Hardly a week goes by without some TV celeb getting into a dust-up with the police. Heck, Fred Willard’s recent lewd misadventure in an adult movie theatre doesn’t even qualify as original (Hello, Pee-Wee Herman!).
A lot of our favourite TV characters have had unexpected run-ins with the law. Maybe not as many as their real-life counterparts, but quite a few. Breaking the law is just good TV. And no – the orange jumpsuit is definitely not slimming.
Here are a few of the more arresting TV moments. Forgive me. I shall not pun again:
OTIS CAMPBELL (THE ANDY GRIFFITH SHOW) – Well, if you’re going to be the town drunk in the 1960s, best you did it in Mayberry. They had the nicest cell in the south. Aunt Bea even cooked you fried chicken for lunch. On the downside, the jail also had Deputy Barney Fife – who was bound and bent on rehabilitation:
GEORGE BLUTH SENIOR (ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT) – Hard to ignore this one. The whole show was based on how the Bluth family functioned with its patriarch in prison (or in the attic as it later turned out). George was sometimes a nice guy – just not a very honest one. It’s like it never even occurred to him to be good. Not that the rest of the Bluths stayed out of the hoosegow entirely. When George wasn’t playing for the prison softball team, he was torturing the steady stream of kids who arrived to discuss their messed-up lives:
JIM ROCKFORD (THE ROCKFORD FILES) – Private dick and ex-con Rockford was known to bend the law a little in pursuit of a tough case. And just about every episode saw him in a fight or locked up in jail on some trumped-up beef. Maybe he was just unlucky. Or maybe it was that criminal snitch Angel ratting him out to the cops:
SNOOKI (JERSEY SHORE) – Okay, she’s not fiction (or is she?). Snooki’s been in fights and arrested for public drunkenness. But I suppose that’s why we love that little hair-hopping reality trainwreck so much. Still, it was her little fender bender in Italy that got most of the attention – though her time at the police station was limited:
HOUSE (HOUSE) – You always figured House’s Vicodin addiction would get him arrested some day. But no – House ended up in prison after driving his car into the living room of his ex-girlfriend. Nice. No matter. After spending eight months in jail (and only two episodes), House was back solving medical mysteries:
ALAN HARPER (TWO AND A HALF MEN) – Alan gets arrested more than his dead bad boy brother, Charlie. Usually, it’s some sex-related beef – like that time he took all this Viagra and went to a movie theatre and…well…pulled a Pee-Wee. His criminal exploits haven’t gone unnoticed by his none-too-swift son:
JERRY, KRAMER, GEORGE, ELAINE (SEINFELD) – It was the finale that nobody liked – some sort of weird revenge by co-creator Larry David against the characters he created. On the cusp of success in Hollywood, Jerry and company get arrested for failing to help a mugging victim. After a showy trial – in which several past guest stars returned – it was off to prison. Still, Jerry didn’t let it slow down his comedy career:
EARL HICKEY (MY NAME IS EARL) – A reformed criminal, Earl nonetheless spent a whole year in prison after confessing to a crime he didn’t commit to help his ex-wife. As a plot device, the prison episodes were among the show’s best – with Craig T. Nelson as the dimmest warden ever, and Randy as the nicest guard you’ll ever shiv: