Oh, SVU why did you have to do this? After weeks of steady improvement (particularly from the show’s terrible mid-season premiere) the series took a massive, massive step backwards with “Comic Perversion.”
The episode revolves around stand-up comic Josh Galloway (Jonathan Silver of Weekend at Bernie’s fame) who is known for “rape” jokes. His gig at a local college “inspires” two young, drunk college guys to assault an on-campus rape victim advocate. Later on, one of her classmates comes forward and claims that Galloway had raped her. The case is pretty thin as it’s based solely on the word of a girl who was admittedly drunk. The trial then becomes a media circus and the larger question of the limits of free speech come start to overshadow the actual crime itself.
The episode is seems to be loosely inspired by the incident a few years ago when comedian Daniel Tosh made a rape joke at an audience member at one of his shows. The incident was headline news but it was also quickly squashed as Tosh apologized and the country moved on. Well, everyone except the creatives behind SVU. In fact they’ve decided to ramp up the insensitivity of the comedian and make him the most vile, repugnant and completely unbelievable piece of garbage this series has ever seen. Seriously, the comedian’s routine is nothing but rape jokes. Non-stop, poorly written, painfully executed “jokes.” The nonstop barrage of these completely insensitive jokes makes you numbs towards the episode it’s so unnerving and almost unbelievable that your finger is itching to change the channel. This reviewer became completely disengaged from the episode after the first five minutes and was begging for it to be over midway through.
The nails against the chalkboard quality of the episode is compounded by the performance of Jonathan Silverman (who portrays the comedian). It is completely and utterly ridiculous. He’s so over-the-top, so hammy that it’s like he’s a 14 year old boy trying to do his best Jim Carrey impersonation circa 1996. He’s so manic, so “on” all the time that, much like the jokes written for him, it turns you off as an audience member. You can’t stand this character and not in a good way — you want the episode over just so you don’t have to see him again…ever again.
SVU also falls back on one of it’s biggest issues from earlier this season — the detectives look like morons. Seriously, how many times this season have they acted incompetent or botched a case? This most evident particular when a video was posted online of the victim making suggestive comments to the comedian and “flashing him” during his set, which was in front of a packed club. How did they miss this one? Did no one they question remember this incident? And how do the detectives react? Rollins gives a halfhearted shrug of the shoulders and a nonchalant, “Oops my bad” type response. The detectives of SVU aren’t perfect and it makes logical sense to illustrate their humanity and fallibility, but let’s stop making them be complete buffoons.
Then there’s the resolution to the whole ordeal — completely unbelievable, forced and “whatever.” It was like the writers worked themselves into a corner, couldn’t figure out how to end it, threw their hands up and said, “this’ll do.” Just a poor ending, to a poor episode.
Law & Order: SVU has to be careful. You can’t keep making the police and prosecutors look like fools so often. Why should the audience invest in these people if all they do is screw up? It really detracts from the series, which has hit so many stumbling blocks this year. The show is in its final leg of the 2013-2014 season and it needs to end strong and avoid more episodes like this. SVU has the ability to do this and despite the putrid nature of ‘Comic Perversion’ this reviewer still has faith that they can pull it out.