It’s been 12 days since Netflix removed “Murder She Wrote” from its offerings. I was only on season six. I feel like someone very dear to me was irrevocably torn from me, never to return. Which is ridiculous, of course. I can always get a TV and watch reruns on PBS.
It’s been 12 days and I feel like I should have moved on by now, but I can’t. I just can’t. In true Jessica Fletcher style, I have a lot of questions. And some of them are the hard kind.
We Need to Talk About Jessica
- Where can I buy every outfit Jessica Fletcher owns? Practical, yet stylish! Understated, yet elegant. You can have your Gwen Stefanis and your Jackie Onassises. I have Angela Lansbury.
- Someone go put Angela Lansbury in a bunker where nothing can hurt her and time cannot reach her. Also, would it be weird if I asked her to sign my boob?
- How can one woman have so many nieces and nephews? Has anyone ever counted how many she has? I feel like the number might be in the low thousands. Mrs. Fletcher’s include Sarah Conner and Monica Gellar, which leads me to an additional question. Why didn’t Sarah Conner turn to Aunt Jess when the Terminator was coming for her? Mrs. Fletcher fears nothing except marriage proposals from rich older men.
- How come no one has heard of the hundreds of homicide cases that J.B. Fletcher, internationally renowned mystery writer, has solved? Think about Steven King. If Steven King was involved in any way in even one spooky incident, it would be all the media talked about for weeks. And yet every time Jessica shows up on a new crime scene, she has to explain her whole deal.
- Why is Jerry Orbach talking like that and getting away with it? Why hasn’t anyone slapped the noir out of him?
- When did crime procedurals get gory? For the first few episodes of Murder She Wrote, I kept noticing there was no blood anywhere near the bodies and thought that being drained of bodily fluids was going to be an important part of the mystery.
- Are you a jerk in the world of “Murder She Wrote”? You’re gonna die.
Are you an old friend of Jessica’s we just met? You’re gonna die.
Are you the first person the sheriff thought committed the crime? Good news! You’re innocent!
Are you being helpful in your interactions with Jessica? Bad news! You’re the murderer!
Are you a relative of Jessica’s (and if so, how? HOW CAN ONE WOMAN HAVE THIS MANY NIECES AND NEPHEWS?!)? You’re preternaturally talented at something but are still gonna get wrongfully accused of murder. Unless you’re her nephew Brady, in which case you are bad at everything you do, your wife is ridiculous, and someone’s gonna get murdered at your wedding. But don’t worry — it will be zany.
- In what kind of universe does this show take place? Nobody’s freaked out about ALL OF THE MURDERS that keep happening. Half of Cabot Cove has been killed, and the other half committed the killings, but it’s still supposed to be quaint, backwoods-y Maine. If this is normal for a small town, how many murders are happening in large cities? HOW IS ANYONE STILL ALIVE?
- Why isn’t Jessica completely freaked out by the violent crime that constantly hangs around her? Why isn’t she incredibly depressed and afraid to get close to anyone? Is this the perfect formula for a gritty reboot starring me and Angela Lansbury’s original wardrobe? I think it might be.
- In fact, why isn’t anyone suspicious of Jessica? Everyone she has ever met has either murdered someone, aided and abetted a murder, or been wrongfully accused of murder. That’s a lot of death, and there’s only one common denominator—the sweet, older mystery writer who just happens to wander onto the crime scene and notice things no one else sees. She weasels her way in with law enforcement and then conveniently makes a perfect case that pins the crime on someone else. Is “Murder She Wrote” just a catalog of Jessica Fletcher’s many killings? And is it possible that every law enforcement officer on the show knows she’s a psycho killer, but is too afraid to say anything because she is utterly ruthless and has an extensive network of nieces and nephews who can do her dirty work for her? Is “Murder She Wrote” more accurately titled, “‘I’m Totally a Murderer,’ She Wrote”?!
Maybe… maybe I won’t look for the next rerun on PBS.12
I’ve been alive for more than a quarter of a century and I have no idea who I am.
Sure, I know some stuff about me. I know what I like — animals, smoothies, puns — and I know what I dislike — snakes, human papillomavirus, celery. I know I’m five-foot-four. (Fine. I’m five-foot-three-and-a-quarter.) I know I’m a brunette. (Fine. I know I’m blonde and ashamed of it.) I know my people came from Oklahoma, and way before that some of them were kicked out of Scotland. I know I’m good at writing and bad at confrontation. I know I don’t believe in ghosts unless I’m in a creepy basement and that I believe in miracles since you came along.
Last summer I came down with a mean case of Why-Certainly-I-Read-Classic-Literature-itis and I cracked open Anna Karenina. I went into it sure that the 10,000 Russian names, many of them variations of each other, would be too much for me, but I came out the other side a little shell-shocked. Mark my words, that Tolstoy fellow is going places.
There are a lot of important lessons in Anna Karenina. “Wow, tuberculosis is bad,” for example, and, “Perhaps we could all be more careful around trains.” But the one thing that really affected me is how every single main character is trilingual. They switch between Russian, French, and English without notice and no one ever says, “Hold up. I actually only speak one extremely complicated language.”
I’ve always wanted to be the kind of person who plays guitar. Not in an annoying way, where I bring it out at parties and try to impress people but only irk them instead. I want to play the guitar in a badass way, where someone’s like, “I am having a rock and roll emergency and I need an amazing guitar player, STAT!”
And I’m all humble and unassuming. “Uh, I play a little guitar.”
And they’re like, “Well, I don’t know… You’re a girl and you don’t look like much, but I guess you can play me a song just for laughs.” And then I pick up the guitar and play a face-melting riff of my own composition and the other person is totally blown away, and signs me to a record label instantly, and also feels really bad about being so sexist. You know. That kind of thing.
Fun fact: My last name is Summar, which is Scottish for “People whose surname is pronounced just like the season between spring and fall but is spelled so creatively that they are doomed to hear it mispronounced or see it misspelled for all of eternity.” Thank heavens they shortened all of that to two syllables.
Every one of my middle school and high school yearbooks is full of witticisms like, “Have a great summer, Summar!” and “Whoa… it’s your favorite season.” Generations of Summars have put up with this nonsense since the invention of the yearbook, and I accept that it is our cross to bear.