Unless you are living on a different planet, you have probably watched a lot of cop shows. Whether they are still in their first season, early reruns, 200th rerun. You can watch them 24-hours a day 7-days-a-week. At one point, I was a “Law and Order” addict. I needed frequent fixes. I discovered that any time, day or night, there’s a rerun of “Law and Order” playing somewhere. You just have to look for it.
As it is, Garry and I watch a lot of cop show reruns and we can recite the dialogue in most reruns of NCIS. It’s not the only stuff we watch, but it is a major component.
If you watch enough of them, eventually you don’t even need to know the plot: you know who the perp is the moment he or she shows up on your screen. Garry knows that the most well-known featured actor is the killer. That’s why they hired him or her.
I often wonder if these shows are really a single script, written by someone long ago, then periodically altered slightly as needed for various episodes of different series.
Our absolutely favorite moment in all of such shows is when one of the cops has someone in the car who isn’t a police officer or other official investigator. Maybe it’s a child or relative of one of the officers (aka, stars) … perhaps a friend, a former cop now retired, journalist, or another person who by chance (and script) happens to be there when the star or co-star is called to the scene of a crime.
What does he or she say to their ride-along person? They say it (or one of its close variations) every time.
“STAY IN THE CAR!”
It pops out of the mouths of television and movie heroes with alarming frequency. On the NBC TV series “Chuck,” it was a gag line. On most shows, it’s real dialogue and not supposed to be a laugh line … but it is. At least in this house.
01:08:06 – Stay in the car.
01:08:07 – No way. I’m coming with you.
01:08:11 – How many times have you heard someone say, “Stay in the car” and the guy doesn’t?
01:08:19 – Good point. I’ll stay in the car.
Subzin.com says the exact phrase “stay in the car” can be been found in 356 phrases from 296 movies. I think they are missing a few thousand instances in a wide variety of TV series. Also, they are not counting variations like “don’t leave the car,” “don’t get out of the car,” and “remain in the car.” If you include the more generic “stay here” Subzin finds 20,781 phrases from 11,645 movies and series which is a lot of instances even if you say it quickly.
Regardless of the situation, whether it’s a 9-alarm fire, gunfight, crime scene, being stalked by a serial killer, or the Zombie Apocalypse where the undead are gathering for the final attack: no one stays in the car. Cop, kid, or an extra (destined to not survive past the opening credits), no one in film or television history has ever stayed in the car.
In real life, as we stumble through our lives, we get a lot of hints from The Universe that maybe this time, we should stay in the car. Don’t get involved. Let other people take care of this particular problem. Let the cops do what they are paid to do. Someone else can catch the bad guy, report the fire, deal with the crisis.
Who stays in the car and who gets out?
I never stay in the car. I might miss something. I’m sure there are others who actually do as they are told being mindful of authority. Unlike me.
They want to be safe. They believe if they follow the rules nothing bad can happen. Except life doesn’t follow a script. We lack scriptwriters. I often feel that presents us with some serious challenges because we don’t know what is going to happen. We don’t know if we will survive in OR out of the car. I mean, we could get shot through the car window, too. Staying in the car may not be the best choice.
Besides, you don’t learn anything exciting by staying in the car. If you never venture out of your comfort zone, when life gets crazy, you’re going to have a rough time in this insane world.
For all the times I’ve been told to stay in the car then promptly jumped into the fray, against all logic and common sense, I’m glad I did it. Even with all the bumps and bruises, life is too short to miss something exciting. Who knows if there will be a car in which to stay when I need to hide?
When life gets exciting, I want to be part of the action. Usually.