Thursday, January 08, 2015

Life Imitates Law and Order

In the realm of television procedurals, the Law and Order franchise looms large. It is a multi-decade empire that still exists in ridiculous form with Law and Order: Special Victims Unit, which could be renamed "Law and Order: Soap Opera". It started out as a meat and potatoes crime show based in NYC that played on the '80s drug, mob and white collar prosecutions, with a lot of action on the police side and little on the court side. They junked that formula to be about half cops and half courts, and really hit their peak with the Orbach and Waterston years. Their sweet spot was the era with the Orbach/Waterston leads and Noth/Bratt cop & Jill Hennessey as the believably smart and smoking hot ADA sidekicks. Another terrible feature that happened more and more was the "ripped from the headlines" storylines. They might have been ripped from the headlines with a progressive washing. New York just saw a murder that would be best classified as ripped from the Law and Order script bank.

Tom Gilbert millionaire hedge fund maestro was found murdered in what looked like a suicide. It... wasn't... suicide.

It was his 30 year old son, Tommy Gilbert who did it.

>Dunt Dunt<

Tommy was educated at prep schools all his life that cost what the average American makes a year. He went to Princeton and took six years to graduate due to taking "leaves of absence".

>Dunt Dunt<

Tommy was a tall and handsome, blond haired, blue eyed man known for going to many black tie social events.

>Dunt Dunt<

Tommy was dating a Manhattan socialite named Anna Rothschild... aged 49. She described him as handsome, fit and wealthy. He was a loner who had few friends, and the only person who called him was his momma.

>Dunt Dunt<

Tommy was rumored to have burned down a rival's mansion in the Hampton's yet his friends say any murder would be out of character.

Tommy was unemployed and on an allowance from his father. He was found with skimming devices and blank credit cards in his apartment. He resented his father for holding him down and never thought he'd live up to his dad's expectations. The allowance was being reduced from $600 month to $400 month (on top of paying his $2400/month rent).

>Dunt Dunt<

This is exactly the type of soap opera situation that makes up the majority of Law and Order episodes. This is a young man raised in privilege who somehow never applied himself. Anyone else want to know his SAT scores for that Princeton Admission? Anyone else want to know the cause for his leaves of absence? It is two whole years that they allowed him to take a break yet occupy a seat in their elite student body. A friend who went to Columbia once said, "Poor kids drop out, rich kids take a break". Gilbert had every mistake and error taken care of by his parents and Princeton. The real world turned out to be a bit tougher for him. He still was being subsidized by his parents, and pretending to live a good life. These people are calling a thirty year old man, "Tommy". Murder over a drop in his allowance, at age thirty, does not sound so strange if you look at everything in total. Friends just never want to admit that their friends are capable of anything. We all are given the right motivation.

Anything else stick out as weird? Here is a fit and handsome son of wealthy parents living in the NYC rich man's playground. What the hell is he doing dating a 49 year old? have you seen pictures of her? She is a Rothschild, so she is loaded. Here is her Facebook page, where she refers to herself as a public figure. Being twice divorced and previously spotlighted in the NY Times, she might have been paying to play or informally helping young Tommy along in his rough patch. A good laugh is that in 2000, the times called her a 31 year old divorced babe, but now, 14 years later, she is age 49. She aged 18 years in 14. Her mention in the Times is too delicious not to quote.

The upward trend is not lost on women in certain circles. Take Anna Rothschild, a 31-year-old Manhattanite just getting divorced from her second husband. Her first, a stockbroker, gave her a five-carat, round diamond set in platinum from Harry Winston. Her second husband gave her a six-carat, emerald-cut diamond with trilliums on the side. She designed it with him at a private jeweler (cost: about $75,000).''Personally,'' Ms. Rothschild said, ''I would have preferred 10 carats.'' But husband No. 2, an English businessman, ''thought that was vulgar and inappropriate. He wanted a more understated type of style.'' Next time around, Ms. Rothschild said, ''I would like at least an 8-carat canary diamond. They are much more rare than just a regular diamond, and I've tried on my friends' rings and I know it looks good on my finger.'' ''See, if you're medium-boned, even four carats can look small on your body,'' she added.

The Times expected her to get engaged a third time for a bigger diamond, but it never happened. What if Rothschild is calling this 30 year old such a great catch because she doesn't want to admit that a rich cougar can find a hot young guy twenty years older only if he is an unhinged, murderous fire setting loon?

Gilbert had no friends. Rothschild is quoted as saying she does not know why such a fit, good looking, wealthy guy would do such a thing, but she did not think it weird that a man of all those great characteristics would be doing living a friendless, lonely life with his only relationship being one with a woman nearly 20 years older. Millenial Tommy was lost in the maze that was NYC life, enjoying it superficially because his parents were rich. Money still did not make up for the emptiness and whatever possible mental health issues he had.

This is an oddity but it should not come as a surprise. This is just the Millenial stagnation problem coming to boil and finding a representative in the elite. Tommy Gilbert obviously had a privileged upbringing and moved in high social circles, but he was miserable just like many other unemployed Millenials. Gilbert is still a product of his society. He still was so emotionally stunted that he could not get beyond the Daddy issue (like the Into the Wild guy). You can watch enough Dominick Dunne episodes or read Dunne's journalism to see that these types of murders have happened through the decades. This is just the 2015 edition. Zero Hedge might be the only source to peek a bit deeper at the curious life of Mr. Tommy Gilbert, because the flash of millionaire murdered by Junior will be enough to overpower any urge to look at the whys, which would make this murder make a whole lot more sense.


nikcrit said...

yeah, there are no black villains on SVU; that show is the do-all, end-all in p.c. projection and dramtization.

I hate scripted dramas, for the most part. And that insufferabe bitch, the female detective who peppers those ridiculuousy sanctimonious scripts with gaggable p.c. bromides. This NAM much prefers her sorta paleo-con white-male sidekick to her silly posturings.

Andrew Roth said...

There's a more prosaic explanation I've heard for the lack of black villains on Law and Order and the abundance of white weirdos. The story is that early episodes of the original Law and Order franchise in the nineties focused on gang violence in the ghettos, but these episodes did poorly in the ratings because the audience couldn't relate to gang turf war stories. Then the writers started introducing story lines involving affluent whites, with psychopathic sexual deviants, fights over family money, and the like, and they hit paydirt. The Law and Order franchises can be heavily politicized, but political motivations appear secondary to the goal of piggybacking on lurid news stories for entertainment purposes and turning a profit.

In other words, they have a bourgeois white audience, so they do best by telling bourgeois white stories. I'm not sure how complete or accurate this analysis of NBC's motivations is, but it's worth considering.

For what it's worth, I really enjoy Law and Order, although I have qualms about its message (especially vis-a-vis police brutality and constitutional protections for the accused) and am underwhelmed by the sappiness that has taken hold on SVU after Captain Cragen's retirement. Most TV police dramas have been doing that for the last few years, and it's getting worse, but I still watch that crap because I find it engaging. It takes the edge off the ennui for an hour.

It's probably a matter of months before the Gilbert case gets "ripped from the headlines." It hits all the right psychosocial notes of class resentment and envy. SVU's producers like to play around with ugly, inflammatory material, but as long as the back-of-the-house guild employees get their share for crafting the episode, I won't be able to get into high dudgeon with SVU if it rips off the Gilbert case and injects some extra sex into the story. After all, that's one episode that I'll be sure to watch.