With few exceptions, the premise for each new buddy cop TV show or movie feels a bit similar to the last one that you saw and the one before that. Despite that, the genre has, for the most part, avoided becoming completely boring. Amazingly. There are just some genres — like horror and gross-out comedy — that stand the test of time and keep drawing an audience. There’s comfort in the familiarity, I suppose, and the contrasting humor, violence, and tension does seem like a winning formula — when in the right hands. And that’s the key.
One of the genre’s greatest franchises, Lethal Weapon, will be making its return on Wednesday September 21, not to the big screen, but in the form of a television series on Fox. Wild man Riggs and a slightly less grizzled Murtaugh are still the focus, only now they’re played by Clayne Crawford and Damon Wayans. The chemistry between Crawford and Wayans has been praised by The New York Times and our critic, Andrew Husband, was pretty high on the show, so there’s hope that the television show will do the popular movies justice. Lethal Weapon likely won’t break any new TV ground in the genre, but hopefully it can build upon successful TV buddy cop shows like Cagney & Lacey, Psych, and Bones, among the many others.
Rather than simply watching the show and mentally checking off each buddy cop cliché it lovingly embraces (which you secretly adore), why not make a drinking game of it? With any luck by the time Lethal Weapon — or the buddy cop movie/TV show of your choice — ends, you’ll have a nice buzz going and have cracked the case — both beer and crime — wide open.
The Odd Couple Crime Fighters
It’s an unwritten screenwriting law that the partners in any buddy cop show or movie be as different as possible. They might both wear badges, but that’s where the similarities end. One’s black, one’s white. One’s old, one’s young. One does things by the book, the other’s a wild card. One’s a family man, the other spends his nights drinking at the local strip club. You get the picture. The approach has been done with just about every combination out there from dogs to zombies, with varying levels of success.
Sure, the pair will start off despising each other, tossing out insults like “young punk” and “old man,” but as the body count rises and the shell casings start to fly, they’ll eventually grow to respect one another. There’s a good chance by the end of the movie, one of them will get shot and be wheeled out on a stretcher while the other mutters something sentimental like, “You’re alright after all, kid” Aww. Odd couple pairing — crack open a beer.
Retirement Is Almost In Reach
Lethal Weapon‘s Roger Murtaugh speaks for every buddy cop movie veteran when he remarks, “I’m getting too old for this sh*t.” There’s a good chance that one of the cops in a buddy cop movie is going to be significantly older, and if that’s the case, they’ll undoubtedly be counting down the days until retirement. He or she has a boat somewhere to sit on and domestic beer to drink. The last thing they need is some rookie showing up who wants to reopen a cold case from 15 years ago. Chances are he’ll make it to retirement, but he’ll be forced to track down some serial killer first. Somebody was about to retire — take two swigs and both yell and acknowledge that you are “Too old for this sh*t!”
(Bonus: If Roger says that line, immediately quit the game, turn off your TV, and go sit atop a mountain and reflect on how we are living in an amazing time.)