Snapped. Dateline. Cold Justice. What do these shows have in common? If you’ve seen them, you likely are one of, or spend time with one of the millions of women in America who are all regularly watching television about the meticulous planning, execution, and cover-up of gruesome murders. Something which I think is totally normal and fine by the way.
It means very little to me, or to any other man, that seemingly every last one of our wives, girlfriends, mothers, sisters, daughters, and female acquaintances are all devoutly recording and viewing popular entertainment such as Making a Murderer, Deadly Women and First 48, which some have described as “murder porn.” (This is a phrase I take issue with, by the way, because it implies that murder is something they actively fantasize about engaging in, which I am just 100% sure is not the case.)
It’s probably well within the acceptable range of human behavior that my little sister’s absolute favorite way to unwind is by watching hours of programming detailing precisely how a seemingly harmless woman came to stab her spouse to death with a steak knife and bury his perforated body deep in a swamp. Similar to painting toenails, drinking tea, and looking at pictures of puppy dogs online—this is just something I've gathered that ladies like to do.
It does not strike me at all odd that my mother, who has too much empathy to even kill a spider, can somehow feel an emotion akin to relief in watching a gory reenactment of a cheating husband being shot in the face on the Oxygen channel. Nor does it strike me as the least bit strange that my girlfriend, who is afraid of the sound our fridge makes at night, will fall into a dreamless slumber just as Keith Morrison announces exactly where the body was discovered.
Does it give me pause that every last one of my female co-workers is filling their ears with podcasts like Serial, Criminal, and something horrifically entitled My Favorite Murder? Maybe if there was a palpable anger rising in women due to the ongoing nightmare parade of injustices being carried out against them—personally, politically, and otherwise—then I’d be a little on edge. But luckily that is not the case.
I’m sure this all means nothing. I’m sure it’s just how American women are. I’m sure this is not at all a phenomenon with unfathomably frightening outcomes. Men like sports. Women like the bloody viscera of revenge-fueled human demise. Why not just leave it at that? It’s just TV after all. And if there’s one thing these shows have in common—again, shows that every last woman in America appears to be fervently consuming—it’s that the victims always knew exactly what they had coming.