes. She treated him with respect. To me, this ability to treat people with respect and even use a little humor to lighten the mood ends up defusing situations that can be dangerous and life threatening for everyone involved. I think this helps make them great police officers, that, and their general bad-assery.