Thursday, October 10, 2013

Ben Sherman's Healthiest "Relationship"...

...with a woman was what he had goin' on with Chickie.

And it had nothing to do with sex or "romance."

And it had everything to do with genuine affection, mutual respect, caring, trust, real friendship, camaraderie, and even a tad bit of actual communication. 

If you don't know this by now (and you should if you have read my blog for a while), Ben Sherman is one of the main cop characters on the wondrous TV show "SouthLAnd."  "SouthLAnd" is my favorite TV show of all time -- the best show since "Dragnet," "Adam 12," and "Emergency" ruled the airwaves of my childhood.  Unfortunately, it was canceled this past spring, after five glorious seasons.  But, it will live forever in my iPad, in my computer, and on my DVD player.  Ben Sherman is played by Ben McKenzie, and nobody could have played the guy better.  Ben Sherman starts out as a young, idealistic, naive cop, who, because of a combination of character flaws and painful circumstances, slides steadily down into one of the Seven Circles Of Hell over the course of the show.  His character arc is brilliant, full of a great number of moral lessons, without being told in an overly moralistic manner.  In fact, the whole thing is often quite entertaining to behold.  As we accompany Officer Ben on his journey, he has many "lady friends" -- kind of like Bond girls.  And he often has more than one "lady friend" at a time.  In fact, part of Officer Ben's undoing occurs when one of these "lady friends" turns out to be a little bit mentally unstable.  This darling, yet problematic, young woman becomes rather unglued when she finds out she isn't the only one Officer Ben is "seeing" (to state it in a polite manner).  Although, other of his "lady friends" seem happy to share him (literally).  Anyway, Officer Ben never develops what one would consider to be a "healthy" relationship with one of his "lady friends."  He never becomes a faithful boyfriend to a good woman.  He basically bounces from bed to bed, sometimes landing in more than one during a 24-hour period.  His relationships with women never really encompass true love or any kind of commitment or even genuine friendship (as in the kind of friendship where you care about the WHOLE person -- spiritually, mentally, and physically).  There is, though, a gal he likes a lot during Season One.  Her name is Daisy.  But, she dumps him unceremoniously for an ex-boyfriend.  Personally, I think this heartbreak is, at least in part, responsible for his ethical demise.  

There is one woman, though, with whom Officer Ben actually develops an admirable relationship.  This woman is Chickie.  She is a fellow cop, and she is a bit older than Officer Ben.  She is quite beautiful, extremely in-shape, and totally kick-ass.  She is also very feminine, and has vulnerabilities and heartaches which affect both her work and personal life.  She is a single mother, and does not seem to date, putting her son above her own desires.  So, because of her age and life situation, she is in no way available to Officer Ben as a "romantic" partner.  Thence, she is available to him as an actual friend and comrade.  Officer Ben and Chickie meet, I believe, on his first day on the job.  She observes him taking his first cop "baby steps."  She observes his triumphs and his struggles.  And she offers him support, encouragement, and praise (where praise is warranted).  She also stays his hand occasionally.  For example, when he becomes quite angry with his training officer and another cop, who are "razzing" him, she gets him to back off and encourages him to have a sense of humor about the situation.  Because she is a solid person, because of her experience, because of her respectful and good-natured support of Officer Ben, she comes to gain his respect and trust.  And he gains hers, to a large degree.  Thus, she sometimes will confide in him and share her own insecurities with him.  They are honest with each other.  They are fond of each other.  They treat each other with respect.  They are proud when the other does something well.  And, when it is called for, they gently correct each other.  One of my favorite Ben-Chickie moments is when he is having a "fling" with a lady known in the department as "Red-Head Sally."  Sally, apparently, has had her way with virtually all of the cops in the Hollywood Division.  Officer Ben, however, is unaware of this little fact when this wild lady initially lures him into her lair.  Thus, he is heavily teased by the other cops and regaled with their "Sally stories."  Chickie doesn't cut him any slack, either, calling him "Romeo" and affectionately ribbing him about the situation.  She also lets him know that Sally once tried to talk her into a "threesome."  You should see the look on his face when she asks him if Sally still has the poster of Clint Eastwood on her wall. 

So, as I see it, Chickie basically gets the best there is to have of Officer Ben.  And he, in her, has his best relationship with a woman over the whole course of the "SouthLAnd" story.  No, Chickie never partakes of Officer Ben's legendary abilities in the bedroom, but she gets something better.  She is the recipient of his respect and authentic friendship.  And Officer Ben, from Chickie, receives the most valuable gifts a woman can bestow on a man -- her affection, her care and concern, and her trust.

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