I did a lot of binge watching this week so the list below probably less impressive than it actually is. Anyway, here’s some thoughts on what I watched this week:
California Dreams (YouTube)
Yay! I’ve finally reaches season 3, which is what most people consider to be the start of “classic” California Dreams. I like season 3 because it’s the season that introduces the character to whom I most relate, Lorena.
Casey Anthony: Where The Truth Lies (Peacock)
I finally watched the Casey Anthony documentary on Peacock. This was basically a three-episode interview with Casey and the creepy weirdos who have been supporting her since she got away with murdering her daughter. Whoops, did I just show my bias? Oh well. Casey claims that she has spent the last ten years in hiding but now, she’s finally ready to tell her story and try to get people to blame her father for Caylee’s death. Of course, as many people have pointed out, Casey has frequently been seen at bars, concerts, and protest marches over the past ten years so I’m not really sure I’m buying into her social anxiety argument. Nor am I buying that Casey suddenly decided that it was time to present her side of the story. We all know that she got paid to appear in this documentary. Time are tough, especially when your claim to fame is that you probably got away with murdering your daughter.
Here’s a few thoughts I jotted down:
Casey cries a lot but she never actually gets any tears in her eyes.
Casey does a lot of performative cursing whenever she’s trying to convince the viewer that she was treated unfairly but it all sounds forced.
If nothing else, Casey obviously understands the power of presenting yourself as being a victim in today’s society.
After her acquittal, Casey was more or less adopted by two older men and two older women who worked on her defense team. The scenes in which they all meet and tell Casey how proud they are of her are creepy. One gets the feeling that Casey played on their paternal and maternal instincts in much the same way that she tries to manipulate the people watching the show.
The documentary makes one valid point, which is that the case against Casey was made up largely of innuendo and appeals to emotion. But then, the entire third episode uses the exact same technique to smear George Anthony as being a pedophile and a murderer. The documentary mentions that neither George nor Casey’s brother chose to respond to Casey’s accusations against them but, to be honest, why should they?
A few cops are allowed to explain why they think Casey is guilty. As opposed to when Casey speaks, they don’t get the benefit of heroic music playing in the background during their interviews. As well, there are no animated recreations of the police’s theory of what happened. Casey, however, not only tells her side but is helped by animated recreations of her story.
Not mentioned during the program was the claim that lead defense attorney Jose Baez told one of his investigators that 1) he was sleeping with Casey and 2) Casey had confessed to murdering Caylee. Indeed, for all the time that the program spent detailing how the members of Casey’s defense team have “adopted” Casey, it appears that she’s no longer in contact with Jose Baez.
Also not mentioned was that a real-life woman named Zenaida Gonzalez received death threats due to Casey lying about where she had left Caylee.
I never thought I’d see a true crime documentary as one-sided and smarmy as A&E’s The Murder of Laci Peterson but Casey Anthony: Where The Truth Lies proved me wrong. Shame on everyone involved and shame on me for watching it.
Don’t Pick Up The Phone (Netflix)
This disturbing, 3-part documentary from Netflix took a look at the so-called Strip Search Phone Call Hoaxes of the 90s and the early aughts. For several years, someone repeatedly called fast food restaurants and, after claiming to be a cop, said that one of the female employees had been accused of theft and that it would be necessary for the managed to strip search them. A lot of managers saw through the hoax and hung up but, disturbingly, a large number of them followed the orders of the caller. (The film Compliance was based on one such call.) This was a disturbing and sad documentary but an important one. It took a look at what happens when authority is blindly trusted. There’s very little people won’t do under the pretense of “just following orders.”
Fantasy Island (Tubi)
I wrote about Fantasy Island here! And then I watched several more episodes, reviews of which will appear over the next few weeks.
Law & Order: SVU (Hulu)
After watching Don’t Pick Up The Phone, I watched a 2009 episode of Law & Order: SVU that was inspired by the Strip Search Caller. Robin Williams played the caller. It was a pretty uneven episode, as SVU tends to be sometimes. Williams had some good moments but overall, it was a bit too heavy-handed. At one point, Williams’s caller became a political activist and appeared on Morning Joe. “Did you guys catch Morning Joe?” Captain Cragen asked his detectives and I had to laugh. I’m sure blue collar New York cops schedule their entire day around catching the MSNBC lineup.
The Love Boat (Paramount)
I watched a few episodes this week. Check out my latest review here!
Survivor (Wednesday Night, CBS)
I was surprised when Gabler won but the more I think about it, the happier I am with the result. I wrote about the finale of Survivor at Reality TV Chat Blog!