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The Columbo Thread.
Ironscarfs Ghost at 6:41PM, Nov. 28, 2008
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Ozoneocean
and “skoolmunkee” Said:
Columbo
Honestly, that show deserves its own thread.
Let's tarry no more; Columbo thread it is. Over the years I've had a few people say to me:
“They show you who did it right at the start. What's the point in watching the rest?”
Now maybe you are one of those people and if so let's hear it, but for me, dispensing with the oh so predictable plot twists of those whodunnit type shows was a stroke of genius. I say predictable because, if you can't guess who did it that's only because the writers/producers cheated you by predictably leading you up the garden path with false leads and tedious characterisation: those shifty types who turn out to have hearts of gold, etc, etc.

Columbo is different. First we get the content of those other shows condensed into an opening scene minus the dramatic suspension; hooray. Then comes the good stuff: how's he going to work it out? What little snippet that nobody else would notice is going to pinpoint the killer? Peter Falk was always on the lookout for possible hooks to hang a plot on: he threw himself completely into the show and what a tour de force of acting. I don't know if you'd call it method acting or what, but it's a major part of the show's success - could anybody else play Columbo?

Okay, so you know what's going to happen: someone is going to get killed and you know who did it and why. You also know that Columbo is going to catch the killer by means of some tiny clue everyone else missed and you're going to be happy because the killer thought he was oh so smart and that Columbo was oh so dumb. This show is just so honest - it never condescends: I could go on but my wife won't be too happy if the dinner spoils…
Er……..boo!
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:03PM
ozoneocean at 7:50PM, Nov. 28, 2008
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Ironscarfs Ghost
They show you who did it right at the start.
It's lovely how they always did that. :)
It turned the whole detective thing completely around. The first thing they show is who did the crime and how!

The other thing is that I'd find myself rooting for the villain, sympathising with them and wanting Columbo not to get them- another great way it turned things aound. Each show was inventive and interesting, always with quality actors playing the villains in each show, so great guest stars there…

But the Columbo character himself was just so loveable for some reason.
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:32PM
Ironscarfs Ghost at 8:22PM, Nov. 28, 2008
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Ozoneocean
But the Columbo character himself was just so loveable for some reason.
I think on the one hand, Falk is actually a genuinely nice guy, which comes across in the role and then there's the idea of this ostensibly down at heel type of character who seems like an underdog from the start, but in reality he's harbouring the brain of Sherlock Holmes. We enjoy seeing the killers arrogance deflated by this ordinary seeming guy.

My job involves me assessing business premises for rating purposes and there are usually a few things the occupants would like me not to know. I have to admit, I use the Columbo approach quite often, giving the impression that I'm not particularly sharp so they'll let their guard down. It works quite well, although sadly I don't have the brain of Sherlock Holmes.
Er……..boo!
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:03PM
skoolmunkee at 9:23AM, Nov. 29, 2008
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They were able to have so many famous guest actors BECAUSE they dispensed with the ‘whodunnit’ mystery… if they had guest stars, then most of the time the guest star would have been the guilty one, just as they were in the actual episodes… but this way the mystery is only a mystery to Columbo and the audience gets to focus on all the character interaction.

That's probably why I like the show so much. It has that enjoyable afternoonish slow pace, but at least half the episode is just the characters doing their things and reacting to each other. I also think it's great that all the murderers were white, egotistical, filthy rich types. That seemed so specific and like such a deliberate choice I have to wonder what the reasoning was for it. Was it a reflection of a social feeling or did the writers just find they had the most room there?

Also I just love the character of Columbo. I love his brown bag breakfasts and his basset hound Dog and when he gives Dog an ice cream or tries to get him to wait in the car. How he hated his new rain coat and thinks his car is a classic, haha :) There were also a few episodes where he didn't arrest the killer because it would have served no purpose, like the senile actress who killed her husband but didn't remember it (dying of brain cancer?)


The episodes where they focus on technology are the best. There was one where a guy had a digital watch (he invented it) and everyone was really impressed. He used his closed-circuit TV system (which no one else understood) for his alibi. Another had William Shatner as a guest star and he built his alibi with this enormous VCR prototype that used reel-to-reels… he said it cost thousands of dollars, hahaha.
  IT'S OLD BATMAN
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:41PM

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