True crime TV: the almost cultish pastime of real stories turned into TV pulp

I hesitate to post this here, mostly because it’s almost a cultish pastime here in the Skipper residence. True crime TV shows, forensic TV shows, strange case shows, strange people in the family shows, Dateline, 2020, etc, etc. It’s akin to modern day TV pulp of real stories. I know I’m not the only one here into this crap though so hopefully sharing here might land my wife and I a recommendation for something we’ve missed.

This week is The Curious Case of Natalia Grace, showing on multiple platforms this week, both free and paid. It’s apparently a six part series of a true story about a family adopting a 6-year-old girl from Ukraine. Said girl has a rare type of dwarfism and recurring issues from that, and joins her new family of a successful mother and father, already with three boys of their own.

All of this is covered in about the first 10 minutes of the show and is something akin to sitting on the world’s largest roller coaster and slowly getting pulled to the top of the largest hill. From then on, at least for the rest of the five episodes we’ve watched so far, this story goes in a ton of different directions. It’s intriguing, confounding, heartbreaking, and frustrating along the way, making you question the things you see and facts you believe to be true at the start. I feel like I’m emotionally drained already and I believe we have one episode left, which airs this evening I think., for a total of 6?

At any rate, if you too are into this kind of stuff, that’s the first recommendation. I’d love to hear from any of you willing to join in and tell me shows, specials or movies here that fall into the same category, even loosely.

We watch true crime shows as well but generally if it is about kids we refrain.

I haven’t watched the show, but in this case the crime in question is about what the ‘kid’ did.

The Natalia Grace story was the loose origin for Orphan, right?

… kinda. She has things she does but essentially that’s the lede that they pull out from under you. The actual trial in the case is against the parents, or at least one of them.

I’ve not seen Orphan but based on what wiki tells me, no. This story happened from 2010 to 2014 or so, with the trial and subsequent interviews after that and continuing up to at least 2019 based on the last episode.

If you don’t think you’ll see it and want a spoiler, however:

The case is about the parents abusing the girl and subsequently not assisting a disabled minor, i.e. their daughter, and wanting to be rid of her. This isn’t apparent initially since there is a lot about the girl herself that raises questions, both in her history and her actions.

I can understand that. We’ve seen some that were just … heartbreaking.

This is an interesting true crime retrospective:

https://wapo.st/3DMBwDA

Someone call Dick Wolfe, stat!

I haven’t seen a version of this spun into a Law and Order … yet.

A very well written and sad story, indeed.

This part of reflection by the author is telling:

That was kind of her to say. But there was a reason I wanted to try to tell the story again now — not just with the benefit of new evidence, but with also new perspective. As a woman in my 20s, I had been allured and captivated by the idea that unsolved mysteries are alluring and captivating. As a woman in my 40s, I am more attuned to the likelihood that the truths behind those mysteries are just desperately sad. “True crime” focuses on the extraordinary. But true crimes are ordinary and all too common.

Originally writing the story was just a unique assignment, but after seeing and writing about so much of our horrible but real lives, the whole article seeps with the lesson that women are indeed in danger, and sadly, most times from men around them, every day.

My wife and I watch these shows often, sadly though this story is unique, overall the author is right. They are common, Too common and too real and it really hits you hard seeing and reading some of the stories.

Another interesting show we watched the other evening was this episode:

It’s essentially the story of John Wayne Gacy as described from the point of view of his sister and then niece. And the catch is that in this series, Evil Lives Here, you become a lot more understanding of just how much things like this upset the lives of families involved. As Gacy was on trial and afterword, every family member got repeated death threat letters and calls. Even after his conviction, it continued to the point that his sister attempted suicide because she couldn’t live with the unknown about why her brother did those things, along with the threats to kill her by anonymous people wishing harm on her for something she wasn’t involved in.

That series it chock full of absolutely crazy stories of those who lived with, near or were children of people who were eventually convicted of killing. And it’s soooooo many sad stories all rolled into one, everything from abuse to bewilderment because they had no idea, to guilt because they blame themselves for missing clues that could have maybe helped stop the person, etc.

It reminds me of the Donald Glover stand-up routine.

Men have “my ex was crazy” stories. The ex-girlfriend that keyed your car or dumped your clothes on the lawn.

Women don’t have those stories because their “crazy” exes kill them.

Oof!!! Yep, dark humor but true!