Series / Cop Rock

"TV is a good dad. TV never ignores you. TV never comes home late drunk. TV never assaults you. Well...except for Cop Rock."
Jeff, Community ("Home Economics")

Cop Rock was a 1990 police drama presented as a musical. Steven Bochco made it in an attempt to replicate the success he had with Hill Street Blues, the acclaimed gritty police drama. He largely reused its premise but in musical form. This experiment definitely didn't work, possibly due to the dissonance of cheery, happy songs appearing spontaneously in an otherwise relatively serious police drama. In the show, the ensemble cast mixed musical numbers and choreography throughout storylines, for example, bursting into songs during court trials. It's just as bizarre as it sounds, and became infamous for its strange premise and stranger execution.

It has the honor of being rated #8 on the TV Guide List of the 50 Worst TV Shows of All Time, and #29 in What Were They Thinking? The 100 Dumbest Events in Television History. You could, of course, watch it for the camp factor without taking it seriously, and you might enjoy it.

Tropes used by the series:

  • Camp
  • Crowd Song: Used often.
  • End of Series Awareness: The show ended with the characters completely Breaking the Fourth Wall and acknowledging the show's end. In song, of course.
  • Follow the Leader / Rule of Three : Oddly enough, though the best well known, this was not the only show in the 1990-91 season to attempt to mix genres with music. An NBC show called Hull High (which featured future Roundhouse castmates Alfred Carr, Micki Duran, Ivan Dudynsky and Bryan Anthony) tried to mix music with high school drama - and it wasn't the last show to do so - and an unsold pilot ultimately burned off on The CBS Summer Playhouse called Shangra-La Plaza tried to mix music with a sitcom about an outdoor strip mall.
  • Intercontinuity Crossover: With characters from Hill Street Blues appearing often.
  • Gospel Revival Number: He's Guilty!
  • Intercourse with You: The "Bumpty Bumpty" song.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters
  • Musical World Hypotheses: Definitely the "Alternate Universe" hypothesis fits here. Any attempts to make this fit into Adaptation Hypothesis go right out the window when people actually play musical instruments during 'He's Guilty' and 'Be Careful Out There'.
  • Villain Song: Here. 'Baby Merchant' definitely qualifies.
  • What Were You Thinking?: Hell, even the president of the damned network had absolutely no idea what to make of it. When you put together what you think is a ground-breaking, trend setting TV show, and the network president can think of nothing else to say about the show other than that he thinks it will take some getting used to, you might want to forget about honing your Emmy Awards speech. This show goes beyond What Were You Thinking?, and makes you wonder what they were thinking, what they were drinking, what they were smoking, and where can you get some? This show left you staring at the TV in slack-jawed astonishment, drool running down your chin as your brain struggled to process what it was seeing. Crap on a spatula, it was that bad.
  • Wunza Plot