Chris Hansen is getting desperate

Imagine Chris Hansen’s dilemma – he has worked hard for years to build a reputation as a respectable journalist, won multiple Emmy Awards, and he is now known by most people as the guy who berates horny pedophiles on To Catch a Predator. So in an effort to show his range, he’s expanded his offerings with similar investigations like To Catch an I.D. Thief and To Catch a Car Thief. I didn’t catch the car thief one, but the I.D. thief special was pretty good.

Hansen’s latest, To Catch an i-Jacker, aired last night. And the focus of this installment? iPod thieves. Yes that’s right, the iPod thief, that scourge of decent society and menace to music lovers everywhere. Two things made To Catch an i-Jacker especially lame. First, the iPods were’t really stolen per se. They just left them out in the open and people took them. It’s not like they showed people’s cars getting broken into. If I saw an iPod sitting on a park bench I’d probably swipe it too. Finders keepers.

Second was the parade of whiners they trotted out, all of whom wanted Apple to help them track down their “stolen” iPods. Excuse me? Exactly why is any company responsible for helping people track down their stolen/lost stuff? I can just see it now:

GFS: Hello, Toyota?
Toyota: Yes sir, how can we help you?
GFS: My car was stolen.
Toyota: Oh, we’re so sorry sir!
GFS: Yeah, thanks. Say, I want you to help me find my car.
Toyota: Get bent, sir. Have a nice day!

I understand that Dateline and Hansen don’t want to overdo it with the Predator specials. As much as I love them, there can be too much of a good thing. But this i-Jacker story was to serious TV journalism what Keanu Reeves is to serious acting. But just in case Chris runs out of ideas (and it appears he already has), I offer a few suggestions for more hard-hitting exposés:

  • To Catch a Poop Leaver (wherein people who don’t clean up after their dogs are exposed to the harsh light of justice)
  • To Catch a Jaywalker (Hansen assembles a SWAT team to tase those scumbags who walk against the signal)
  • To Catch a Bumper Boaster (Hansen tracks down drivers with those “Proud Parent of an Honor Student” bumper stickers and conducts public stonings)
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  1. I think it is time for these shows to get back to the thing that put them on top in the first place… busting crooked home contractors, garage mechanics and dirty restaurants.

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