So, I pretty much watch at least one episode of the long running television show Law & Order: SVU every day. The program serves a duel purpose of entertaining me with its crime-of-the-hour type yarns AND distracting me from working on anything constructive. Lord knows that there are enough episodes around that I could probably keep this up for a good year or two. The show itself is a spin-off, of course, of the even longer running show, plain old Law & Order. I love the franchise (except for Criminal Intent…can’t get into it for some reason.)
I bet anybody who has read at least two entries on this blog would wager that today’s entry is being pecked out in celebration of the hotness that is Mariska Hargitay. Well, you’re only half right. I’m heartily looking forward to the day that I sit down and Google-image the heck out of sensitive yet capable Detective Benson. But, my love for SVU goes far beyond just perving over Olivia. I pretty much love the whole ensemble. I love Easter Island-headed Christopher Meloni as Detective Stabler and the always earnest Captain Cragen as played by Dann Florek. I love Tamara Tunie as M.E. Melinda Warner and I love Stephanie March’s Alexandra Cabot (though I miss Diane Neal’s Casey Novak), and yes, I even love you Ice-T!
Actually, my friend Kimie has come up with an ingenious drinking game for SVU involving Ice-T. Every time someone says something that could be construed as racist and the camera pans to Detective Tutuola–who in turn throws up a squinty-eyed scowl–you take a drink. You’ll be tanked by the time the focus shifts from the arrest to the court case.
But today’s prize goes to perhaps the most underappreciated of the squad:
125. Richard Belzer as Det. John Munch
Belzer is awesome for a number of reasons. His lefty conspiracy-theory enthusiast character–Detective John Munch– is, from what I can tell, just pretty much Richard Belzer playing himself. His scenes on the program highlight a snarky but wise cop with great instincts. His character is definitely the longest-running of those on SVU (if only because Detective Munch was actually born on an earlier show–Homicide: Life on the Street). Yet, Detective Munch hasn’t lost his ability to care about the victims or other squad members. He’s just a guy you would want to know if you lived in that world. And if you wanted to talk about the Illuminati with someone.
Here is more evidence that I have unearthed pointing to his awesomeness.
1. He is the cousin of The Fonz (Henry Winkler).
2. He resides in France part time (I guess when he’s not shooting). He clearly has good taste in cheese.
3. He was a warm-up comic for SNL in the seventies. In fact let’s look at some of his early stand-up, shall we?
I especially like that he’s sporting the same haircut Tom Cruise rocked in MI: 2. I think it looks better on Belzer, actually.
4. De Niro is said to have studied him for King of Comedy. I have never seen The King of Comedy. (I know…for shame.) But, that’s a pretty cool credit right there. If I were ever the muse for a movie, that movie would be called The Queen of Snacking and Procrastinating.
5. He supports North Shore Animal League. This is a pic of his one of his dogs. Animal lovers are good people. He even blogged against dog-fighting for Huffpost. Link
6. He’s a cancer survivor.
7. As I mentioned earlier, Belzer has played Detective John Munch on nine different shows (on different networks even). Munch has been on some of the coolest shows ever, including X-Files, Arrested Development, and The Wire.
8. Belzer has featured on Sesame Street three times! In season 38, he presented the word of the day–which was ‘lazy’.
Here’s a little bit of SVU as interpreted by Sesame Street. The Belzer Muppet is dead-on.
9. Silver fox can rock a scarf!
I only wish that we got TNT over here in the UK so that I could watch eight hours of Law & Order a day like my American friends get to. Oh, USA, your streets truly are paved with gold.