We watch... so you don't have to.

Cue Jimmy Smits' Ass!

James Dobson is on the warpath again. The chief pitchman of Focus on the Family -- one of those groups always carrying on about "values" -- is calling for a boycott against Disney for such threats to America's morals as Ellen and NYPD Blue that air on Disney-owned ABC. Smiling Jim apparently thinks that sex and violence should be taken off television and returned to the family, where it belongs.

Like a long-lost salami, recently rediscovered, these protesters have arisen to jam their opinions up the nostrils of Americans. But I said to myself -- aspiring schizophrenic that I am -- these numbnuts are missing the point.

Personally, I have no objection to nudity on television... as long as we're not talking about Roseanne, that is. And Ellen DeGeneres' sexuality is fine by me. If I were a woman, I'd be a lesbian, too.

When the issue of nudity on NYPD Blue first arose, it immediately received a favorable response from me. The problem is that much of the Bochco-esque titillation serves no purpose. Granted, Kim Delaney has a nice body, and female friends of mine assure me the same about Jimmy Smits -- but, dammit, how many times do we have to see them having sex?

Once is surprising and different, but by now it's like watching them solve the same crime over and over. Except without clothes. If I feel like watching stuff like that, I can turn to Cinemax.

The first time the happy couple are shown in bed together, most viewers will probably be clued in to the fact that they've progressed beyond a platonic relationship. By the 10th scene, even those who think Pauly Shore is a witty fellow should get the hint.

Steven Bochco, prolific creator of shows like Hill Street Blues on one hand, and Cop Rock on the other, must have been inspired by Baywatch. As you probably know, Baywatch is based on the concept of extended camera shots of female anatomy doing various interesting things, such as slow motion jogs in tight bathing suits.

As a result of this angle, Baywatch is now the most popular show in the world. I can only assume that Bochco wanted a share of that gold mine. Obviously, a show featuring Dennis Franz running in slow motion dressed in Spandex would only last so long, so a slightly different tact was used.

Sex isn't particularly new to Bochcovision -- L.A. Law inspired me to go to law school. But the importance of sex reached new heights in NYPD Blue. It's easier than trying for quality writing and acting, like those poor fools slaving away on Homicide or Law and Order manage to do.

Sometimes I think to myself, "You're just a bitter, hypercritical bastard." Then, warmed by that thought, I feel rightfully annoyed by Sipowicz talking about "humping" a girl. True, such crassness is likely realistic, but it's also part of the reason I stay away from K-Mart. Hey, I'm not looking for all sugar and light -- I believe that Kathie Lee Gifford figures in at least three different cultures' Armageddon myths -- and people just like Sipowicz really do exist, in large numbers. But sometimes the dialogue sounds like junior-high school students, giddy with power, served as script consultants.

Then again, maybe I'm just in a bad mood because someone told me that Law & Order's Carey Lowell is dating Richard Gere. Hopefully that nude scene will never make it onto television.


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