Who doesn’t love Dateline NBC‘s To Catch a Predator series? What’s not to love about a show that punks potential internet predators, confronts them with their own pathetic come-ons, and shows them being arrested on camera? Every episode plays like a police procedural mixed with those old commercials where someone’s regular coffee has been replaced by Folger’s Crystals: but instead of delicious coffee, the mark thinks he’s about to enjoy some steamy underage action and finds himself sipping a piping hot cup of justice—Perverted Justice!
Alessandra Stanley of The New York Times called To Catch a Predator “seedy and fascinatingly repellant” and, to date, it’s resulted in 98 alleged sexual predators being prosecuted, according to Chris Hansen, the show’s Mike Wallace-meets-Allen Funt host.
But there’s one thing that doesn’t work about the show: The totally lame self-justifications and explanations provided by the perps when confronted (sometimes over a plate of homemade cookies) by Hansen. When these doughy cats get caught with their paws in the henhouse, they invariably try to bullshit their way out of it by saying they were there to “help” the girl, to “talk to her about the dangers of the internet,” or just to watch TV and keep her company. (At this point, Hansen asks the guy if that’s truly the case, why did he send her a photo of his penis? The man is good.)
So, while we definitely don’t advocate meeting underage kids on the internet and arranging dates with them, should you do so and find yourself facing off against Chris Hansen and his Dateline crew, we suggest you use one of the following lines. No one will blame you if your mind goes blank when confronted with the fact that you just drove 4 hours to meet a child you’ve seduced online and you’re now on television for all the world—especially your dear, dear mother—to see, but if you can remember just one, you’ll make a big difference to the To Catch a Predator viewing audience at home. We thank you in advance.
– Hey, man, she’s not twelve. She said she was born on a leap year.
– I got that Andy Milinokis disease, but in reverse. I look forty, but I’m actually eight.
– Yeah, I said I was into kids—that’s a baby goat. You need a dictionary, dude?
– Kids grow up so fast these days. I assumed she’d be of age by the time I got here.
– Ever since the sixties, the rise of feminism, and the emergence of the gay rights movement, morality has become slippery. Liberalism and its emphasis on moral relativism is fraying the delicate fabric of this nation. I heard Bill Bennett saying that just the other day on his radio show.
– Right, but when Ruth Gordon does it, it’s the premise for a beloved Hal Ashby film.
– Why would I want to come here and have sex with an anonymous 13-year-old when I have a lovely 46-year-old wife at home who still occasionally goes to the Y for a waterobics and who appreciates how hard I work to provide for her and support our children who honor me and never whine about toys and a puppy making me want to drive the goddamn mini-van into oncoming traffic and kill us all.
– What can I say? She typed on a college level.
– Dateline? Aren’t you the ones who faked the side-impact GM pickup explosion footage? By the way, how old’s Ann Curry? She got a screenname? Aw, forget I asked…
“I’ve got all my friends: Will [Smith], Kanye [West]…” – Tom Cruise sharing the contents of his iPod with US Weekly, June 12, 2006.
Tom Cruise: Ye dog!
Kanye West: Who dis?
Cruise: It’s Cruise Control, baby!
West: T.C.? Shiiiiiit. What up, dawg? I didn’t recognize your number on my caller ID.
Cruise: Of course you didn’t, K. I have all my calls encrypted and re-directed through seven satellites positioned over each continent. You can never be too safe, man. Especially with a new baby.
West: Word. Word. How is little Suri?
Cruise: Who? Oh, right. She’s awesome, Kanye! Awesome! Fatherhood is so amazing, man! The pictures of her are so cute. Hey, did you see Mission broke some records at the box office?
Cruise: Thanks. We’re all really proud. J.J. did a great job. So what if it’s not Da Vinci numbers. You know what? Every movie can’t be War of the Worlds. Who wants it to be, you know?
West: What’s that crying, man? Is that Suri?
Cruise: Naw, dog. It’s Katherine. She’s been a little emotional since the baby.
West: Give her my best, man.
Cruise: Thanks. Thanks, Ye. So, you must be asking yourself, Why’s Cruise Control calling me?, right, dog?
Cruise: I wanted to see if you got the literature I sent you.
West: Yeah. Yeah, I got it.
West: And I’ll read it. I’m in the studio this week, but I’ll read it, man.
Cruise: I really think the Technology can take you to the Next Level, Ye. Next level!
West: I hear ya, Tom. But, you know, I’m all about the church, man. My big hit was “Jesus Walks,” remember?
Cruise: Remember? I love that song, Ye! I especially like how un-glib it is.
West: T., that crying’s getting awfully loud, man. Is Katie alright?
West: Is Katherine alright?
Cruise: The thing is, Kanye: The Technology in no way conflicts with Christianity. Nic was a Catholic and she followed Hubbard’s teachings. And she got an Oscar for The Hours. See, that’s what I’m talking about when I say ‘Next Level,’ Ye.
West: Yeah. I’ll read the stuff you sent, Tom.
Cruise: Atta boy, Ye! And I’m here to explain anything. If you need someone to meet up with you and talk about this stuff wherever you are, there’s usually a really smart person in every major city. Or within flying distance. I think of you as a good friend, Ye, and I want you to get to the Next Level, man. I’m talking the Isaac Hayes Level, bro. Black Moses!
West: Thanks, Tom. I appreciate your help. Listen, man. I gotta run. Also, it sounds like Katie’s really losing it over there. You might wanna go talk to her.
Cruise: You mean Katherine. And, oh, that’s not her. I actually left the house a few minutes ago. I’m on the way to the Center in the Escalade. I’m watching some possible extras for the Mission III DVD. God, J.J. did such a good job, man.
West: A’ight, T.C. Holla at ya’ boy.
Cruise: What? Suri’s a girl, dog.
West: Yeah. I know. It’s just an expression, man. It’s like ‘Aloha.’ You say it when you say goodbye or hello or what’s up. Well, listen, I gotta bounce. Later, Tom.
West hangs up.
Cruise dials another number.
Cruise: Big Willie Smith! Holla at ya’ boy, dog!
Will Smith: Yo, who dis?
“Like other actors in the industry, animals have open calls and closed auditions, hair and makeup experts, special diets, red carpet appearances and retirement to a ranch. There are stars, unknowns, hopefuls and has-beens. There is hard work, and there is reward: chicken bits, in Lassie’s case.” –This Star Works for Chicken Bits, by William L. Hamilton, The New York Times, May 28, 2006.
D.C., from That Darn Cat, 1965: Dead.
Dog, from A Dog’s Life, 1918: Dead.
Beethoven, from Beethoven, 1992: Dead.
Elephant, from The Party, 1968: Dead.
Bart the Bear, from The Edge, 1997: Dead.
Gil, from What About Bob?, 1991: Dead.
Willy, from Free Willy, 1993: Dead.
Sheldon (aka, Crow #243), from The Birds, 1963: Dead.
Rin Tin Tin, from The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin, 1954-1959: Dead.
Brandon, from Punky Brewster, 1984-1988: Dead.
Monkey, from Raiders of the Lost Ark, 1981: Dead.
Old Yeller, from Old Yeller, 1957: Dead.
Jinx, from Meet the Parents, 2000; Dead.
Mike the Dog, from Down and Out in Beverly Hills, 1986: Dead.
Animal, from The Muppet Movie, 1979: Dead.