Creative commentary plus crafty composition

It’s easy to have mixed feelings about a TV cop show (this one from TBS), including a comedic take like Angie Tribeca.

So far it has broadcast two seasons, albeit of ten episodes each, and likely will have at least one more.

It is uniquely placed in the current landscape due to its throwback focus on sight gags, supported by verbal puns, irony, etc., often delivered at rapid fire pace.  While the humour was emphatically low brow in the first couple of episodes, it did rise a notch in later episodes as the relationships between main characters helped provide a more relatable foundation, around which continued episodes of absurdist humour could continue.

The genesis of this approach started many years earlier, in the short-lived predecessor to The Naked Gun movie trilogy, the six episodes run of TV’s Police Squad, which ran briefly one summer on ABC. Both series featured Canadian actor Leslie Nielsen, in his first mainstream media foray as the comedy lead. A significant reason why the manner of Get Smart set in a police precinct didn’t work as a TV series was that it relied primarily on visuals, demanding a fixed attention span from the viewer; it worked as a movie premise, because in that environment the viewer stays in his or her seat for a protracted period, therefore present and watchful of the visual gags.

In any event, Angie Tribeca follows this uncommon model, naturally with a much more modern feel and character mix. Like the previous efforts, it’s a respite time for viewers, being taken away from daily strife by exposure to its over-the-wall happenings.

As in many distinctive artistic endeavours, there are larger lessons we can glean:

  • If you’re a detective, you can survive a free fall in an elevator shaft
  • If your boss yells in an incoherent or unreasonable manner, it signifies he (or she) trusts you
  • You can never have too many hands on in a takedown, as it encourages more confusion
  • Someone being pursued will keep to a steady jog if the tracking detective feels compelled to perform acrobatics
  • Being chained to one’s desk makes it difficult to get to other floors quickly
  • Anyone who’s had more than one hundred partners can’t be all bad
  • Police dogs can look convincing as background support and point-of-view
  • Sometime crime scenes can be artistic statements
  • Morgue workers are liable to show their lighter side, not always intentionally
  • Identity switching, if done properly, can allow one to alter height and weight

You never know where greater understanding of the human condition may be uncovered.

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