There are few perfect things in life, but this is one of them--a busted Showtime Network TV pilot so misguided, stupid, and terrible, that it is perfect, perfectly wrong in every way. TV director Paris Barclay ("The West Wing") and James DeMonaco (scripter of the boring remake of the classic "Assault on Precinct 13") take you inside (you can almost imagine that typed in upper case in the script) the Hate Crimes Unit of the NYPD, one of those TV police departments that employs every stereotype you can imagine--the newbie gay guy, the bigoted cracker, the angry Latina, the sad-sack Asian-American, the elegant African-American... Oh yes, as the Chief, Oscar winner Marcia Gay Harden shows up looking like she's impatiently waiting for the results of some medical test--or for her paycheck to clear. And back home, she has the stereotypical high-school-age son hooked on drugs.
The pilot is perfectly structured with an idiot main plot on top of an idiot B plot. In the main plot, the Unit investigates the slaying of gays who have had their spinal cords scooped out with a broken whiskey bottle or something. Yep, that's right. Spines ripped out. Zejelko Ivanek, recognizable from "Homicide: Life on the Street" and countless other shows, even shows up as a pathologist to prattle on about how much force it takes to pull out a spine. Yep, that's right. It's a lot of force. In the B plot, two detectives investigate dog-feces swastikas on the sidewalk in front of a synagogue. Yep, that right. Dog-feces swastikas.
Every character here takes it in turn to stand around, grinding the meager action to a halt, with either silly voiceovers of his or her thoughts ("thoughtovers"?) or long-winded, badly written polemics on prejudice,intolerance, or how bad cheese curls are for you. Yep, that's right. Evil cheese curls.
Eventually this travesty, filmed in a murky and blurry pseudo-"CSI" style with Toronto masquerading once again as New York, comes to an end. And the viewer is left to ponder just how this thing looked good enough on paper to get the green light for a filmed pilot, but more importantly, how one hour of TV can perfectly manage to offend every race, creed, ethnicity, and orientation that it depicts, without exception, without failure. You'll hate "Hate" as a pilot but love it as entertainment. Some things are so perfectly awful, that they are just that.
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