I’m at the tail end of a semi-deep depression and I’ve been watching more Dateline than you could possibly imagine. There are full episodes on YouTube you can stream, there are reruns on OWN and ID Channel. NBC reruns them late night and there are always the new episodes on Friday. Or whatever night it’s on. I’m Dateline rich—and I know a good one when I see it.
Here are signs you’ve stumbled upon a good Dateline:
1. Keith Morrison is investigating.
Yo, I only fuck with Keith Morrison episodes. Okay, I fuck with any mystery “news” shit I can but if all of television was handed over to Keith Morrison and we only watched him 24/7, I would be okay with that. His grainy voice, his ghoulish presence, his general freak-ass presence is everything to me.
2. Anything with teens.
There’s really nothing better than this brand of tabloid news’ coverage of “teens” and their “sexts” and their “internet chat groups.” Any time you can hear a Dateline narrator casually toss around “cryptic Tweets” and “the new Twilight movie”, you know your DVR has caught a good one.
3. There are best friends/mean girls involved.
Much like the beauty of teen-based Dateline episodes, anything that has to do with BFFs gone bad is brillo. One of them steals the other one’s boyfriend and some absurdly obvious tell is left behind by the murderer, if they even bother to cover at all. It’s like high school with even more murder and like, bad fashion!
4. The husband is a doctor.
My friend Morgan Murphy put it best when she Tweeted, “I think “Dateline” should just be called ‘If You Marry a Doctor, He Will Kill You.’” So true, girl. Any time a doctor is in the mix, there’s going to be some psychosexual shit or poisoning or something else completely amazing that goes with a tuna sandwich and kettle chips lunch.
5. A budding Internet relationship is a major factor.
“New technology” like Internet dating feels almost out of place on Dateline, so whenever they cover it, it’s usually something SUPER basic and lame that’s really delicious. Like, Catfish is the meal, but Dateline Internet romance is a light, fluffy summer dessert.
6. Anything that feels modern.
There’s something about even the newest Dateline episodes that feel like they were produced in 1991. It’s part of the charm—one of those formats that never really needs to change and feels comfortable, like an old pair of pizza-stained PJs.
7. Beauty queens.
Former beauty queens bring so much drama; it’s amazing. Episodes of Dateline that surround the death or trial of former beauty queens are as tragic and underwhelming as you’d want anything about anyone who wins an award for beauty to be.