Smile, You're Under Arrest

That’s the name of the latest and greatest show that network TV has in store (or as Balko says “I think reality TV may have finally hit bottom”). So what exactly is this fabulous concoction whipped up for our viewing pleasure?

The show features law officers in Phoenix setting up grandiose sting operations to lure criminals with warrants into their waiting hands, and cameras.

 

“Ah, I see,” said the blind man. This is pink underwear, tent city, “America’s Toughest Sheriff” Joe Arpaio country. Supposedly the good news is that this latest publicity grab won’t cost “his” taxpayers forty three million dollars in settlement payouts for dead and injured inmates.

 

“It is a reverse Punk’d,” says Fox President of Alternative Entertainment Mike Darnell.

 

“Instead of the worst day of your life and then a joke at the end, this is the reverse. This is the best day of your life, and then we arrest you.”

 

Well I can just hear the announcer’s voice now in the promos: “For those of you who like to mix reality with a little Schadenfreude…” But hey – it’s OK to get a little pleasure out of other people’s misery, right? I mean, if they’re bad people…

 

“If it were a regular person you’d feel bad for them, but they are all wanted by the law,” Darnell says. “It’s Cops as comedy and no one’s ever tried it before.”

 

According to Darnell, all of the marks are non-violent criminals.

 

Non-violent criminals? Does that go all the way down the ladder including folks who have forgotten to, or been unable to pay their traffic tickets? I don’t know the answer to that, but I'm glad to know that this will be done only to non-regular people.

 

These types of stings are possibly ethically justifiable on some sort of “they had it coming”/ “just saving the taxpayers money” axis. After all, it’s a lot cheaper if you can fool people with outstanding warrants to come to you than it is to round them up.

 

But it’s the viewer himself sitting at home on the couch actually enjoying someone else’s “worst day” that is so troublesome. Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?

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Comments (12) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
Windypundit - November 13, 2008 7:00 AM

I missed the Phoenix connection when I read Balko's piece. So is Arpaio involved in this? I guess not, otherwise they'be be trapping illegal aliens.

brianna - November 14, 2008 9:37 PM

Hello this is Brianna visiting first time to this site and find it very interesting. I really like to join it.and really want to continue the discussion with this site..

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sharon - December 28, 2008 9:35 PM

The only people that seem to complain about Sheriff Joe are the illegal's. No one else really has a problem with him. It's simple abide by the law, you have no problems. I admit, some of the things he has done do raise questions. There are many races of people in the Phoenix area, if you want to live in Maricopa county, or in the US for that matter, respect the laws of this county, and the United States. If you want to live outside the law, and complain about the opportunity you've been given here in the U.S. perhaps you should think about helping to change your own government, and return to your country. I originally came from Italy, and my husband from Cuba, the only problem we have with the U.S. is the free ride provided to people that take, and take from the system, and do nothing but criticize. The U.S. is full of loving and caring people, but, enough is enough!!!!

Oskar Lange - January 5, 2009 3:15 AM

I was shocked to discover the premise behind this show and was left sick to my stomach after seeing these people get arrested for failing to appear in court or on drug charges. Sure, if you believe in the justice of our drug laws, these people had it coming to them, but who enjoys watching this shtick?

Brooke Cabaniss - January 14, 2009 12:35 PM

It has been our experience in Maricopa County that Sheriff Arpaio will do whatever it takes to keep himself in the news. If there aren't enough high profile cases to give him the publicity he craves, he will invent them. When the entrapment lawsuits begin rolling in maybe Fox will rethink their relatiionship with this crackpot.

joe - January 19, 2009 1:43 AM

This show is disgusting. And if you enjoy watching it, youre a sadist, you need help. Shame on FOX, Arpaio and you if you watch the show.

Michael B. Cabaniss - January 24, 2009 8:25 PM

Hey Brooke Cabaniss,
What is your problem, man?
You keep on attacking the good Sheriff Arpaio each time you get an opportunity. Aren't you the one craving attention? Aren't you the one who wants his name in print all the time? Don't you have anything else to do?
Think about it.
Michael

Lloyd - October 17, 2010 1:17 AM

This show is rediculous. Sure we need to catch the bad guys but it's not like they're catching murders and rapists, their catching small timers for contempt of court and drug charges. They humiliate them on national TV for their own pleasure. IF YOU CAN MAIL THEM A LETTER TO ATTEND YOUR UNDERCOVER OPERATION WHY NOT JUST GO TO THEIR HOUSE AND GET THEM??? Not to mention when they show up why not just bust them then?? Why put them through all the humuliation first?? Doesn't seem right to me, and I won't be suprised if one of these guys gets out of jail and seeks revenge. Hell kids go to school and shoot people up over embarassment, so why wouldn't one of these guys do something similar? This show should be cancelled.

david - February 1, 2011 7:23 PM

Ha!! Absolutely stinkin HILARIOUS!! Arpaio should be president. To hell with the criminals and to hell with all of you whiners. Its simple... obey the law and you don't have to worry about being humiliated. And don't misunderstand. We are not laughing at some poor guy's "misfortune." We are laughing at some criminal's STUPIDITY! Stupidity for committing the crime, more stupidity for not showing up to court, and the ultimate stupidity for falling for such a rediculous scam. If society spent more time holding people publicly accountable for their actions and less time worrying about their precious feelings and being pc, this would be a much better country. Grow a sence of humor you bunch of cry babies.

ploppo smoth - April 9, 2011 2:31 AM

Arpaio is wasting police resources with this publicity stunt. And he's the one that should be in jail, for federal civil rights violations.

Nail Salon - March 10, 2012 11:38 PM

Michael Brooke Cabaniss who lives in Arizona would like Sheriff Arpaio's job.

Nail Salon - March 10, 2012 11:39 PM

Michael Brooke Cabaniss who lives in Arizona would like Sheriff Arpaio's job.

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