In defense of reruns (No, not Fred Berry)


By Michael Lewis

I hardly watch any new TV these days.

No reality shows (well, I do have a twisted love for “I Survived a Japanese Gameshow,” but that’s not really a reality show, I don’t think). No housewives of whatever county or state, no Jon and Kate plus however many kids they have (I’m just wondering, since they’re getting divorced, will the show now be called “Jon plus 4” and “Kate plus 4? These are things I think about lying in bed at night).

I watch “Rescue Me” on FX and “Weeds” on Showtime and “The Big Bang Theory” on CBS, three delightfully twisted shows. I sadly admit to watching “Desperate Housewives” and I still love “Big Love.” But that’s about it.

And lately, the one hour of TV I don’t miss every day is “L.A. Law.” And I just figured out why.

I seriously love that a network called ALN has started showing it again, because it was my favorite show as a kid. My friends and I would watch it religiously (we were 11 and debating the issues of the show; I know, we were odd children), waiting to see who Arnie Becker was gonna sleep with, who Brackman was going to piss off with his penny-pinching ways, and whether we’d get to see Kuzak and Van Owen having sex.

Anyway, I hadn’t thought about or watched L.A. Law in 15 years, but lately I’ve figured out why I’m enjoying the reruns so much: I’m watching them totally differently than I did when I was 13. For one thing, I understand the plots more, and so much of the legal dialogue is more familiar (who the hell knew what “pro bono” was?)

Plus, I’ve forgotten a lot of what happens in each episode, since it’s been so long since I’ve seen them. So I’m genuinely appreciating the plot twists and the great writing (David Kelley and Steven Bochco, thank you for this show and of course, for the genius that was Doogie Howser, M.D.).

So don’t be ashamed, all you millions of fellow rerun-lovers out there. Chances are what you’re watching is way better than what’s on these days.

Now if you’ll excuse me, Ann and Stuart are fighting to keep their adopted baby, Roxanne wants to divorce the obnoxious but irrepressible Dave Meyer, and Kuzak and Van Owen seem to be breaking up.