Friday, October 19, 2007

What I'm Watching -- Las Vegas; Plus: David Copperfield Commentary

It's an all Las Vegas blog entry, as I just finished watching tonight's episode of NBC's Las Vegas and I just finished reading about the alleged sexual assault committed by Las Vegas legend David Copperfield.

Las Vegas the television show first, as it really is hitting its stride with Tom Selleck replacing James Caan. Tonight's episode, a murder mystery surrounding Selleck's billionaire casino owner AJ Cooper, was one of the strongest of the season so far (though, admittedly, the season is only a few episodes old). One of the things I thought the show would miss is James Caan's toughness and seriousness, which really grounded what could otherwise is a pretty outrageous show. Tonight's episode though, showed that Selleck's Cooper, while not quite James Caan, is no pushover either. I think that was important. And anytime a Bar Mitzvah plays a central role in an episode, that's cool with me. Though, I have to say, it does seem like whenever a Jewish couple is played for comedic relief on a television show, the easy, or maybe lazy, thing to do is have them speak almost exclusively in a sort of English/Hebrew/Yiddish-slang. While I like throwing a Yiddish word into a conversation as much as the next guy, it's not something that dominates a conversation. A word here or there, we don't need to get hit over the head with it.

Now, to the serious Las Vegas story, as illusionist David Copperfield is being investigated for an alleged sexual assault in the Bahamas. The FBI raided Copperfield's Las Vegas magic warehouse (which, I saw a tour of on Copperfield's DVD (David Copperfield - Illusion), and it's very very cool, with all sorts of historic magic memorabilia and artifacts, and apparently, $2 million in cash, which the FBI seized) and they continue to investigate the allegation. First, I don't really understand seizing the money. Taking computers, I can see, because they may have evidence of Copperfield's whereabouts or evidence of the alleged attack or contact Copperfield may have had with the accuser, but what does $2 million in cash have to do with anything?

When I heard about this accusation, I was really disappointed. I know an accusation is a long way from being charged with a crime, which is a long way from being convicted, and a long way from actually being guilty, but I have always been a big Copperfield fan. I'm not a big magic guy, but Copperfield was always just "cool." I remember watching, as a kid, one of his specials where he was in a straight-jacket, wrapped in chains, put in a locked safe, and put in a building which was about to be imploded. Somehow, in three minutes, Copperfield escaped, unharmed. The video is embedded below.

So Copperfield could cheat death, he was engaged to a Supermodel, he could saw people in half. Did I mention he was engaged to Claudia Schiffer? A few years back, my senior year of undergrad, my friends and I went to Las Vegas on the way home from seeing Michigan play in the Rose Bowl against Texas (we won't say what happened in that game, but needless to say, there's a reason why Vince Young is Vince Young, and why Lloyd Carr is, well, Lloyd Carr) and one night a bunch of us chose to hit up some Vegas shows. Two of my friends went and saw Blue Man Group, three went and saw Ka, MGM Grand's Cirque du Soleil show, and I went and saw Copperfield. Sat first row too. While not nearly as entertaining as Jay Leno (whom as I wrote about in August, was the best show I've ever seen) the show was really cool. A Chevy Impala appeared out of nowhere, and Copperfield did a number of interactive tricks with the audience, where he seemingly knew what the audience was going to say before they said it. Pretty cool stuff. Copperfield's DVD, David Copperfield - Illusion, is awesome too. Not only does it contain video of all of Copperfield's historic tricks, it contains a commentary track where Copperfield explains the origins and setups of all his famous illusions. Sadly, he does not explain how he walked through the Great Wall of China or how he made the Statue of Liberty disappear.

So obviously, I'm a fan, which is why the allegations are so distressing. I'm so used to athletes and actors and actresses being disappointments, and flouting the law or the rules of the game (as the case may be). But, David Copperfield allegedly sexually assaulting a woman in the Bahamas? Just another possible example of a childhood hero turning out to be a vast disappointment. Hopefully though, these allegations turn out to be false. It's important to remember these are just allegations, Copperfield has yet to be charged with a crime, and it certainly has not been proven that he committed a crime. Time will tell.

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