I recently discovered that Comcast now offers “Discovery ID” in my cable package. I’ll be honest, I’ve stalked this channel for a while, but it was never available. Then one day, one glorious day, I was flipping through the channels and Discovery ID was live on my television. I now have access to true crime 24/7! This couldn’t possibly go wrong….or could it?

At that point I took to the twitters saying “Discovery ID just added to my cable lineup. An entire channel devoted to True Crime? Does Comcast not want me to EVER leave my apartment?” and an hour later I receive this message: “DiscoveryID: @crimminims [insert evil laugh here] : )”

I feel like if it had been the food network that sent me this message, I would have thought “Awesome, they pay attention to what people tweet about them!” However, because it was the true crime television channel my first thought was “Oh no! They’re tweeting from inside the house!” What I’m trying to say, is that the tone of the tweet is very much colored by the subject matter of the cable network tweeting you. Also, check your closets regularly.

Anyway, to the point of this post (if it ever had one). Eventually, too much true crime can begin to affect (effect? I always forget)…influence true life a little too much. Just like Royal Wedding Watchers start seeing Kate Middleton’s face in jelly beans, you begin to hear Keith Morrison’s voice narrating your every move, analyzing your motivations.

“Most days Christy chose to eat a frozen dinner for lunch, but today she went to the pay by the pound place down the hall. Could it be today, of all days, she was hungrier than other days, or was it something more sinister? And when we come back, shocking new evidence that Christy drinks both Diet Coke and Diet Dr Pepper.”

Watching a more than average amount of true crime shows also makes you re-think what you stock in the trunk of your car. Sure, rope, duct tape, a couple of box cutters and a tire iron seem like innocent enough items to carry with you when out on the road. However, combined with plastic sheeting and a shovel, they become suspicious.

After a few hundred episodes, you begin to realize there’s a pattern (stop here if you don’t want the magic of Dateline or 48 Hours ruined). Nine times out of ten, if there’s an angry ex husband or a scorned wife in the first act, they did it. Also, if there is an “other woman” involved, in a “shocking turn of events” she will inevitably become the prosecution’s star witness.  The main suspect is usually who ends up being convicted of the crime, unless a piece of  new evidence surfaces, and in the world of True Crime TV, like all turns of events, all new evidence is shocking.

Finally, as a fellow true crime aficionado pointed out to me, sometimes the subject of the interview will be filmed at a close angle with enough soft lighting to make a Barbara Walters special jealous. You usually can’t tell what they’re wearing, and this is because they are wearing a prison jumpsuit and those muted vertical blinds in the background do not hide a door that leads to the veranda, they are steel bars on a door that leads to the “yard” (or so I’ve been told).

One final thing I’ve learned from these shows that I’ve mentioned before, but can never be said too much: never ever ever ever ever hitchhike or pick up hitchhikers. It’s either going to end in strained conversation or violence. Neither of which is good.

I hope this has been educational. With that I leave you with this awkward conversation between Keith Morrison, True Crime Television legend (and step father to Matthew Perry) and Pauly Shore outside the Texas Polygamist Compound that was raided a couple of years ago.  Take a minute to let that sentence sink in.