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Criminal Behavior for Dummies

If you commit a crime on television, you never know how you're going to be hunted down. As a public service, we present a guide to what you can expect and how you can act accordingly.

Superhero Show (Black Scorpion)

The first thing to do is to get yourself a snazzy costume and a catchy name. You're going to be involved in three or four fistfights before you're finally brought to justice, so you'd probably do well to have a few witty retorts prepared.

If you're animated (look around; the background will be brightly colored and often only sketched in), you might also be attacked with actual superpowers, so it wouldn't hurt to have some kind of power armor or portable laser weapon.

If you find that you're getting away with your crimes (which are more likely to be "evil deeds"), it's good manners to leave taunting clues for the authorities. If the taunting clues don't work, make them progressively more obvious until you're essentially telling the local superhero exactly when and where you'll strike next.

Mystery Show (Diagnosis Murder, if that's still on the air)

You will be expected to commit your crimes in a complicated manner; try to plan all your actions so that they have a theme. If you only commit one crime (which will inevitably be murder), make sure to leave thousands of clues, both real and false, to occupy the heroes.

You won't have to do much during the actual investigation aside from being briefly interviewed by either the brilliant hero or the dimwitted sidekick. Don't worry about what to say; if you sound guilty, then everyone else will too. If you sound innocent, everyone will sound innocent. Sadly for you, just as you're feeling cocky, your nefarious plans will be found out, probably by your standing up and confessing in the middle of someone else's trial.

Scientific Police (C.S.I.)

If you find yourself being tracked down by science cops, there's very little required of you, aside from committing the crime in the first place. It would help if your crime involved some arcane tidbit of forensics that the heroes can use to lecture each other about, but it's not necessary.

Don't be concerned if it seems to take an excessively long time to bring you to justice. Sometimes this kind of television police force likes to solve crimes decades after they were committed, just to show off.

It's polite in this circumstance to listen attentively when you're lectured on the scientific details that caused your downfall. Try not to ask questions like, "Whut's a DNA strand?" Remember: it's not about you; it's about science, and how smart the stars are.

Police Drama (NYPD Blue)

There's a chance you'll be knocked around a bit when you're arrested. There's also a chance you'll be totally ignored as the arresting officers might spend all their time talking about relationships or movies or something.

It might be good news for you if you find yourself up against this kind of television police force, since you might get to go free in a stark indictment of our justice system. On the other hand, you might get shivved in the holding cell in a stark indictment of our justice system. It could go either way, really.

It doesn't really matter how you act, since it's important that these shows get a wide range of criminal. You can even behave like you're on a Superhero or Mystery show, although then you'll have to deal with being the "crazy criminal" that week.

Police Sitcom (Barney Miller, which I realize was awhile ago, but you never know)

Try to commit an entertaining crime, like thinking you're a werewolf or something. Once a season, somebody gets to be a Very Special Episode, so you might want to be prepared to be a terrorist threatening to blow up to police station. However, don't get too excited, since under no circumstances will your foul plans actually come to fruition, although you might accidentally kill one of the supporting characters.

BattleBots (BattleBots)

Don't be stupid. If you're committing a crime on television and suddenly discover you're on BattleBots, something has gone terribly wrong, and I can only recommend that you weld some whirling blades to your frame and try to fit in.

Oh, and see if you can do something about Bill Dwyer. That guy bugs the snot out of me.

Lawyer Show (Law & Order, Law & Order: SVU)

Good news! Depending on the show, there's a chance you're innocent! You'll know right away, because if your defending attorney talks twice as much as everyone else you run into; that means you've got one of those lawyers that never loses a case.

However, if your lawyer spends a lot of time in meetings with the prosecution and the judge, they're probably all obsessing about how it can be fair to give slime like you a fair trial. Being a criminal on this sort of a show is a bit disappointing, since someone else gets to make the big dramatic speech at the end. Maybe if you get the death penalty, you'll get to make a redemption-style apology to the families of your victims.

Reality Show (Cops)

Clarification: I'm talking about the Cops kind of reality show, not the Popstars kind of reality show. By the way, this has nothing whatsoever to do with the issue at hand, but isn't Popstars just "A Chorus Line: The Series"?

You'll know right away if you're to be up against reality show cops, since the screen will be all shaky. Also, you'll be yelling a lot. The appropriate etiquette is for you to run for a couple blocks before being taken down. Also, shout as many obscenities as possible. If you want to appear on one of those "Too Hot For TV!" videotapes, you'll probably want to drop your pants at some point.

Oh, and it's recently become appropriate to drive as quickly and unsafely as possible.

Supernatural Show (The X-Files)

You might not have to be a criminal to get the attention of the federales; sometimes they'll just show up and start asking questions if you're an alien. Or a mutant. Or engaged in a massive conspiracy to rule the world. Or if you cloned their sisters.

The most important thing to know is that you'll probably have to squint, because the lights will be turned down, and there might be fog everywhere. You don't really have to worry about being brought to justice, though, so just hang loose. It'll pass.

DISCLAIMER: TeeVee does not advocate committing crimes on television. It's much better to become sick on television (Coming soon: "Medical Behavior for Dummies!"), have adorable moptop children on television, or hang around a coffee shop on television with your buddies. On television.


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