Television History! (An Ode To Blue Bloods)

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I have to admit a secret … well vice of sorts to my readers. I have been following an American Television show called Blue Bloods, for EIGHT seasons. The show is about an (Irish) Catholic-American family, 4 generations, all working as cops/prosecutors. The show takes place in New York City. The grandfather used to be the Police Commissioner of NY. He’s now retired and lives with his son, the current Police Commissioner of NY. Then there the commissioners children: Danny (a detective, married 2 sons), Erin (an Assistant DA, divorced, and her daughter, Nicky) and Jamie (single, quite clever, on his way to law-school, but settled for being a beat-cop). A fourth child passed away, also a cop, while on duty.

The ‘formula’ is pretty straight forward. Each episode we get five distinct – yet sometimes converging – story lines. We get some crisis the Commissioner is dealing with, Danny will get involved in a serious crime case, Jamie will get involved in something more down to earth, community and social. Erin will tackle something which involves a legal case or issue, often involving people’s rights.

During the course of the episode they seek each other out for counsel, to butt heads or to help. Often their adventures converge, which requires them to work together or try to…

Each episode ends with all of them, at the family dinner table, sharing their (what I presume to be is Sunday) meal.

And yes, they often end with prayer.

I really like the series.

The topics (the cop cases) can be quite severe and there is some violence (language and other), but it’s a very minor portion of the show.

It’s character driven and it has a real moral slant to it all, without being preachy or condescending.

The USA has – for more than a decade now – become a very polarized society. Identity politics reigns supreme. People label themselves and then act accordingly: I am…. Well fill it in. If you’re bi-racial then you act like <x> and then LOATHE all the people who are not just like you. If you’re pro-gay rights? Then you act accordingly and subsequently loathe all the people who oppose or disagree with your views. The US media has been a major contributor to this type of polarization, pitting people (pundits, politicians, ethnic groups and what have you) against one another.

The family in Blue Bloods are called “Reagan”.

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(No... I am not making that up).

They’re openly Irish, Catholic, urban, medium income, medium education and they… well they tend to “shift”.

They are not stereotypical. They can be left leaning on one issue and be quite harsh and right-wing on another issue.

Openly.

Even against each other.

Each episode does have some type of “moral” lesson and some sense of closure but this is also done far more honestly that most shows would do it.

We may end with the bad guy being arrested. We may end with the bad guy getting away.

We may end with victims getting justice. Or we may end with a bitter taste in our mouth.

Considering the topics and language, I would say you can watch this with teenagers.

(They’ve probably seen way worse).

They are a tight-knit family, hard working, but also willing to step out of their comfort zone.

The sister is a feminist, but she accepts her brothers protecting her.

The Commissioner is somewhat of a patriarch, but he accepts his progeny constantly correcting him.

In eight seasons we’ve had thrills, loss, gain, growth, excitement, mystery, intrigue and a tremendous amount of just wonderful, basic, common sense dialogue.

I pick the show up on Saturday morning, Amsterdam time, usually around 5AM.

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(Yes, I really wake that early).

I will wake and scratch myself in various places and look out over the balcony and make coffee and feed the cat as Blue Bloods buffers.

I then have various bowel movements.

And then… with that mean morning espresso … in the dark… I watch Blue Bloods… by myself… while my daughter is still sound asleep.

I used to watch two shows like that. I used to also watch Bill Maher. I stopped doing that. It became so polarizing, so preaching to the choir, so lecturing and proselytizing that I really didn’t get what the entertainment value was anymore. I understand he recently berated Roseane for having a hit show again which wasn’t quite anti-trump enough.

I’ve tried to get my ex-wife to watch Blue Bloods, I tried with my daughter as well. They’ve consistently refused. As such, my saturday morning with Blue Bloods has become a proprietary issue, a personal issue… a real “ME” moment. I particularly like all the dialogue. We’re not talking academic or scholarly debate here, but quite reasonable (and sometimes not so reasonable) people working out issues, dealing with stuff, going about their business and such. There are little threats, swearing and harsh language, which actually makes the show and the characters more believable and more real. I like to just sit there, in front of my laptop, after a shave, with my coffee, by myself, in the dark, watching Blue Bloods… and then kinda pick a side. I then pick one of the characters and then follow their “arc” (their reasoning, adventure whatever). At the end we then get some form of closure. Next episode I pick another arc and so on and so forth.

Eight.

Seasons.

Each Saturday.

(I am not entirely sure if they’re aired each Friday, but the last couple of years my Saturday mornings have been blissfully stable and consistent).

pls-stand-by

This morning was the season finale of season 8.

Now… I don’t know what you were doing at 5AM this Saturday, May 12th 2018?

But I was watching ….

Television History!

For the last couple of seasons, I’ve been (somewhat) worried about Jamie (the youngest brother, the beat-cop). He frowns a lot. He takes life and work very seriously. He looks – often – as if he is doing it all for some very important school project or something. He’s had some wonderful story arcs in episodes over the years, but it’s been eight long years and Jamie’s still single. We know him to be a moral, decent, hard working guy. He can be quite charming, he looks good and he’s debt free. Why the hell is this guy single? All his siblings are married and have kids already! Over the course of these same last couple of seasons… Jamie has been working with Eddie Jenko, his female beat-cop partner. Eddie is more temperamental than Jamie and she’s a lot tougher. She also has much more of a mouth on her and a more refined sense of humor, more darkish, if you will.

As you may guess… the producers of the show have been playing the “will they?” “won’t they?” game for several seasons now.

I think it was a show from the 1980s called Moonlighting that introduced (and then screwed up) that formula.

I’ve several fan-type forums and … well pretty much everybody agrees with me – along similar lines as just outlined above – Jamie and Eddie have great chemistry, they compliment each other very well. Very often their story arc is the best part about the episode. Both Jamie and Eddie don’t look like movie stars, flashy with make-up and pearly teeth, but much more like real people. Their story arc will often be more down to earth, dealing with regular people and not high crime, courts or politics. I’d say they deal with community policing and they both do it very well. Their story arc is always quite uplifting.

Over the last couple of seasons there was clear chemistry there and they kind of hooked up one or twice. There was visible … well I wouldn’t call it jealousy, but let’s say “discomfort” when either of them had a date or love interest from the respective other partner. We saw this happen again, last couple of episodes, when Eddie hooked up, dating, with another cop, leaving Jamie (and us) just cringing in agony.

Season eight got off to a harsh start. We lost Linda. She was the wife of Danny (the Detective, the high crime arc of each episode). Linda died, leaving Danny and the two boys alone.

She’s left…

A….

huge

(Huge).

… Gaping hole of an abyss at that dinner table.

At the end of each episode, as they all sit down and close down the episode… there’s just this hole next to Danny.

His sons have since split, with one now sitting at the other end of the table, which makes it all even more disconcerting.

Last season, I entered this chat room and had a lovely debate with some Americans who felt just like me. Jamie and Eddie have great chemistry. They should hook up. He’s a Catholic-American? Those boys tend to marry the girl they bring home, so…

Jamie should bring Eddie to dinner.

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Y’know… and then kinda introduce her, into this Irish-Catholic tight-knit clan and then we’re gonna see for a full season if she can y’know hold her own and such….

I mean speculation was… rampant.

And then we get season eight. And we lose Linda. And Nicky (Erin’s daughter) wants to be a cop and she enters the academy (Nicky is the only one who really looks good all the time, complete with hair and makeup and such, which is normal since she’s 18-19ish). And then Danny didn’t turn out to be such a master at being a single dad (without Linda and all). And Erin’s ex-husband kinda has a thing for her (like I have for my ex-wife) and Erin is kinda feeling the same way. And the Commissioner? Well he’s old now, yes? His kids have surpassed him in numerous ways at numerous levels.

Season eight….

Was a lot to take in.

And then we get the season finale…

(I urge you to watch seasons 1-8 someplace).

Spoiler alert!

Now… when Jamie and Eddie hug, at the end… under that huge arch-like subway overpass?

If you’re not tearing up… then you are a sociopath who is a clear and present danger to himself and others.

And a couple of seconds later, at the dinner, when he asks for that extra chair and they walk in holding hands…?

If you’re not crying then?

Then you need to be put to sleep in some humane way.

This… was television history.

This was the best season finale evah!

Jamie and Eddie are getting married!

 

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