I knew I was in trouble when I ordered this video. I had seen the commercials playing day and night on cable and they had taken me back to my college days, sitting around every night with my housemates watching "Cops" and having quite a hoot. The feeling of nostalgia overtook me so I called the 800 number. When I got the operator she ran through her memorized spiel and kind of off-handedly told me that I could spend an extra ten dollars and get fifteen minutes more that were too hot for Too Hot for TV.
Now I’m really curious what would be in those extra minutes and, actually, if they even exist. I know in my case that'd be the perfect scam: I’m sure I don’t know anyone else who would order this video so I can’t really compare what I got with somebody who paid the extra dough.
Unfortunately, I didn’t have anyone there with me to egg me on and pay the extra money (hopefully by saying, "I'll kick in the extra ten! Get it! Get it!") so I went for the cheaper price.
Now, I paid $19.95 plus $4.95 shipping and handling for a thirty-six minute video recorded in EP mode! Damn! I think I'd be really pissed if I had paid over thirty dollars for a video that ran less than an hour unless maybe it was ABBA: In Concert.
Of course, I’m forgetting the six minutes of advertising at the end of the video tape for all your favorite "Cops" merchandise: cup holders, towels, watches, duffel bags, etc. Oh, and there’s also an ad for the video tape you’re watchingwith no mention of the extra stuff.
So how’s the video itself? Is the version I got worth twenty-five dollars? No, I don’t think so. It’s got some really funny bits. Funny, that is, in the way that "Cops" is funnydrunk people making asses of themselves, sober people making asses of themselves, cops making asses of themselves. Get the picture? Sure, it was nice to not have all the swearing and nudity bleeped or fogged, but the real problem lays in the way it’s presented.
What I really enjoy about "Cops" is that each segment is told like a story. We get the call on the police radio or the officer explains to the crew/viewer what the dispatch call was and their feelings about it. Then we arrive at the scene and get to figure out what’s going on along with the cop. The cop is our liaison, asking the questions that need to be asked or kicking butt if the situation demands it. After the dust settles we usually get filled in on what has happened and what might occur down the line in the criminal justice system.
On this video, however, it’s more of a collection of scenes or just little pieces of something that went on with no explanation of what proceeded or follows them. I'd really like to know the whole story of some of the people they cops have pinned to the ground who are spewing obscenities and nonsense, instead, we just relatively short segments just divided into categories according to content like drunk people, prostitutes, cops acting goofy, dumb luck, and just general lawlessness.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I like the TV show because you never get to see police officers hassling seemingly innocent people. I’ve had some really bad experiences with real life cops but I still enjoy watching the show because what happens on it is so foreign to me. I’ve never seen a high-speed pursuit or been on a prostitution sting operation. You'll never see a segment where a sixteen year old kid, who’s scared out of his wits after having a fender-bender and sitting for the first time in the back of a police cruiser, is threatened by the officers at the scene who tell the kid, "We could beat you and no one could do anything about it. It'd be your word against ours." Yeah, I don’t think I'd be sitting down to watch the show too often if it hit so close to home.
Just about everything from the TV commercial and opening of the video is included here. Maybe the fifteen extra minutes include the chase with that white van (that I just happened to catch on the TV’s at National Coney Island the other night and is pretty cool) and the dude at Mardi Gras wearing garters. But, everything else is here.
I really can’t recommend buying this video, but, if you’re a fan of the show, I'd tell you to not hesitate in asking to borrow it if you see it on your friend’s video shelf!