one of my favorite television shows of all time is called Due South. it's a buddy cop show. so, if i described it to you, i doubt you'd like it. i didn't even like it at first. after three episodes though, i realized that the message was more powerful than the genre and each episode was a kind of poetry. tv guide would describe it as quirky, i think. it was basically realistic but it incorporated ridiculous and fantastic things. one of the protagonists' fathers, for instance, is dead but his son can still see and speak to him from time to time. whenever he enters a closet, it become his father's cabin and the two of them can discuss the problems of the episode. it sounds strange, right? the thing is i think life is really like that. there is a huge element of strangeness that is rarely acknowledged as much as it should be.

i'm getting off track though. the strangeness of the show isn't the point of it. the point of the show is its compassion. everyone who has seen it will agree with this. the main character is just like superman. he protects everyone. he always does what's Right with a capital "R." he is forthright. he is kind. he struggles to be the best he can be and he struggles to make the world the best it can be. he doesn't have powers like superman though, which makes his struggle even more dangerous. the episodes where he loses hope -it happens- devastate me. his partner, a archtypical cynic, questions all this optimism but even he is affected by the struggle. his partner's goodness inspires him to be better too. that's a powerful idea to find in a television show. be your very best, be good, be kind, be generous, be brave. it's contagious.

there are a bunch of ongoing gags on Due South. one of them began during a chase scene. frazer, the superman, stops in pursuit to hold a door open for an old lady. his partner, ray, stops to yell at him. "we don't have time for this!" he says. there is always time to be polite, frazer says. it's ridiculous, sure. it exasperates ray in numerous episodes. the criminals usually do get away but frazer usually catches up with them in the end. and his point is made. especially when you aren't chasing a murderous criminal, isn't there time to hold the door for someone?

this drawing, for the cover of the debut issue of Friction Magazine, won a place in Print's Regional Design Annual!

© 2002 rama hughes