What Would Nancy Drew Do?
But that was the days before tivoing. If I was home and there was nothing, I mean nothing else to do, I'd watch 48 Hours: Mystery and I'd be intrigued.
Without fail, everytime I watch shows like 48 Hours: Mystery, Dateline NBC, 20/20 or Primetime Live I wonder why I don't watch them more often. Then tivo came into my life and I realize I didn't have to be home, bored out of my skull to watch, I could just watch whenever I wanted to. Before I knew it, I had 48 Hours: Mysteries delivered to my doorstep. I was excited because I didn't have to remember it and I could watch it whenever I wanted to, and I do.
Yet the more 48 Hours: Mysteries the more I realize something: it is one frustrating program to watch. It's so frustrating for one reason and one reason only, it's a mystery.
See they don't call the show 48 Hours: Once A Mystery, Now A Solved Case or 48 Hours: Mysteries No More!. Instead they chose the bland, 48 Hours: Mystery when perhaps more fitting titles would have been 48 Hours: We Give Up or 48 Hours: All Roads Leading To Nowhere.
I say this because you watch the one, sometimes two hour program only to find out who did it, kinda sorta. This is because the mysteries are still that, mysteries. They almost always end with a conviction, but in a very unsettling turn of events, you don't know for sure it was the right conviction.
Did the ex-husband murder his ex-wife? Was it the jealous sister, out for revenge? Or perhaps Colonel Mustard did it with the wrench in the study? All of them are equally good guesses, but they are just that. Guesses. Hunches. Verdicts that are by no means set in stone.
Yet while the verdict is often a shaky one, and emotions have been played on both sides, you can still pretty much see through the smoke and mirrors to figure out which side 48 Hours: Mystery the program is favoring. I don't need no Angela Lansbury to follow those clues.
Which got me thinking one night as I watched another 48 Hours; the show, not the buddy flick starring Eddie Murphy. I wonder how many of these people they portray as "guilty" are in fact, actually innocent? Some of them get off, but yet their stories have been splayed on tv for all the world to see. So in reality, they can never really escape that reputation, unless of course another killer is found and convicted and then in that case these people get a glorified, "Whoops! My bad!" from local authorities.
And for those who do get off who really are guilty, I'm not quite sure a dramatization of their events sits right with me either. Let's face it, most of these people are sick or else they wouldn't have killed one or more individuals to begin with. Many times these peope outright admit they want the fame and notoriety, no matter what the cost. And what do we turn around and do? We give it to them. Where's the mystery there?
48 Hours: Mystery deals with bigger issues than a witch that eats little children. That shit is real. And it airs late at night too, which is an even worse idea. Yet I watch. And maybe you watch. And at the end of the program we are snug in our beds, while visions of killers at large dance in our heads.
I know it might sound silly but I like my mysteries to be like fairy tales; all once upon a time and happily ever after, even if they're starring Ashley Judd and Morgan Freeman.