ENTRTNMNT When Procedurals Take Over Your Entertainment Life Rachael Berkey

I’m a pretty happy person. In fact, I told someone on Twitter the other day that I was one of those preternaturally cheery people with a smile for everyone. We were discussing coffee and my current level of bounce in relation to the number of espresso shots I’d had that morning.

Despite my borderline crazy happiness, I have this sick addiction to procedurals. I’m one of those oddballs who can watch an episode of Bones from beginning to end while eating spaghetti, and even when they set a cup full of ants on a skeleton to clean the last bits of flesh from it, I don’t gag.

My family refers to this as my stomach of iron.

I try not to think about it.

My weird ability translates across artistic types, though. I love a good murder mystery in book form, and frankly, the more psychological it is, the better. I can wax philosophically on Steig Larrson and his Girl with the Dragon Tattoo trilogy for hours.

Spoiler Alert

The basis of my arguments center on the mysterious fourth manuscript that is out there somewhere, unfinished, which I am convinced would answer all my questions about Lisbeth’s sister. She was just too perfectly set up in the third novel to not play a part in the overarching mystery of Lisbeth’s life, am I right?

I loved those books so much that they are in current rotation in the top ten of titles I recommend to people when they bemoan their lack of things to read. This is after I look at them derisively and ask how it’s possible that they have nothing to read. I have a stack of books on my bedside table that is just waiting for me to have the time to tackle them. How do you have nothing to read?

So what is it about these gruesome stories that draws me in? I don’t know. It’s become a mystery of my own to solve, but I’m not really trying all that hard. Maybe it’s the insanity that our world is falling into right now like the killing of Trayvon Martin and the questions that surround it? Does all the darkness, negativity and fighting weigh me down to the point where I want to escape into mysteries that are solvable and have conclusions?

From the bloody murder mysteries I watch on TV to my current devouring of Calling Mr. Smith, a novel about a jaded hit man who’s losing his thirst for putting a bullet in someone’s skull, I can’t seem to get enough of the dark and twisted. Everyone else seems to be completely obsessed with post-apocalyptic stories whether it’s children set against each other in a fight to the death or figuring out what to put in their zombie survival kit. Maybe this is just my method? I mean, I loved The Hunger Games as much as the next person, but it didn’t ruin my life. And it didn’t live up to other stories that I had read as a teenager like The Giver, The Handmaid’s Tale or even The Lottery. Confession: I didn’t even read the second two in the series, and I have yet to see the movie.

I feel like a bad pop culture junkie even admitting that.

Next time my roommate looks at me funny while I shovel food into my mouth with my eyes glued to a bloody autopsy on screen, I’m just going to question his willingness to read about 12 year olds who hunt each other in the woods. We all have our odd fixations, right?

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  1. Yup the smile is scary, but not as scary as the voice. Like nails on a chalkboard. Add her to The List that iulncdes Oprah the Ego Maniac, Martha Do-You-Know-Who-I-Am Stewart and that southern phony Paula Dean/Deen/Deane who when trying to say wild rice it comes out as a drawn out wiiiiiide ryyyyye .

    Anonymous | 5/06/2012 07:05 pm
  2. First, a comment on the “nothing to read” statement: I found myself in that situation last night. I nearly went nuts. I’m one of those people who ALWAYS has a copy of their current read at hand (be it a “real book” or on a e-reader), and I feel not like myself if I have no book with me. Fortunately for my sanity, I visited my local thrift store today and picked up a few books. I’m good for a week :) Anyway, running out of things to read happens to all of us at some point, I think. Anyway, the best of the best, procedural-wise, are still Ed McBain’s 87th Precinct novels. They’re old (the first was written in 1955), but they still stand head and shoulders above the rest. They’re well worth reading. There are a ton of them, too, so they’ll keep the reader busy for a while :)

  3. I watched the chicken farm episode of Bones while eating KFC… this is like the height of my “I am no longer affected by gross things on tv in relation to scooping food in my mouth” moment. I’m pretty much immune, given how many dinners I’ve eaten while watching crime shows, but Bones is the WORST offender of grossness.

  4. Ahahah me too.. I don’t know why but..i just don’t care sometimes that i watch gruesome parts of a procedural show like Bones and still be able to eat. Even if what i’m eating is a similar to blood-or something like that.:))what is even stranger is that i get grossed out by stuff that isn’t much of a big deal, like a fresh tiny cut..wierd, right??