WARNING, WARNING! SPOILER ALERT! THIS IS A SPOILER ALERT!
Wednesday’s episode of Law and Order SVU, Comic Perversion, proved to the world that rape jokes are not, will never and have never ever been funny.
At the beginning of the episode, we are in a college bar watching a stand up comedian, Josh Galloway, spout disgusting “jokes” mainly about rape, gang rape or sexual assault. When he is heckled by a girl in the audience, Renee, about one of his jokes, he calls her onto the stage and says that rape isn’t funny but gang rape is because of the rule of 3. He, most likely unknowingly, incites 2 boys to assault Renee as she leaves the bar after his act by asking the audience how funny it would be if she was gang raped right then. (Just an aside, I believe there are 3 distinct headline stories in this episode, one about Daniel Tosh in 2012 which is mirrored in this opening segment, a 2011 story about Derek Jeter and his one night stand and memorabilia bag and the 2009 story about Whoopi Goldberg’s comments that what Roman Polanski did wasn’t “rape-rape”.)
Renee goes straight to SVU, bypassing campus security (as we all know they’re not very good at actually dealing with these claims) and so begins a rather, shall we say thinly spread, case. Barba knows right from the off that they don’t have a case against Josh Galloway. Especially given that they only have 1 victim. When Josh invites the SVU squad to see his next set at the same venue, the team turns up and leaves not even 5 minutes in. Josh has made some comment about his jokes not being about “rape-rape” but the “he said/she said, we came back to my place, we were both drunk and now that he didn’t call me back the next morning I think I might have been raped” rape. He then continues to make some other comment on how he spent the night with a girl the night before and it was the latter situation. The team leave and a girl, Carly, follows them. She tells them that she’s the girl Josh was just talking about.
Carly organised Josh’s event and she tells them that when she was leaving he gave her a gift bag with memorabilia in it. Barba still thinks the case isn’t worth pursuing even though they now have 2 victims and tells Benson and Amaro to get him yet another vic before they can talk about this case being anything close to admissible in court. (my thoughts? since when did there NEED to be a certain number of victims before a court case can be talked about?!) The team find another girl, Audrey, in New Paltz, NY who brought accusations against Josh but then recanted and was also given a gift bag.
Even with Audrey, Barba says the case is still weak because the court won’t consider previous “bad acts” when charges and complaints weren’t filed. Olivia convinces him to do the right thing even if it isn’t a “slam dunk” case. Fin and Amaro arrest Josh who makes a scene and continues spouting poor jokes as he is taken away through the throng of paparazzi at the hotel lobby. Later on, Josh has finished his first day in court and has posted a video online which shows Carly acting rowdy only hours before she claims she was raped by Josh. Barba moves for a mistrial but is denied his application and Benson is called to the stand for Josh.
When Liv is asked about the possibility of Carly not being able to remember giving her consent, she starts off her answer with “I think” and that’s the end of that. Barba talks with her alone afterwards where she explains it’s the first time on the stand since Lewis to which Barba replies that he knows but it doesn’t matter anymore. After the trial, Renee talks to Olivia who tells her that NYPD can’t arrest Josh for this again. Renee takes off and turns up, wearing glasses, in a bar where Josh is sitting having a drink. They go up to his hotel room, the glasses are taken off and placed on the bedside table and when she starts getting in too deep she claims her boyfriend is texting her and she has to go. Josh then starts to get violent and she manages to knee him where it hurts, grab the glasses and get out of there. Barba shows the footage from the spy glasses to Josh and his lawyer and makes sure they know that Renee did that all of her own accord and that NYPD had absolutely nothing to do with it.
In the station, Carly is told that Josh took a guilty plea and will now spend 10 years on the sex offenders register. She asks if she can sue him and Benson, who’s looking on comments that she is a piece of work. Barba tells her not to bring him cases like this again and leaves. Knocking on the door, a member of the Chicago PD steps into Benson’s office and explains that she’s got a serial killer in Chicago that they have some files on.
A good episode, not great. I like the take on the fact that rape jokes aren’t funny but there was 2 things wrong with that concept being on SVU. 1: if you watch SVU and have any common sense you already know rape jokes aren’t funny and 2: with a show that constantly brings up the subject of rape some people might think that SVU is basically a trigger for survivors and that the jokes wouldn’t have helped. Personally, rape jokes make me feel like a little piece of me is dying inside because someone is stupid enough to think it’s a funny subject when it isn’t. 7/10. Barba and Benson feuding? What’s next for those 2?
Hope y’all have a great Monday!