We’re doomed. I mean it. We’re absolutely screwed. I’ve examined this from every possible angle and the results are never anything less than horrifying. This country is on a one-way hell-ride to the toilet, and for one simple reason: Theresa May likes NCIS.
Sure, I’d heard the rumours, too, that our elected leader was a secret NCIS head. But until now I’d managed to convince myself that it couldn’t possibly be true, on the basis that it makes absolutely no sense.
Nobody likes NCIS. Nobody. You could go out and find the world’s most frothing, raving, diehard NCIS fan and they’d still tell you that NCIS was only their fourth-favourite show. Because that’s the sort of show NCIS is. It’s less a television programme and more a thing that’s on TV sometimes.
However, there it is, plain as day. Asked this week how she likes to unwind, May replied: “Does anybody here know the American series NCIS? I quite like watching NCIS when I can.”
Now, if you’ve never seen NCIS, you’re missing nothing. It’s one of those dull, empty, by-the-numbers procedurals that has helped to choke the life out of US network television. Every week a thing happens, and then a lineup of blandly interchangeable characters with no inner life solve the thing, and then the exact same thing happens the following week. That’s NCIS. It’s like one of those anxiety dreams you have on flu medication, where you’re trapped in a circular corridor, with the floor made of treacle.
NCIS started as a spinoff of the series JAG, and then went on to create its own spinoffs. At this point nobody can pinpoint exactly where it began or where it will end. It’s mycelium, basically. It’s connective tissue. It serves no purpose other than to reinforce its own existence. You can’t hate a programme like NCIS, because it consistently fails to inspire that level of interest. It’d be like trying to hate an off-white bathroom tile.
Now the cynic in me might suggest that May doesn’t really like NCIS. The cynic in me might suggest that May just gave NCIS as an answer because she heard it was popular and, as a politician, she is pathologically inclined to pretend to like popular things because anything too esoteric would alienate the electorate.
But I cannot fully subscribe to this theory, because in my heart I believe her. I believe that May genuinely enjoys coming home after a hard day of mucking up Brexit and watching hour after hour of blandly pointless anti-television. You get the feeling that she has never truly felt passionate about anything, so it only makes sense that her favourite TV show is something that it’s impossible to feel passionate about.
Still, at least this answers the question of why NCIS is so popular. Because until now the weirdest thing about NCIS is that it always manages to get huge ratings despite nobody ever claiming to like it. Until now the assumption was that NCIS was simply the Shy Tory of television. But now maybe there’s a better explanation. Maybe NCIS gets such huge numbers because Theresa May has kitted out her entire living room with a bank of televisions, all simultaneously showing different episodes of NCIS around the clock.
Listen, it could always be worse. Imagine if May had given a buzzy hipster Netflix show as her answer. Imagine if she’d said Dark or Easy. Imagine the devastating effect on the stock market as everyone realised she actually had time to discover and enjoy anything as interesting as that. We’d be done for, even more than we are now.
Still, the fact remains that NCIS – of all the shows on television – is May’s favourite. And, since we voted her in, this means it has to be our favourite, too. So let’s all binge-watch every NCIS episode together in celebration. Let’s paint murals of whoever it is who acts in it these days. Let’s replace the national anthem with the NCIS theme tune, whatever that is. Seriously, I just listened to it and I can’t remember how it goes.
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