What Would Sipowicz Do?
ed. Glenn Yeffeth
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Buy *What Would Sipowicz Do?: Race, Rights and Redemption in NYPD Blue* online

What Would Sipowicz Do?: Race, Rights and Redemption in NYPD Blue
ed. Glenn Yeffeth
Benbella Books
240 pages
January 2005
rated 3 1/2 of 5 possible stars

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Now that NYPD Blue has gone off into the special place in the sky where classic TV shows go to rest (though you can still catch the re-runs on TNT or Court TV), I would have thought this book might have tickled my fancy more. Sadly, it didnít. Right off the bat, the title - What Would Sipowicz Do? - is a little bit of a misnomer. It conjured up images in my head of hypothetical situations (or actual, for that matter) where a roundtable of people from different areas of expertise would discuss or debate (heatedly, if need be) the question of what Sipowicz would do. But thatís not how this book was formatted. It turned out to be sixteen personal essays on a myriad of subjects ranging from cop talk to homophobia to religion, realism, alcoholism, racism, sexism and every other ďismĒ or topic that the show has ever tackled.

It would be next to impossible to judge this as a whole since itís sixteen points of view on sixteen different subjects that sometimes talk more about Steven Bochcoís other shows than NYPD Blue, let alone sticking to any sort of Sipowicz theme. Thatís not to say that the writers' opinions or feelings are wrong; itís just that there is the lingering question as to whom this is marketed and why it is here. Is it for casual fans of the show? Is it hardcore fans of the show? Is it for college professors to use as a tool for teaching? I have no idea. Does anyone really need a psychological breakdown of everything from the minute to the monumental? Thatís for the reader to decide.

The essays themselves vary in length and scope and go from overly analytical to straight-out, thinly veiled rants on topics with just a hint of having to do with the actual show. Some are excellent and insightful, giving examples of dialogue from the show and being brief and to the point. Others are redundant and monotonous, citing too many examples of dialogue and going off on tangents that are neither insightful nor interesting. Still others come off as anal-retentive plot breakdowns of the show where I couldnít help but roll my eyes at the dizzying detail of character motivations and episode titles (can anyone really remember the names of specific episodes from five, six, seven, or even ten years ago with a show that aired two hundred and sixty-one episodes over a twelve-year period?).

I know. This sounds like Iím being overly harsh. But truth be told, as a whole, the essays cover the topics well (sometimes too well) and from every conceivable angle. The gripe really is in expectations from the title. I was expecting more of a fun or even controversial look at what Sipowicz would have done in certain situations. Instead, I got what is tantamount to a thesis on all aspects NYPD Blue. More appropriate titles could have been ďA Deeper Look Into NYPD BlueĒ or ďA Philosophical Look At Blue.Ē These would more accurately portray what the book encompasses. It would also lend a hand to the reader enjoying the books content than being disappointed by the lack of any hypothesis on what Sipowicz (the old grouchy drunk or the new improved, sober father figure) might have done.

Three and a half stars for those wanting a comprehensive, analytical overview of characters motivations, plot breakdowns, impact of the myriad of show topics. One star for those expecting a ďWhat Would Sipowicz Do?Ē book.

© 2005 by Bobby Blades for curledup.com.

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