TV Shows that Actually Existed: Cop Rock


Listen: Cop Rock existed, and you can't make it unexist. Some claim that it was a fever dream, a TV myth like the Diff'rent Strokes where Gary Coleman gets molested (yep, it happened) or the Too Close for Comfort where Jim J. Bullock gets raped by women (the jury's still out on that one).

Nope. Cop Rock was a cop show with musical numbers. F'reals.

Lasting 11 episodes in late 1990, Cop Rock is the unloved middle child between producer Steven Bochco's two biggest hits, Hill Street Blues and NYPD Blue. It's actually quite compelling as a cop show, feeling like a dry run for NYPD Blue -- with, yes, musical numbers, though without Dennis Franz's hairy butt cheeks, so Cop Rock had that going for it.

The first song of any musical sets the tone, and the Cop Rock pilot fumbles badly by opening with quite possibly the most tone-deaf faux-rap this side of "Grill Skills":

The opening credits feature the cast smiling and bobbing their heads as Randy Newman performs the theme song. I adore Randy Newman, but even in 1990 the song still has that certain soulless 1980s production sheen.

"Garbage In, Garbage Out," featured in the promos, was from the third episode. Most viewers didn't make it that far.

Suspects in a lineup suggest they're victims of racial profiling.

Not every song was about cops, crime, or racial tension; some evoked Robert Palmer. (Might as well face it.)

The final number of the final episode is about their cancellation. It's surprisingly funny and a little melancholy.

Y'know, I'll say this much for Cop Rock: I get the feeling that everybody on screen was having fun. It's just a shame nobody was watching.

Sherilyn Connelly is a San Francisco-based writer. She also curates and hosts Bad Movie Night at The Dark Room, every Sunday at 8 p.m.

Follow us on Twitter at @ExhibitionistSF (follow Sherilyn Connelly on Twitter at @sherilyn) and like us on Facebook.

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I was watching... a little confused, maybe, but watching all the same. 

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