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Steven Seagal, Lawman, Will Squint You Into Submission

December 9, 2009

The headline for Entertainment Weekly’s story on Steven Seagal’s new TV show reads “If you like ‘Cops’, you’ll love ‘Steven Seagal Lawman’.”  This type of lead is risky: if you don’t like Cops you’re probably not even going to give SSL chance, even though you might like it.  This reminds me of the ads for Green Card: “If you liked Pretty Woman, give Green Card a try…”  Not exactly a rousing promotion, and I fucking hated Pretty Woman.  Hooker-with-a-heart-of-gold stories suck.  If I’m buying sex, I want a hooker with a heart of filth and depravity, one that matches my own.  Needless to say, I never saw Green Card, and I’ll never get suckered into watching Pretty Woman again unless somehow filthy, depraved sex is on the line.  It won’t be.

But I digress.  I liked Cops, when it first came out, for about the first hour.  Watching shirtless rednecks getting cuffed and shoved into squad cars gets boring quickly, and I can see that stuff live when I visit my buddies in Covington.  It’s kind of like Girls Gone Wild: I never thought I would tire of watching boobies, but after 20 minutes of seeing drunken college girls remove their tops, I actually stopped the DVD (my roommate’s, not mine) and turned on a local TV station.  One of the Law and Orders, I think.  I learned something about myself that day, and I’ve never really been the same.

Dammit, I digressed again.  OK, so Seagal has apparently been working a second job—actually, a first job for the past several years—as a deputy with the Louisiana Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office for a couple decades.  In Hollywood, he went from cool-monikered Mason Storm in Hard To Kill to supreme badass Casey Ryback in Under Siege to crappy Kentucky-stereotype whomper Jack Taggart in Fire Down Below.  In Steven Seagal Lawman, he does cop stuff like break up fights, discover guns and drugs on people’s person and property, and teach other officers how to disable perps with squinty stares and low, gruff one-liners.  In future episodes, he’ll probably be called to mediate a domestic disturbance or deal with a noisy neighbor hammered on Lone Star.  Whatever the call, someone will eventually make a crack about Seagal’s pony tail (although it’s only a duck tail now).  This will be a mistake, like breaking Arnold’s sunglasses in Terminator 2.  That person will end up with a dislocated shoulder, but the dashboard video will show nothing because it will have happened too quickly to be detected without ultra-high-speed photography.

Yeah Seagal has gotten larger.  Yeah there was a time when he could chase you down and break your sternum with his pinky, but now you can outrun him with a steady jog, or perhaps a brisk walk.  So other deputies flush out suspected scofflaws toward Seagal, who now absorbs them Akira-style instead of tearing out their throats.  He’s still got the (extremely painful) touch, and it’s real this time.  Seagal is still the man.

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