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When the character “Bobby Simone” — played by actor Jimmy Smits (and
played well) — “died off” of ABC’s multi-year police drama


“NYPD Blue”
last season, I have to admit that my wife and I were leery of his “replacement.”

You see, this is our most favorite television show — which says something because we don’t watch much prime-time network TV in the first place; most everything else sucks, as far as we’re concerned.

So, naturally, we were interested in this “development” because — except for nightly re-runs of the show on Fox’s FX network — we didn’t have much to look forward to every week; NYPD Blue was one of the few exceptions (NBC’s “ER” is another, but that’s a different story).

However, we should have known better than to worry; we should have known that the show’s producers, including Steven Bochco — primary show creator — would pick a winner. They always had, after all.

They picked Rick Schroder to play “Danny Sorenson”; though we miss “Bobby” and still love to see Smits play him in the reruns, “Sorenson” — who partners, as “Bobby” did, with the show’s primary star, Dennis “Andy Sipowicz” Franz, has proven a strong asset.

Unless you’re a Democrat propagandist, that is.

Seems that the

Democratic National Committee
didn’t much care for Schroder appearing a few weeks ago at the Republican National Convention, so the DNC propagandists — most of whom live continuously in a surreal world to begin with — had to try to turn it into an “issue.” Leave it to Democrats to try to turn something good into something bad.

In a pitiful attempt at attacking Schroder, the DNC

issued a press
release Aug. 1
trying to compare Schroder’s very unreal roles as an actor to the very real lives and issues surrounding GOP presidential nominee George W. Bush and his running mate, Dick Cheney.

It was sad.

For example, the DNC said:

  • “In the 1980s sit-com ‘Silver Spoons,’ Rick Schroder played a son of a multi-millionaire that got everything he wanted and coasted through life” — but never mind that those shows are still in syndication and each one contained a very important moral lesson — lessons most Americans still cherish, by the way.

  • “In 1994, Schroder starred in James Michener’s ‘Texas’ mini-series, which received terrible reviews” — much like the presidencies of Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton.

  • “Now, Rick Schroder is in prime time, as the star of a successful TV series and, like Bush, has a big acting role at the Republican Convention” — which sounds like the Democrats are admitting Bush had a successful convention appearance.

This is grasping at straws at its worst — or best, depending upon how you look at it.

The DNC — which doesn’t seem to remember there is a Constitution in this country — also felt compelled to throw in the fact that Schroder is a 16-year member of the National Rifle Association. Schroder may be a dangerous guy with a rifle if he can shoot, but to me nowhere as dangerous as an entire major political party that is attempting to ban an entire

constitutional amendment.

For if there is one thing

Schroder and the entire “NYPD Blue”
cast
can lay claim to, it’s the fact that all of them are truly talented individuals. They have made their characters “real” in the sense that viewers and longtime fans can “relate” to them and the situations they encounter on the show. You know — like good actors and actresses are supposed to do. Throw this talented group in with superb writing, directing and savvy plots and you get — well, you get “NYPD Blue.”

Democrats, by contrast, are very much unreal and have, to my estimation, far less appeal to most Americans who cannot “relate” to the kinds of things liberals routinely stump for. In fact, the entire Democratic National Convention seems more an “act” designed to appear as though Democrats who have backed the adulterous and morally reprehensible Clinton are cleaning up their “act.” But it won’t last; just wait until a week or so after the convention — you’ll see they’ll go right back to their normal selves.

True to form, however, none of the “NYPD Blue” cast members have any illusions about the characters they play; they know they’re not real — even if they studied hard to make them appear real, which is the point. Memo to DNC: That’s why they call it acting.

However, the DNC has obviously lost sight of this because it is attempting to make a connection between acting and real-life presidential and vice presidential candidates. Just like when Reagan was running for the presidency.

As history — and the resounding triumphs Reagan had over his Democratic opponents — clearly demonstrate, this kind of cheap ploy is too cheap; it doesn’t “play” with Americans who know the difference between real life and surrealism.

The DNC has a job to do in attempting to portray its candidates — Vice President Al Gore and Joseph Lieberman — as the best choices for America. That’s fine. But the least the “creative” team in the DNC spin factory could do is be — well — creative.

I’ve been watching Bochco’s shows since the first days of “Hill Street Blues” and will likely continue to watch his shows because he’s good at creating police dramas and matching actors to characters. A mark of Bochco’s excellence, to me, is that I enjoyed his shows as much at 19 as I do now at 37 (no, I’m not “age sensitive,” obviously).

But Bochco’s television shows — as well as the actors in them — have little to do with the reality of the Nov. 7 election or the very real differences between the candidates vying for our nation’s top two posts. It’s a TV show, for crying out loud.

This cheap shot at Schroder and one of television’s most successful prime time programs does nothing to advance the cause of the Democratic Party. It does, however, make them look like jealous, petty losers.

My hat’s off to Schroder, as well as stars Franz, Gordon Clapp, Henry Simmons, Andrea Thompson, James McDaniel, Kim Delaney, and Bill Brochtrup — along with producer and creator Bochco — for making NYPD Blue a helluva lot more enjoyable and entertaining than DNC press releases.

Not that it’s hard to do, but you get my drift.

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