BB #29: You Gotta Believe Me!

suspect-1I was catching up on last week’s shows (a word about that in a moment), and it happened again, twice. It’s gotten to the point of almost becoming another “countdown game.” How long will it be until I hear it again?  It might also make a drinking game for people who don’t like to drink all that much, because — while very common — it usually only appears once per story.  (Still, multiple sightings have been documented.)

Being common yet infrequent, it wouldn’t normally stand out at all, but it struck me as such an odd thing to say (even the first time I heard it), that I’ve noticed it ever since.  I suppose my love of LEO stories brings it my way more frequently. The most common context where you’ll hear it is from a suspect or person of interest being interviewed by cops.

It’s the line, “You gotta believe me!”

Um,.. I do? Why?

Maybe it’s just me, but it would never occur to me to say such a thing, and that may be why this stands out so to me. That and how it’s a line you’ll hear (once) in just about every LEO story you watch.

You’ll also hear it in stories that involve someone who’s seen or experienced something (usually dire and foreboding, if not world-ending). They run around saying (or more typically yelling), “You gotta believe me!”

Why do I gotta?

Why do I gotta?

No, I don’t gotta nothing.

Give me reason to believe you, and I might. Give me evidence to believe you, and I probably will.

But insisting that I gotta believe you leaves me cold. Your fervent desire that I believe you isn’t compelling in any way.

“Please believe me!”

Now, that I could get behind. A plea makes sense. Begging makes sense.

But, “you gotta believe me,” just doesn’t make sense to me.

There’s no basis for the “gotta.” Why do I gotta? Because you’re yelling at me? Because you look like a nice guy?

[Actually, it’s usually more because the suspect is being interviewed too early in the story, and is too obvious, for it to actually be that person.  Just once it would be fun to have a suspect say, “No, it can’t be me; it’s too early in the story. It’ll be the one you’re not suspecting. You’ll figure that out in the final act.”  That’s almost become the standard formula in Castle, for example.]

Cliff Clavin… bad guy?

Funny thing: Roger Ebert‘s “Law Economy of Characters” is amazingly useful at predicting the actual villain.

Just look for the biggest guest star, especially if they appear just once early in the story (seriously? big name guest star with a walk on?? no…. they’ll be back).

And if it looks like that guest star is cleared of all possible wrong doing early on, it’s almost a dead certainty they’re the one.

(Example: last week’s CSI had John Ratzenberger as guest star. Guess who the perp turned out to be?)

[[And maybe it’s me having watched so many LEO stories, but it seems like they’re becoming a lot more transparent and predictable. Are the stories getting dumber, or am I just getting very good at reading where the story is going?]]

When the homeless guy with the doomsday sign comes up and insists you gotta believe him the world is ending, we just assume he’s a madman.

But somehow script writers feel this is a standard line of dialog for a sane (and usually ultimately correct) person.

“You gotta believe me, the script will eventually prove I’m innocent!” 😀

You gotta believe me!

It’s just one of those things I don’t get (like Shark Week or the current love of Zombies, but that’s a future post).  Is it perhaps along the same vector of thinking as with “tough guys” who think they can intimidate you into changing your mind about something?  Threat may control my actions, but never my thinking.  Neither does fervor.

So here’s a counting game for you to help alleviate the boredom of commercials: keep track of how often you hear the line, “You gotta believe me!” You might be surprised!

Speaking of counting games, when I was a field tech driving around Los Angeles, I had a counting game to deal with the boredom of sitting in traffic. It was simple. Watch for VW “bug” cars.  Every time you see one, start counting from one. The goal was to be able to count to ten without seeing a bug.

Looks a lot like my old bug (just add some fender dents)!

I never won that game.

It was surprising how many VW bugs there were in early 1980s Los Angeles.

I owned one myself; it was my first car, a 1974 blue standard beetle.

(I loved that little bug! I’d wanted one since the first time I’d tried one.)

Incidentally, with regard to catching up on my weekly shows, nearly all of which are CBS shows: NCIS and its more violent Los Angeles sister (compare weekly body counts), CSI (on which I’ve been borderline the last few years), Elementary (my dear, delectable Watson), and The Good Wife.

On the one hand, thanks to CBS for adding The Mentalist and Person of Interest to their Comcast OnDemand lineup. I won’t watch commercial TV in real-time, only on OnDemand, and those shows were not available previously.

(I’ve been enjoying older episodes of The Mentalist on TNT, though.)

Castle and Beckett

Castle and Beckett

There are shows I would watch on ABC (new episodes of Castle, and I’m hearing an interesting buzz about Scandal). There were a few I did watch on NBC (The Office, Parks & Rec, 30 Rock), but most of them are gone, and I’m increasingly iffy on Parks & Rec.

Here’s the thing: ABC and NBC disable use of fast forward while watching OnDemand. Obviously they want you to watch the commercials. I’ve repeatedly spoken glowingly of CBS, because they don’t.

In fact, just before I sat down a few days ago to catch up on last week’s shows, I was thinking about how much I loved CBS because of that one fact.

That love of being able to watch my shows without having to mute and go elsewhere during commercials (because that’s what I do) was key in my loyalty to CBS shows.

And as I said, I talked them up frequently. I pay for cable, I pay for HD… and I can’t fast forward through parts of the show that bore me?  What! The! Hell!

Guess what’s changed recently.

That’s right. Now CBS is doing the same thing, the bastards.

Gone is my good will, and I will be reconsidering how much I love those shows. NCIS, which is my favorite, I can just wait and buy the season DVD (because I will anyway).

Rizzoli and Isles

CBS did what?!?!

TNT has thus far resisted the urge (bravo TNT, I think I love you and thank you for TCM), so at least I can safely enjoy Major Crimes, Perception and Rizzoli & Isles.

And older episodes of The Mentalist and Castle (except I’ve seen them all now). BBC America also doesn’t disable fast forward, so Doctor Who is safe, too (thank you, thank you, thank you).

Nice move, CBS, you just lost a fan and supporter.

I don’t watch your damn commercials anyway, so you’ve achieved nothing but loss. And guess how I’ll be talking about you in the future, you money-grubbing sons of sheep-rapers?

Consider this: now I make a point of looking away and ignoring the commercials. Before I at least saw them go by in FF. Don’t you think, having seen the same damn commercial hundreds of times, I know what they say?

Your incessant ads pushing your own shows are annoying, too.

Look: the shows I already watch, I watch and don’t need commercials for. The others I’ve decided I’ll never watch, so the commercials are annoying.


What an awful waste of two really fun actors!

One last thing CBS: I checked out your new comedies, Mom and The Crazy Ones.

The first one is awful; I turned it off five minutes into the second episode I tried to watch. Terrible script and worse directing.

As far as I can tell, it’s another idiot sitcom for idiots. That’s a pity, because I really like Anna Faris and Allison Janney. The idea of the show is attractive; the execution is awful.

The Crazy Ones,… I’m sorry, as much as I love Robin Williams, the show is just sad. Again, an idiot show filled with idiot people.

What is this fascination with morons?

And The Millers? The promos alone tell me what a piece of shit that has to be. More Rons,.. yippee, just what we need.

But then, I will admit I’m a very hard sell when it comes to half-hour sitcoms.  I’m the only geeky person I know who thinks Big Bang Theory is just another stupid sitcom.

I’ve tried to watch it, tried to like it,… but I just can’t.

About Wyrd Smythe

The canonical fool on the hill watching the sunset and the rotation of the planet and thinking what he imagines are large thoughts. View all posts by Wyrd Smythe

2 responses to “BB #29: You Gotta Believe Me!

  • Lisa

    Maybe you don’t like Big Bang because you are a geek but you don’t live with any geeks. Living with two people with asbergers and having raised a very analytical daughter I really relate to some of the humor around geeky blind spots and compulsive behavior (some characteristics I also share). You are more of a renissance geek that is capable of social conversation on multiple topics-and you also pause and let others get a word in edgewise.

    • Wyrd Smythe

      I think you’re on to something there! It’s definitely the case that I don’t relate — at all — to any of the characters. There is also that the show is, as most half-hour comedies are, heavy on gags and quips. I was into joke and humor books at an early age, so it takes something special for joke-based humor to excite me much. When I know where the gag is going the moment it starts, the humor really loses its punch.

      Unleashing my inner (Renaissance (ha!, I like that, thanks)) Geek, strictly speaking, a “Geek” is an expert in some specific topic. (The term originated in carnival side shows in reference to the expertise of those who, say, bite the heads off chickens — a challenging and difficult task, no doubt.) A “Nerd” is a social misfit, and there is no necessary sense of expertise in the term, just social inability or disconnection.

      In fact, now that I think of it, you could do a “four-square” diagram, such as in my recent Johari Window post, and come up with the four classes: Geeks, Nerds, Geek-Nerds, and those poor souls who lack either quality.

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