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Law and Order: Special Victims Unit has decided to make another episode based on video games. Ugh, ugh, ugh.
Here's the synopsis for the episode that will air February 11th on NBC, via AllThingsLawAndOrder. Pay special attention to the part I bolded:
Video game developer Raina Punjabi (guest star Mouzam Makkar) solidifies the launch of her first game amid a stream of online insults, intimidation and death threats from the male-dominated gaming community. When a female employee is assaulted at a gamer convention, Detective Tutuola (Ice-T) investigates the crime but Raina refuses to delay the launch, and the cops must "level up" to protect her. Also starring Mariska Hargitay (Sgt. Olivia Benson), Kelli Giddish (Det. Amanda Rollins) and Peter Scanavino (Det. Dominick Carisi Jr.). Guest starring Peter Mark Kendall (Steven Kaplan), Susannah Flood (Sarah Keller) and Griffin Matthews (Leslie Connolly).
Jesus, Law and Order. Couldn't you get through a synopsis without a terrible gaming pun?
I think that the subject of the episode is interesting. Online harassment is a new challenge for law enforcement because it involves multiple suspects who might live across the country from the victim, if not across the world. In addition to the technical hurdles, there's also the reluctance among some to treat cyberbullying seriously. "We don't arrest kids on the schoolyard for being mean to each other, do we?" one SVU detective will no doubt say during an office debate. Then someone else will point out the damage that sustained harrassment can cause and so on.
While it's a discussion-worthy topic, I really hate that it's going to happen on Law and Order: SVU. Their track record with video game episodes isn't so great. I still can't get over an episode from a few years ago called "Bullseye" that featured parents that ignored their daughter so they could play video games all day. The daughter ran away because she was starving and ends up getting raped. The parents have no idea because they're too preoccupied keeping their virtual son in the video game alive.
Here are still pictures of the parents that should give you a good sense of how they're portrayed:
When the two are hauled in for questioning, Benson accuses the father of raping his child. The father responds as follows:
"Wait a second, pause the game!"
Somehow this was considered believable dialogue for a gamer. He likes games so he peppers his speech with gaming lingo, like how Mr. Freeze in Batman & Robin said shit like "I'm going to put you on ice!" or "You're not putting me in the cooler!"
It doesn't make any sense. People don't speak in themes. If this episode was about a race car driver accused of rape, he wouldn't say "Whoa, let's make a pit stop!" An English professor wouldn't say, "Consider revising your thesis!" There are some people out there who are seriously addicted to games but I doubt any of them talk like fucking Wreck-It Ralph characters.
I hope that NBC perhaps employed a writer who's met someone that played video games to write this latest gaming episode. However, I can't help but imagine that the prime suspect's going to squeal "Restart from checkpoint! Restart from checkpooooint!" as he's hauled off by police.