For me, one of those things is COP ROCK.
I'm writing this in full knowledge of the fact that a fair number of folks on my flist are way younger than I am. If you're in your early twenties, then when COP ROCK came on (and then went off) the air in fall 1990, you were maybe five or six years old. So you probably didn't see it. For those of us in high school, on the other hand...
As TV shows go, COP ROCK is a little like RUBIK, THE AMAZING CUBE. If you haven't heard of the show, you're going to think I'm kidding. Because it sounds absolutely *insane.* Which it should, because it was. The show tanked despite being heavily promoted, possibly because people heard about the premise and said, "What? Oh, hell, no! You gotta be shitting me!" Even those of us who watched it open-minded were weirded out. In some respects, it was overhyped, but I think they kind of had to do that. I can't imagine what it would be like to not hear any of the publicity, to come to this series cold. Because --
Hell with it. I'll show you.
So let's pretend it's 1990, and you turn on the TV, and a cop show's on. Hey, cop shows are cool. Let's watch a bit. Looks like a standard thing, kind of boilerplate: cops are busting some guy, and there's an angry crowd. Something's gonna happen. Yep, something's definitely gonna happen.
And then this happens.
Yes, that's right. COP ROCK, the *police musical.* Occasional songs by Randy Newman, more often songs by cheaper folks, and the weirdest goddamn experience in early nineties television. I have seen crazier things, but not many.
The seed for COP ROCK was planted when somebody suggested to Stephen Bochco that HILL STREET BLUES would make a dandy Broadway musical. (Yeah, that was my reaction too; don't even try to wrap your brain around that one, just move along.) Bochco decided not to do that, but he did mull it over: cops... in a musical... cops... musical -- AHA! COP ROCK! The strange thing is that I have very strong memories of the pilot, which I saw once, on its original airing, *seventeen years ago.* And I didn't even like the show a lot. But I remembered the first scene. And this one:
You can see why it didn't last. BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER did a musical episode that was pretty impressive, but it was one episode and they had a lot more time to iron out the kinks. COP ROCK did a new musical every week, and attempted to be a gritty cop show in the bargain. The combination was just too brain-jarring, and the songs and stagings weren't good enough to make you buy it anyway.
The best song to come out of the show was this one. Randy Newman wrote it. It's the only other song I remember from the show, and it's the one I liked the most.
The song is sung by a woman selling her baby for crack.
You can see why COP ROCK didn't work.