Archive for the ‘Television’ Category

If you had the power to allow one murder to walk free in exchange for ten others to be behind bars; would you? This is the core moral and ethical dilemma behind the series “The Shield.” This is what I had to consistently ask myself throughout this show to defend the main characters actions I had grown to love. You had two separate groups of fans in this show; those who believed what the “Strike Team” had done were good, and those who believed their actions were evil. I am not going into great depth about the show because frankly this could turn into a twenty page critique of the show. This is just an introduction into an in-depth look into this show. In the end I hope to answer the question if despite their crimes, were these cops good or bad. I also want to analyze their moral and ethical decline, and to see how each character justifies their actions.  

It has been a few years since “The Shield” aired its series finale episode. I was in love with this show, and still to this day declare it to be the best television series of all time. I do not feel another show will ever capture such complex emotions and show such intense inner struggles in confronting what is morally right and what is morally wrong. The creator Shawn Ryan did a fantastic job of portraying the main characters struggle to walk the fine line between good and evil in the name of justice and self preservation. The members of The Strike Team consistently blurred this line with justifications for their actions. In their eyes they felt their actions were morally right because they were taking ten evil people off the streets in the exchange for the protection of one. The further this line between good and evil was blurred the further they walked away from their morality, until it became increasingly more difficult to internally justify their actions.

“The Shield” is about a small group of cops on the Gang Strike Team in Farmington, California. This was a close nit group of good cops who concocted a unique way to keep order in the city, ala mafia style. They knew Farmington was overrun by criminals, and was one of the highest crime cities in the state. They knew they would never win the war against the gangs, cease the distribution of narcotics, or win the war against crime. The Strike Team made a deal with the devil by allowing a local gang to run their operation in exchange for peace on the streets, tips to arrest their competition; and tips to arrest other criminals. In exchange for this the Strike Team collected a cut of the gangs’ profits and was heralded as heroes by keeping the peace. They were known for their police brutality, and this brutality was overlooked because of how affective they were. Beyond the working relationship with this gang, and the moral issues of police brutality the Strike Team operated within the laws they were charged to protect, at least for awhile. This first initial blur between walking the line between morally right and morally wrong cemented their destiny to the final conclusion of this series.

The question I had to keep asking myself throughout this shows tenure was this. “Despite their immoral actions for moral reasons; were these characters good or evil?” On one hand they were committing a crime by allowing this gang to operate, but their reasons behind it were morally justified. They were well aware that what they were doing was wrong and against the law. You could tell this by their quest to continually cover their tracks, and then to cover the tracks they just covered. You did get the sense that even though they knew their actions were wrong, they were able to internally justify them. As the series progressed they were continually having to confront these struggles between what they were doing was right or wrong. You could tell they were hesitant to take that next step past the moral and ethical line between right and wrong, although they almost didn’t have a choice in the matter. When they were confronted with this moral and ethical dilemma they continued to find new justification for why they were talking that next step further away from the moral line.

I believe each character prior to joining the Strike Team was a morally and ethically just police officer. It was only when they were teamed up, and took the first initial step past that invisible line between good and evil; is when things started to spiral out of control. This calls to question if we begin to blur the line between right and wrong will we as well suffer a similar fate? By the end of the series the characters had no resemblance to the characters from the first episode. Their continued justifications for their actions in the name of morality; just rotted them to their very core. Even after six years of watching the apprehensible actions this team perpetrated I was still stuck on the question of “are these men truly bad?” More times than not my conclusion was no, I believed their ends justified their means.

I still miss this show, and I doubt their will ever be another show to top it. It is a classic with so many things going on; on a much deeper level than what you see on your television screen. Their internal struggle to continually do bad things to accomplish good things was perfectly portrayed. You could feel, sense, and see the internal ethical struggle of what is good and what is evil in each character Add in their quest to cover up said bad things and in doing so caused them to further blur the line between right and wrong in the name of freedom. In the end they became what they first started to protect the city against. Their fears of being caught messed with their minds into walking further away from morality. All these things came to a climax in the final episode of the series which logically ended the only way it could, despite of what some of the fans may have wanted.

In the end when you measure up all the bad things the Strike Team did, you cannot discount all the great things they have done. This is the key dilemma to this show which is not so black and white on if they should be considered good or bad. My first two runs through this show I thought this was a good group of people who made bad decisions, but despite these bad decisions these characters were good. My wife on the other hand views these characters as evil. This I think is what interests me the most. I am excited to have a reason to re-watch this wonderful series. If you have not already watched this show I highly recommend it. This show is truly a work of genius.

About two years ago Fox debut a new show called “Glee.” When I saw the promo spots for this show I thought to myself; “there is no f’ing way I am watching this show!” I was flipping through the channels one boring night when I came across Glee. I stopped for a moment to give it a try. I was immediately drawn in to the cheesy story line and the way the cast busted out into song ala “Grease.” The first season they did a ton of retro songs that were relevant to my childhood and teen years. I enjoyed the various different spins they would put on some of my favorite songs. I enjoyed the “musical play” aspect of the show so much I went out and bought each album they produced. I kept my new found label as a “Gleek” a secret. I would hide in shame and snack on Goldfish while I sang along in my head.

The next season my whole family got involved in watching Glee. My wife at first was hesitant and thought the show was very bad, but she was soon just as hooked in as we were. The creators of the show did another fantastic job of putting together more cheesy storylines and the song choices were fantastic as well. In time laying down and watching Glee became a family tradition. I still figured I should watch who I tell about my secret joy of watching Glee to. Perhaps it is the masculine side of me saying it is very feminine to enjoy this show. I don’t know what to say I am a sucker for show tunes. If I had the courage I would be on stage doing plays just willy nilly dancing around and singing my heart out.  

Entering into the third season of Glee I can honestly say I am no longer a fan. The show still has its cheesy storylines, but they just seem played out. The show still has the cast suddenly without notice breaking out into song and dance, but the song choice is just horrendous. This will be the first time I choose not to get the newest Glee album. When we all lay down to watch this show it has become a form of sadistic torture just to get through it. Five minutes feels like five hours! It is so bad, where every night when the kids want to watch it I have to do Jedi mind tricks on them so they become distracted and forget about it. I think in order for me to get through the remainder of this season I am going to have to have a few stiff drinks to numb my mind.

I am getting really tired with the poor lonely gay kid story. I understand they may be trying to bring to light the bullying that goes on to kids who are openly gay and I acknowledge it, but it has grown tired. I also do not think they should show two female cheerleaders making out. I also think those same damn cheerleaders should wear something to school other than their cheerleading outfits. Finally please for the love of God write the kid in the wheelchair off the show! Every time they do a number and his dumbass is just wheeling around it causes rage. I think where I really lost it was when the kid in the wheelchair was allowed to play football and scored a touchdown. How hard is it to push a crippled kid in a wheelchair over? Finally please explain to me how spontaneous song breakouts can be choreographed so well. There are so many things about this show that make me want to pull my hair out, yet I continue to watch.

This show can be saved by choosing better songs. I do not think doing an entire show on “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” is a good idea. They had a really good thing going in the first two seasons. They chose songs from the past and songs from today. What I liked about it was hearing a new spin on songs I like. Although the “Horror Picture Show” was an okay movie, I do not think you are going to find a large audience who has either seen it, or would subject themselves to listing to the Glee cast singing them. I will continue to watch this show, but not because I enjoy it I will be watching this because my kids enjoy it. I truly hope they get their shit together and realize they are ruining a great thing.