Law And Order: SVU: STFU (No, But Really… Please Do)

No, it’s the fact that I spent years watching this show while doing the same wrestling I feel when I watch an actor who abused his wife or one of my favorite movies that’s unfortunately directed by a pedophile, except worse. Instead of just feeling like I’m indirectly supporting a terrible person, I feel like I’m directly supporting a morally negative show. Every time I see an increasingly violent introduction — after all, keeping viewers watching after Stabler’s departure isn’t easy — or another quick, painless carrying out of justice against a perpetrator, I get sick. They’ve increased how violent and how long their rape scenes are which, though I believe rape should be depicted in ugly, ugly realism, is obviously stylized and done for ratings and to maintain the interest of people who, let’s be honest, are okay with watching increasingly fucked up rape scenes.

And gets famous people to buff their resumes/play "difficult roles," like Jennifer Love Hewitt.

Believe me, I get it: horrifying things are interesting. Rape is horrifying. So by my own logic, rape is therefore “interesting.” It is not, however, entertaining and I think that’s where SVU crosses the line into exploitative.

This is extremely dangerous. Dispersing the association of rape and normalcy among the general public is very, very bad, but we know that already: that’s why rape jokes can be so dangerous, that’s why ads depicting women drunk “causing their own rapes” is dangerous. Pretending it’s normal and entertaining, even, to see people raped and go through that process is nothing short of terrible. Rape is common, but it will never be normal.

The show is thirteen years old (yes, really); shouldn’t it have had some sort of bar mitzvah and grown up finally? Instead, I just feel like it’s evolving into that gross kid who grows a little tinted hair over his lip and starts punching the people he previously only taunted. It’s still using the same formula as ever: finding women’s bodies in parks, getting people riled up and then resolving in a convoluted ending using several misrepresentations of the legal system.

All trustworthy cops have good hair and cheekbones!

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    • Elevator_from_Duh_Shining

      I can’t stand this show for all of the reasons you listed in this article

    • Annie Will

      GREAT article. I have always loved SVU, but lately it’s been killing me, for most of the reasons you described.

    • Brit McGinnis

      This is definitely a good argument pointing out flaws in this show, but I HOPE that you think things can still change!!! I find that TV shows in particular pay attention to media buzz (or at least they should). So maybe you could make soe noise about this? It always makes me angry when people rant about things LIKE rape culture, but then act like it’s impossible to change it. It’s HARD, but not impossible. <3

    • Stablest

      I agree with you SO HARD, that show is super heteronormative, especially in the earlier seasons, and even when they come across an old victim who appears to have dealt with it, they always push her until she cries and then they can be like, “see?? You weren’t ok YOU MUST PRESS CHARGES OR THIS WILL HAPPEN TO EVERY WOMAN EVERYWHERE” Also, Stabler is gone and that makes it so much less fun to watch.

    • Emily Fisher

      Agree 100 percent! I honestly don’t know why people want to sit through that… Rape should not be glorified as entertainment.

    • lostinthecity

      Stabler leaving wasn’t the worst of it. The show is now helmed by Warren Leight, who for the past two seasons has dumbed it down and taken away a lot of the grit. The scripts have become so poorly written. And in terms of cinematography, it’s now shot more like a USA or CBS show than the old Law & Order.