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T.J. HOOKER PRESSROOM : NEW STATESMAN REVIEW


THE DEEP END
Fiona Pitt-Kethley

September 11, 1987
New Statesman Magazine



[Editor's note: this review of the episode "The Confession" (4.58) is excerpted from a series of short reviews.]

As a TV addict coming back from holiday one of the first things I had to do was catch up. This meant consulting family and friends on whatever serials they had been able to bring themselves to watch. The only clear information I've has so far is that Fallon of The Colby's has gone off in a spaceship. Didn't anyone tell her not to take rides from strangers? Presumably she'll come back pregnant in the next series, fall down the stairs and produce a little green Colby with pointed ears. Talking of soaps -- I think I'll be watching Sins (ITV) because I like Joan Collins. I'm glad to see an actress break the mould by showing that an older woman can be important, attractive and pull younger men. It gives me hope for my future. Sadly, I came back too late in the week for my usual diet of telly. It was time to dredge the bottom of the barrel, give programmes a second chance, watch something new, or a little of all three.

In the distant past I watched the first episode of T.J. Hooker (ITV) and got slightly put off by the number of cars crashed and people shot, not to mention William Shatner waggling his bulging crotch at the camera. This week, though, I was tempted back by the programme summary in TV Times: 'Hooker needs all his skills when two mercenaries rape the female priest in his parish.'

T.J. really had to suffer in the cause of duty from this one. I had to admire the look of pious resignation as he toured the mercenaries' 'Watering-places', watching endless go-go girls as he looked for the culprits. It was here that he uttered the immortal line: 'There are two mercs raping and robbing in the streets as though they were back in San Salvador. Now I want names.' The situation was further complicated by the fact that the rapist had confessed to his victim. She talked about the seal of confession as though she were a Roman Catholic rather than an Episcopalian. Still, this enabled our hero to save the day by dressing in wig, cassock and surplice and posing by the altar to tempt the rapist.


TJ-Hooker.com Rebuttal
by Johnny Durrell,
editor & content provider


As is the case with most art that appeals to the popular culture, T.J. Hooker has long vexed critics and other pompous intellectuals. While regular folks like us sit back and thrill to the exploits of T.J. Hooker and his LCPD friends, the media elite are left to scratch their egg-shaped noggins and wonder what all the fuss is about. It's not surprising, then, that Ms. Pitt-Kethley associates T.J. Hooker with the lowest link on the television food chain.

Typical of most critics who assail pop culture, Ms. Pitt-Kethley resorts to ad hominem attacks on the series' star. After gushing about Joan Collins' ability to remain a sex symbol at an older age, she has the audacity to chastise William Shatner for "waggling his bulging crotch at the camera"! Having watched a good number of T.J. Hooker episodes, not once have I seen a 'crotch-cam'. Perhaps Ms. Pitt-Kethley is suppressing something.

Ms. Pitt-Kethley was also "put off by the numbers of cars crashed and people shot." Maybe someone should have informed her that it's a POLICE SHOW. Just watch FOX for any length of time and you'll see that shootings and car crashes happen all the time. What content would she prefer, Hooker tracking down a lost dog or Romano writing a parking ticket? This begs the question: does someone from Great Britain have the proper frame-of-reference to review an American cop show in the first place? With all due respect to the men in blue across the pond, if anyone dared call Hooker a "bobby", he'd be eating from a straw for the next month.

Let's face it, T.J. Hooker is as ingrained in the American experience as mom's apple pie. To try to dissect it on any terms other than its own does the show and its fans a terrible disservice.

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