And finally, it has come to my attention that I have very fancy taste.
It was even said that film director Federico Fellini would leave dinner parties to go watch the latest episode of Columbo, such was the impact of Falk’s performance.
No. Seriously, no. Besides the let him RIP and etc., EVERYBODY KNOWS there would be no “tragic death secret” because we all see the death happen in the first seven minutes of the episode. We KNOW whodunnit and there ARE no secrets. That’s the WHOLE POINT of Columbo.
Ew, Globe. No more “One more things,” for you.
Oh no. No, no. I was just writing about him the other day. He hasn’t been well for a while, and somehow…I knew, and yet I’m crushed. Honestly crushed.
A moment of silence for ordering coffee and chili, a dog named Dog, a horrible spin-off called “Mrs. Columbo,” and the namesake of the tagline of this very blog.
You’ve solved all the cases, friend. Thus far and no farther.
Within the Great American Justice Docu-drama Columbo, lie answers: both to murder most foul, and life most similar.
Take for example, the Tour de Bochco-written episode from Season 2, “Étude in Black.” In it, the dark and dashing music man has an affair he’d like to cover up. Through a series of “My car’s in the shop,” “Of course not darling, I love yous,” and tedious mens’ accessories, he bashes his side bird over the head with an ashtray.
Now then. Anyone with an Associate’s in “One More Thing” knows he’ll be caught. A careful moment of consideration brings those haphazard details blazing. Not available when he said he’d be; over-compensating attention; an inexplicable temper aimed at wifey Blythe Danner when it was really inner turmoil that was rocking him.
It doesn’t add up. None of it. From any angle.
But you know what they say about perception — it makes an ass out of you, me, and assumption. Because in perception, there’s a very deliberate choice. You choose what you want to see. In dark, dashing music man’s story, there are holes. Huge ones. Neither Columbo nor Blythe believe what they’re told. But Columbo wants the truth to show itself — and Blythe wants the truth to be what she’ll allow herself to see.
Of course in the end, Music Man’s symphony of lies ends in a crash, undone in the end, by a single flower, a fussy detail of fashion, a trail of petals to the truth.
You can be a Columbo, or you can be a Blythe. Believe what you see, or see what you believe. Only one of them can be true.
And we learn in this lesson of life most foul: a carnation left behind ain’t the same as a man bringing you flowers.
Table for One? NOT ANYMORE. I am eating with Columbo, always. The keeper of the kitchen.
The Lady of the Manor’s commissioned piece is outRAGEously amazing. Love, love, love.
Guess who’s getting an original Columbo tag work of ahhhhhrt in the mail?
OH YEAH. This girl.
Although he scores billing in my tagline, thus do I love him so (and forgive him unconditionally for Mrs. Columbo) I’ve never really stopped to consider why. Or done any research into the Columbo genesis story. I am an ugly American watching the Hallmark Channel without thinking critically. This needs must end.
I just found this 1981 excerpt from “Stay Tuned: An Inside Look at the Making of Prime Time Television” called “How We Created Columbo” by Levinson and Link. The goods I like? Are actually kind of fancier than I thought and completely redeems my proclivity.
- The inverted mystery format. Columbo uses “a method of storytelling invented by an English writer named R. Austin Freeman in the early part of the century.” And in a study of detective fiction, the format answers the question: “Would it be possible to write a detective story in which, from the outset, the reader was taken entirely into the author’s confidence, was made an actual witness of the crime and furnished with every fact that could possibly be used in its detection?” YES. This is possible and it’s the best. See also Encyclopedia Brown, kinda.
- “We had no intention of dealing with the realities of actual police procedures.” YES. Do not want to “go down the precinct.” Do want to hang out in swinging 70s houses. Like deees.
- It’s a commentary on manners in an upstairs/downstairs way. They made “a mythical Los Angeles and populate it with affluent men and women living in the stately homes of the British mystery novel; our stories would be much closer in spirit to Dorothy L. Sayers than to Joseph Wambaugh” YES. They’re talking about my Columbo here. It’s actually a manor drama.
- And why, besides the format, I say I love it because “it’s so cozy.” “Our final decision was to keep the series nonviolent. There would be a murder, of course, but it would be sanitized and barely seen. Columbo would never carry a gun. He would never be involved in a shooting or a car chase (he’d be lucky, in fact, if his car even started when he turned the key), nor would he ever have a fight. The show would be the American equivalent of the English drawing room murder mystery, dependent almost entirely on dialogue and ingenuity to keep it afloat.”
So you see people. I love it because it subverts the genre and provides societal commentary based on nothing but sparkling wit.
Oh, and one more thing: Guest Stars. OH. And! “Thus far and no farther.” (Take it. Use it. Love it.)
Wait. Did Columbo have a first name?
Did the Lady of the Manor just commission such a piece of epic Columbo taggery for her humble barracks abode?
Wait, one more thing: YES SHE DID.
Coffee and chili, babies, Coffee and chili.