It’s Better to Be Safe Than Friendly

Posted on February 24, 2016


I was watching the news and they said the majority of murder victims are killed by people they know. I bring this up any time my wife tries to get me to meet new people. The fewer people you know, the safer you’ll be. I say no to parent teacher conferences, open houses, book clubs, and meeting my siblings’ children. It’s better to be safe than friendly.

If I have to be murdered I do hope it’ll be by somebody I know, because the only thing worse than getting murdered, is getting murdered and having to make small talk. ‘What’s your name? So where are you from? What do you do when you’re not shooting people?’

I was recently visiting my parents and came into the room while they were watching Cold Case Files. Every episode starts with the same formula: A cheerful description of idyllic, wholesome Americana followed by an ominous switch.

Narrator: ‘A typical sunny morning in Scottsdale, Arizona. Children ride bikes. A dog chases a tennis ball. An elderly couple jogs along a street lined with white picket fences. (Ominous change in tone.) But behind those picket fences lies a secret.’

Narrator: ‘A typical snowy morning in Denver, Colorado. Children build a snowman. A dog chases a snowball. An elderly couple clears snow from a street lined with snow-covered white picket fences. (Ominous change in tone.) But beneath that snow lies a secret.

I’ve begun to suspect ominous secrets hidden behind the veneer of anything wholesome or idyllic.

Narrator: ‘A typical sunny morning in Mom’s kitchen. Pictures of children dot the refrigerator. A pecan pie cools on the windowsill. (Ominous change in tone.) But beneath those pecans lies a secret.’pecanpie

I think viewers would love a new take on the traditional formula, perhaps a show that started ominous but switched to cheerful.

Narrator: (Ominous tone.) ‘A typical overcast day in Detroit, Michigan. Back alleys covered in weeds. Graffiti. Broken glass. (High-energy, cheerful change in tone.) But beneath that broken glass lies a secret plan to recycle that glass and use the money to pay for after school art programs.’

I’d watch that show. Maybe I should consider pitching the idea to studio executives, but I don’t know any studio executives, and meeting new people is a risk I’m not willing to take.