I enjoy making up television shows. Now, most of these show ideas are just shows remade with all dog casts (can someone do this for “The Shield” already — please!) but some of them are also what I think shows are before I ever actually see them.
For example, I’ve never seen “The Sound of Music.” What do I think that movie is about? I think it’s about a nun who starts humming to drown out the sound of the war and the nearby Nazi atrocities. As the war goes on, she starts singing to do the same. The war gets worse. She has to sing louder. And that’s all well and good but the war ends and she doesn’t know about it because, by then, she’s singing so loud she has no idea what’s going on. The movie ends with her screaming, just screaming, on top of a hill.
So imagine my surprise when I put on “The Rockford Files” yesterday. I was pretty sure that the show was about a geologist. Not just any geologist –I’m not some sort of idiot– but a psychic geologist who solves crimes. That’s the show I was expecting. That’s the show I wanted to watch. I could see it all so clearly.
VOICEOVER: “When the LAPD are faced with a hard case that they just can’t crack, they can only call one man: John Rockford.” John Rockford, you see, is hard drinking geologist. And he has a special gift. Since he was hit in the head with a rock during a geology accident — an avalanche, probably– he has the ability to talk to rocks. And this helps him solve crimes. For a while, I thought he was just a geologist but I figured out that he had to be psychic because otherwise people would run the risk of learning something about geology.
The show was supposed to have a lot of really great dialogue. “He has a rock solid alibi.” “He’s a stone-cold killer.” “You’re quaking in your boots.” John Rockford looks at the camera, winks and says “Gneiss.” That’s the show I pictured. Well, imagine my surprise when I saw the real thing. Not only is John Rockford not a psychic or geologist, he’s just a private eye and his first name isn’t even John and his last name makes no goddamn sense.
Seriously, call him “Jim P.I. Guy” or just “Jim: P.I.” and the show “The Cases of Jim the Private Investigator.” That way we know what we’re in for. That way, we won’t be surprised by a show not having a geologist. It’s just misleading otherwise. The game has rules.
Anyway, I guess I’ll give “Monk” a shot.