This may become an incredibly sexist column about sexism, but I think that at least Camille Paglia would understand.
Did you ever notice how sexist the show Law & Order is? When you think about sexual pandering, it’s so easy to spot elsewhere that one doesn’t really think about an old, staid, family friend like Law & Order, but it’s there, mostly in the position of (assistant) Assistant District Attorney. Or in easier parlance, the hot chick prosecutor who looks really good and mostly gets coffee for the two older guys she works for. Every once in a while, the show will write her a scene where she has to fill in or use her femininity to try to sway a specific jury. Inevitably, she will come off as so brilliant that we appreciate her intellect, but really isn’t that just another part of the fetish? There have been four or five now and they’ve all been complete knock-outs.
Dick Wolf has made an ungodly fortune off of his Law & Order empire, but its flagship show has been wavering for a while now. It’s easy to see why. The show has now been on for 20 years, and why bother going out of your way to watch a new episode when there are probably at least three other episodes that you didn’t see the first time around running on cable at any given moment?
The last time I looked at the numbers in USA Today, it appeared that the History Channel show Pawn Stars essentially matched a first run episode of Law & Order in number of viewers, with both attracting around four million viewers.
Pawn Stars is a show where they essentially televise the security camera footage from a big pawn shop in Las Vegas. It’s a fairly entertaining show and somehow the head of the pawn shop comes off as the most educated man in television history since Alistair Cooke. Someone will come in with a Bible from the Middle Ages and pawn shop guy will immediately relate the history of the Crusades like he has a PhD in history. He’ll also know off the top of his head exactly what this thing is worth on the open market. Really, you shouldn’t be sending your kids to college. Send them to Las Vegas to work in a pawn shop.