Boston Legal Way Classier Than Beauty and the Geek?
Thanks to all the readers who wrote in last week with news that Freakonomics was mentioned on the TV show Boston Legal.
It happened at the end, when the William Shatner character and the James Spader character were having their ritual end-of-the-episode scotch, musing about law and the world.
Alan Shore (Spader): Well, it’s possible Roe v. Wade has brought our crime rates down.
Denny Crane (Shatner): How do you figure?
A.S.: Well, Roe became law in the ’70’s. Studies have shown that the typical child that went unborn after Roe was more likely to come from poor families, single parents — the very children most likely to grow up to become criminals. After Roe became law, many of those children were being aborted. The would-be criminals of the ’90’s weren’t around because they were never born in the ’70’s.
D.C.: You’re making all this up.
A.S.: I’m not making it up. There’s a book. Freakonomics. Read it! (beat) You’re still not reading?
D.C.: Only newspapers. (beat) It’s un-American!
The Spader character paraphrases quite well the Levitt/Donohue argument that we wrote about in Freakonomics. (At least the writer/s who gave him the words did.)
What was interesting to me was how forthcoming people were about having heard the book mentioned on the show. We must have gotten 10 or 15 e-mails about it (thanks to all of you), and 8 or 10 people I know mentioned it when I saw them — my kid’s teacher, some neighbors, etc. None of them made any qualms about the fact that they’d been watching Boston Legal.
This was in direct contrast to my experience last year when I appeared on the goofy, lovable reality show Beauty and the Geek.
Again, I heard from a lot of people who saw it. But none of them would admit that they’d actually been watching on their own volition. It was always either “My teenager was watching Beauty and the Geek, and I saw you …” or “I happened to be flicking past this channel and caught you on this show, Beauty and the Geek …”
Which leads me to wonder if it’s considered tackier to watch a show like Beauty and the Geek or to appear on it. In either case, it is plainly a far cry less classy than Boston Legal.