Episode Review: 'Law & Order: SVU' is insulting and unintentionally hilarious

By Matthew Barnauskas, Daily Arts Writer
Published February 15, 2015

The online movement GamerGate has brought up many pressing questions about the world of gaming. The nature of journalistic ethics (or lack there of) and the role of women within the industry have been key talking points. They’re debates that need to happen.

Law and Order: SVU


D-
Season 16 Episode 14
NBC
Wednesdays at 9 p.m.


“Intimidation Game” will not help any of that. In an hour of television so absurd, insulting and unintentionally hilarious, “SVU” manages to offend or demonize all involved. If this is ripped from the headlines, the page must be quite mangled.

Centering on male gamer’s harassment of fictional female developer, Raina Punjabi (Mouzam Makkar, “Chicago Fire”) “Intimidation Game” attacks the gaming community with such veracity and tone-deafness it would make Jack Thompson blush. In the eyes of “SVU” gamers are mentally-deranged losers living in their mother’s basements. Yet, they possess the psychopathic malice and organization of an elite terror cell.

But gamers aren’t the only party affected. Raina is reduced to a damsel-in-distress and turned from strong woman to weakling. For painting gamers as misogynistic, “SVU” ’s own portrayal of a woman is hypocritical and troubling.

But the episode is so unintentionally hilarious that in its seriousness, it’s hard not to laugh. This includes ridiculous escalation that plays like self-parody and constant gaming puns uttered by the characters (“They leveled up,” “No reset button in the real world” and “Game on, NYPD” are terribly fantastic). Don’t forget Redchanit.

It’s only fitting that as the hour ends with Ice-T shooting one of the gamers holding fellow cop Carisi (Peter Scavino, “The Leftovers”) hostage. Carisi says, “Were you camping back there?” to which Ice-T replies, “I know, bad form but effective.”