Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Bonus - Law & Order: SVU: Bombshell (12.19)

Law & Order: Special Victims Unit is a show which prides itself on the depraved nature of so many of its stories. Now in its twelfth season, it's unsurprising that the show regularly seems intent on exposing whatever kinky sex fetish they can, creating a New York City full of irrational wingnuts and delusional perverts. The series is comfort TV, however, a show that you can easily tune in and out of with regularity, despite the obvious feeling that the actors and writers have all but given up trying to be convincing. Bombshell is the first episode I've seen in a while, SVU now being a show I tune in to whenever a decent guest star appears (including Shohreh Aghdashloo and Maria Bello, recently). While it was fun in its stupidity, it was pretty ridiculous that practically all the guest stars were wacko. There's the stabby housewife, the nutcase swinger, and the incestuous con artists. I practically need a decontamination shower after watching this show.

The source of SVU's ongoing success is the palpable chemistry between Christopher Meloni and Mariska Hargitay's chaste protagonists, a TV twosome so clearly perfect for each other yet without the common sense to just bang each other for once. As the years have gone on, the two have been shamelessly propped together in an array of fan-service plot lines that do nothing but tease the obsessive 'shippers in the SVU fanbase. This extends here, where they briefly go undercover at a swingers club to crack a stabbing case. Obviously, this kind of flirtatious banter between the two leads of a TV series isn't uncommon, but there comes a point when, twelve years in, you just want to scream "Do it, already!" at the TV screen.

The case of the week is pretty cut-and-dry and surprisingly lacking in courtroom shenanigans. It's also played mostly straight, until that last-minute dry-heave curveball involving incest and 'womb sharing'. Ick. A freshly-collagened Rose McGowan plays con woman Cassandra as a barrel of pouts, her breathy delivery bordering on contrived at certain junctures. At the same time, Tom Irwin's delusional infatuation with his lover was equally cartoonish.

I'm assuming audiences aren't yet tired of seeing depravity and sex crimes on a weekly basis since SVU is still going strong, but there's definitely a nagging feeling that episodes are written intentionally to shock and provoke a reaction, rather than to tell an intriguing mystery. I still prefer the Law & Order franchise to the glitzy stupidity of the CSI/NCIS series, but it sure has become a monotonous shriek of insanity recently. It has its fans, but even the most discerning viewer out there must surely notice how silly the show has gotten. Rating C

Guest stars Melissa Sagemiller (A.D.A. Gillian Hardwicke); Ryan Hurst (Doug Loveless); Kathleen McNenny (Jane Bullard); Michael Boatman (Dave Seaver); Richard Petrocelli (The Night Stalker); Lindsay Crouse (Judge Andrews); Amir Arison (Dr. Manning); Jason Jurman (Mitch Shankman); Tom Irwin (Jerry Bullard); Rose McGowan (Cassandra Davina)
Writer Daniel Truly Director Patrick Creadon

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