Saturday, August 1, 2015

31 Day Miami Vice Challenge, Day 1: How Did I Discover Miami Vice?

Via Miami Vice Online
I was the girl who, at the ripe age of seven or eight, sat down with my dad and watched the unedited version of Top Gun* with my dad, so hearing swear words and seeing people die in explosions wasn't really anything that shocked me, but for some reason, Miami Vice was never something I was allowed to view. Maybe it's because neither of my parents were really into it - although my mother did admit later to enjoying the show during its original run - or maybe they felt the overt sexual themes and "realistic" depictions of drug use was something I was not ready to see. So it wasn't until over a decade later, after catching the odd rerun every now and then, that I finally decided, you know what, I want to watch this show. It was my first Netflix binge-fest, and I walked away from it feeling inspired, somewhat let down, and amused.

A few weeks ago, I came across an article** published several years back, and it sums up my feelings after finishing the last episode: it definitely was revolutionary in the beginning, especially considering the other offerings of that era's television, but as the years went on, it nearly became a parody of itself by taking itself too seriously and then trying much too hard to bring back the earlier magic (I tend to look at the length of Sonny's hair and Rico's beard as indicators of quality). Perhaps because I was watching the series so long after the decade that it inspired (and by which it was inspired) that I didn't have the nostalgia necessary to sit there and argue its brilliance to anyone who would listen. Miami Vice is exactly what the original Star Trek series is: very silly (but fucking fun!) to watch now, but you can't help but notice the an underlying intelligence and innovation that would shape how our entertainment is delivered to us. Look at the strides each show managed to make in terms of diversity: the first interracial kiss between Kirk and Uhura (and that Uhura is an officer on a first-class starship in the first place) in Star Trek and realistic depictions of the actual populace of Miami in Vice. Both tackled tough subjects that no other shows would, like racism and man's quest for power, although I think Star Trek was a bit more successful in this, at least artistically.

But none of this pondering could have been possible had I not decided to take a break from my worries and watch MTV cops via Netflix. It's missing a few episodes on there, the first season's "Evan" being one of those, which kind of baffles me. I wonder if there were licensing issues or something with that one because the subject matter - I will be discussing "Evan" later on this month, so don't worry if you're not sure what I'm talking about here - isn't really something censorship-worthy. So basically what I'm saying is, Netflix is an enabler and will make sure that I watch nearly everything I have ever wanted to, sacrificing any accomplishments in the real world.

* At one point, and I remember this vividly, I asked my parents what a hard on was, and my mother quickly responded with, "Now is not the time." Which is weird, considering they'd already given me the sex talk, complete with medical diagrams, but I guess explaining euphemisms to a single-digit child wasn't really a thing my mom wanted to deal with at the time?
** I laughed so hard at the "Three-Eyed Turtle" thing that Three came to check on me because I was having trouble breathing.
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