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Cop Rock

"Thanks for taking this meeting, J.B. Now - you ready to get your socks knocked off? Here's my boffo idea: we combine gritty, tough urban crime drama with... the musical! Yeah, that's right, New York cops runnin' around, bustin' drug dealers just like all my other Emmy-winning shows... when suddenly - bam! Everybody starts singin' & dancin', boppin' around to the tunes of some slick songwriter, like, uh, I dunno, that guy who did "Short People." I tell ya, J.B., it's gold. Gold, baby!"

At least, that's my impression of the meeting that spawned this televisual abomination.

Cop Rock Cop Rock was the creation of Steven Bochco, whose output up to that moment was pretty much a grandslam homerun every time he stepped up to the plate: this was the man who created the crime dramas Hill Street Blues, NYPD Blue, and LA Law - his track record for this sort of thing was impeccable. Some would say he reinvented the crime-genre TV show, making things gritty and hyper-realistic, dark dramas peopled with flawed heroes. (This was, after all, the period of Reagan and Thatcher, of Bernie Getz and all of that post-70's angst.) Hell, the man probably could have gotten absolutely any project greenlighted just on his name value alone.

Yup. Any stupid piece of shit. Apparently.

Cop Rock took this rough-edged drama and mixed it into a musical format. Literally, characters on both sides of the law would be going through their routine, then suddenly stop and burst into Broadway-style tunes. A jury deciding the fate of a murderer; a drug-addicted mom with her baby just before she's about to sell the kid for money to buy more dope; gangs of black youths being led to the waiting patrol cars. All of these characters - in the first episode alone! - could be seen bursting into song and, in some cases, boogying down in unison. Yes, it was absolutely ridiculous as it sounds.