Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Baylor on Fox

So I was watching Fox's new show Prison Break last night (along with like a buttload of other people, including a commenter below) and was surprised and intrigued by the two references to the female lead's degree from Baylor Law School. The woman is played by Robin Tunney of The Craft and The In-Laws fame. The first mention was a shot of her bedroom which panned across her JD itself, and the second was a derogatory comment between two bad guys to the effect that "surely [he] could handle a girl who graduated in the middle of her Baylor Law School class." Did we just get dissed on national television? Methinks perhaps we did. But I also suspect our fair alma step-mater will be vindicated in the end.

Fiction writers live by few rules, but one of them is this: do not introduce gratuitous detail, for it will confuse and anger your reader/watcher when it proves extraneous. That is, if I make the main character have a Ph.D. in economics, there is an expectation that I will have him use that knowledge, or at least that it will inform his character (and the plot) in a material way. When the whole story is about his search for his biological father, the reader wonders why exactly he needed to know about the character's level of education.

That said, I'm persuaded that there's a reason Baylor was chosen as her law school. First, the show is set in and around Chicago, and it's a relative rarity for Chicagoans to study at Baylor and for Baylor lawyers to practice in Chicago. What she was doing in Texas begs explanation. Also, the second mention (the comment about the middle of her class, etc.) leads me to believe the speaker was getting at the simple fact that Baylor is not in the Ivy League. If the writers were seeking a random crappy law school, one would suspect they would take one off the Tier 2, 3 or 4 list--and in Chicago, where there are more than a few. Thus, I arrive at my guess...

Baylor Law School will be vindicated as the "Marine Corps of law schools" as the lead character draws upon her world class advocacy skills which she learned in the celebrated Practice Court program.

Or maybe it has nothing to do with anything.