A reader writes:
The thing with COPS is that there’s an unspoken agreement – the cops will never be embarrassed. Can you imagine the blooper reel they could assemble? It would be epic. But you never see any of that; as far as I know no one has ever escaped once the cops started chasing them. But of course they do in real life. When you understand that everything you are seeing has been cleared for embarrassing material, it becomes a bit scarier. The casual way they will tase people for standing there and simply refusing to comply is a bit shocking, since they not only do that, but feel no shame about it. It’s a bit scarier as propaganda than just as cringe comedy.
I hold a different view then that of Kelley Vlahos regarding COPS. While the critiques of the show are fairly obvious to any thoughtful viewer, I actually value the show for one important reason: it is the only, and I mean ONLY, show on TV that shows the true face of poverty in America.
Where else will we ever see the filthy living rooms of people living by a thread day after day, their children hungry and dirty? This view of America is studiously avoided but because poverty is ugly and no one wants to see it, but there it is on COPS and no one can deny its effect on human beings. I understand the makers of the show come from a completely different ideology, their point being law and order prevails, but what it unknowingly shown to us is the dark underbelly of the American experiment. Watch it with eyes wide open.