it is a show that is a product of its time so yknow, 70s morals shine through, but honestly i still really love columbo

here's some reasons why you may also enjoy it

  1. a fun inversion of the mystery formula. you see the crime at the start and you know exactly who did it and how. the excitement is not "whodunnit", but "howcatch'em".
  2. columbo is extremely working class, and is openly not the coolest and greatest guy. he is eccentric, and an absolute mess in many respects.
  3. and this is how he catches nearly every murderer. he gets them to write him off as a stupid bumbling fool who's too low-class to understand their cleverness. and then oh shit! he's understood all along!!!
  4. the murderers are often very rich and lofty to boot, so there's the delightful dynamic of class and wealth being brought into that too. columbo is an underdog who judo-throws people above his station into taking the consequences for crimes they thought their privilege would insulate them from. this is great. this is honestly one of my favourite tropes!!
  5. it means the little morality play that crime shows end up being are turned on their head as well. often it rankles the senses because the usual narrative is "the detective is an agent of social order and punishes those who did wrong, which can often line up with an axis of oppression". columbo is stories going the other way. it is the detective not as agent of oppression of society, but detective as agent of true justice where somebody can't buy their way out of a problem due to their massive privilege.
  6. columbo isn't a jackass. i just like this a lot. so often you have the quirky detective being a jackass, you know? columbo is not. he's outwardly friendly. and when the murderer is sympathetic, he sympathizes with them! heck, some of the stories even end with the murderers happy about being caught because what they wanted the most is somebody to sympathize with them, and columbo does that. he's never cruel to people he's questioning, and is happy to listen to all witnesses equally, even (especially!) those witnesses that come from marginalized groups, too. and a lot of the time, the thing that makes the privilege murderer snap? IS this kindness!!!
  7. the guest stars are just an absolute all-star parade of celebs of the day that you still probably know and that will still blow your mind that they show up there. every episode - really more like a tv movie - has a guest star and there are really big names in there! Leonard Nimoy for example! you want to see Leslie Nielsen being deadly serious instead of in the comedy roles you might know him from? columbo's got you! you want to have your mind slightly blown because Dick van Dyke is here playing someone who is a genuinely cruel person and a bit of a monster and wait you knew him until now as the funny chimneysweep in Merry Poppins and the fun guy in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang? columbo's got you!!! you get to see actors you probably know in wildly different roles, really loving playing that different role and flexing their acting muscles! and i think that's pretty neat
  8. he's got a pretty cute dog too (i just enjoy how utterly gormless said dog appears in this screenshot)

i think PushingUpRoses quips it best with the following quote from her video

If you enjoy watching rich assholes get crucified, then this is the show for you!

and like. c'mon. "it is beautiful watching him slay the snobby and privileged" Fedi Is Sleeping On Columbo LMAO

if you're interested in it from this description, PushingUpRoses's video i kicked all this all off with is really nice. (i like her shit quite a lot)

there's sort of two series-es of columbo, i have a strong preference for the 70s one instead of the newer one. you can tell that later on they were trying to keep things a little more modern and as peter falk's health declined, he wasn't able to effectively advocate for Columbo's character as it were. so if you see that the date there was 89 or in the 90s, yeah skip that, you want the 70s cheese instead trust me on this.

but since they're all sort of mini tv movies instead of tv episodes with an overarching plot, you can really just start anywhere!

the first season is them finding their feet a bit, but honestly it's still good shit.

just pick one where the guest star intrigues you and away you go!

sadly the one full ep they had for free on youtube by the official channel has been zapped away, but it looks like the Peacock streaming service has a lot of them up for just-sign-up-and-here-you-go. ....also since it's an old tv show from the 70s, a lot of people get away with slapping episodes on other video sites because fuck it.

still don't know where to start? i actually think the freebie episode they had was a great first example. want to see columbo embarrass an insufferable wine snob murderer? "Any Old Port In A Storm" is great!

want to be surprised by the versatility of an actor you already know? here's Dick van Dyke being an absolute smarmy bastard, who gets caught with photography tricks!

want to see somebody you didn't really know had acting gigs absolutely crush it? here's Johnny Cash - yes, country music legend Johnny Cash, THAT Johnny Cash - playing a sleazeball gospel singer who kills his wife by faking a plane crash so he can use the fame he's got to go back to hitting on teenage girls! and of course he gets caught magnificently!

@wigglytuffitout i've seen so many people recommend columbo at this point i'm obligated to check it out

@wigglytuffitout shit this is making me want to try a 70 American TV show that I low key only thought was a joke from the Simpsons

Plus Peter Falk is a great actor, which might have something to do with why all those other people wanted to play with him....

@wigglytuffitout Def will try! My wife is big into these "Proper English Detective" stories, same formula as Agatha Christie's fare. The worst of them for smug class bullshit is "Midsomer Murders" and it really grates. It has a Southpark vibe of "people are fucking weird and not in a good way but an embarrassing way, and you should endeavor to be as vanilla and proper as possible or you'll come to a sticky end"
Fuck that let's have rich murderers getting shown up for entitled asshats, it's more realistic after all.

@seachaint GOD i think you could do an amazing double bill of comparing and contrasting between Midsomer Murders and Columbo. that series is just kind of a downer and while there are some decent episodes - not anything rising to the level of Poirot mind you, but okay to have on the tv lmao - most of them are just drudgery. and the murders somehow get more boring as they get more outlandish, so there's not even any interest there LOL.

Columbo has like the opposite vibe. the puzzles are interesting (interesting enough to watch even after you have seen how the crime was committed!), the characters are fun, and it's got that take-down-the-snobs approach.

also honestly the cinematography's really nice. they were able to be a little bit more like a short movie and even get a little experimental at points. so it's not stodgy and formulaic the way your Midsomer Murder episode is lol. totally recommend it!

it is a pretty american series but heck, i'm gonna boldly declare it's the nice sort of american-ness where it's about rooting for the underdog being able to get to the pompous assholes at the top who think they're too rich and powerful for consequences LOL

@wigglytuffitout @seachaint Columbo couldn't be more post-68 America, in almost entirely good ways

@[email protected] @[email protected] heh, I caught the ending of a Columbo episode where he even let the poor foolish rich guy think he was going to get away with it by killing Columbo.

@wigglytuffitout I've only been introduced recently to the show and I have been amazed by the amount of toxic masculinity traits that are so common in main characters (especially detective shows / lone genius story lines) are completely avoided by Columbo, who is kind, humble, clumsy, never yells, rarely shows off, rarely condescends. It's very comforting to watch.

@arden @wigglytuffitout Glad to find out I'm not the only fan of this show around here ^^

@arden you know i hadn't thought about it in terms of toxic masculinity but it's really true, isn't it? that's why i like him so much LOL! the only time columbo gets mean is right at the end, when the murderer has to face the walls closing in on them, and that meanness is always driven by "you thought you were going to get away with this and you very much fucking ain't, jackass".

i feel like he has a lot more in common that way with Miss Marple than like any given modern-day cop show lol. they both get shit done by speaking quietly and being polite. and that's such a nice contrast to manly man police dudes yelling and screaming at suspects in interrogation rooms lol.

@wigglytuffitout My favourite episode of Columbo was Try And Catch Me. In the end he sympathised with the murderer saying he understood why she did it. The murderer (Abigail Mitchell)’s regret was that if Columbo had investigated her Niece’s murder then her own crime wouldn’t have been necessary. Beautiful story. Great acting. Timeless classic :)
Sign in to participate in the conversation
Elekk: Gameing and Other Delightful Pursuits

The social network of the future: No ads, no corporate surveillance, ethical design, and decentralization! Own your data with Mastodon!