Thursday, August 24, 2006

Holy Smokes

I've been idly and intermittently watching a rerun tonight, on cable, of a Law & Order: Criminal Intent episode. Goren, while questioning someone at that person's workplace, asks if he can bum a cigarette. Then he says something like, "You can smoke here, right?" (Something like that.) He lights the other guy's cigarette and then his own, and then: They smoke. No problem. Just like that.

I thought you couldn't get away with depicting that sort of scene, anymore, on TV. (Granted, I don't watch much network TV--on which, of course, this episode would first have appeared--or series TV, network or otherwise. I do follow the L&W's on cable, however, though not CI so much.) So this was actually startling to me.

Besides which: This is a series--part of a franchise--which prides itself on generally trying to be "real." Is there any workplace in the U.S. (apart from bars and restaurants, though not in, for example, NYC) where people can just casually light up these days? Or, heck, even casually leave a pack of cigarettes on their desks? I thought those days, you'll pardon the pun, went up in smoke at least a decade ago.

Surely lighting up isn't going to be the new edgy. Is it?