Why don’t you have a seat over there.
With those words, Chris Hansen prepared dozens of perverts to be read a laundry list of their online indiscretions on Dateline NBC’s sting program To Catch a Predator.
Each would-be statutory rapist, having chatted online with a decoy posing as an underage boy or girl (the decoy was often an overweight, middle-aged man, which is extra awesome), showed up at a house looking for a hot night with a teenager, but was instead met with Hansen, a camera crew and cops.
The show, which ran between 2004 and 2007, was not quite journalism, not quite law enforcement, but the funnest aspects of both.
Invariably, the wannabe diddlers made pathetic excuses, backpedaled and pleaded for forgiveness before being hauled off to the slammer. Here are 10 slimy pervs most deserving of our ridicule.
10. My back hurts!
Sorry, Mr. Gross Statutory Rapey Creep, but the cops aren’t going to be terribly sympathetic toward your sore back. You did, after all, just come looking for oral favors from a 14-year-old girl.
9. I’m not gay or anything!
“Sure, I’m a middle-aged man who wants to have sex with 14-year-old boys, but I’m not gay or anything! Sure, I might look like a latter-day Freddie Mercury and sound like Ray Romano, but I really don’t enjoy being on this TV program. And to reiterate: not gay. Or anything.”
8. Can you give me a ride home?
“Come on, it was a really long walk back to the train station, and I’m tuckered out from all this perverted sexual frustration and ambush journalism.”
7. You can have the pizza!
When caught red-handed, criminals often try to bargain with their captors. Unfortunately for this guy, Chris Hansen wasn’t accepting his only bargaining chip: a fresh, hot pizza.
6. Watch how far I can shove my foot in my mouth!
“I swear sir, I’m a desperate person, I need a girl in my life.
“I have an interest in younger girls.”
“Are you ready to have my thang in your mouth? And that would be the cleanest, best pleasure.”
Dude, plead the Fifth already.
5. My mom is going to take my computer away!
Donald is 48 years old. He has a thing for younger women. Much younger women. He knows he must now suffer the ultimate punishment for his crimes, though: the wrath of mom.
4. The Fainter
All higher-order organisms — even predators — have a fight-or-flight response when confronted with potential danger. Some stand their ground and do battle. Some flee. And some, like fainting goats and the occasional pervert, just fall down in a hilariously clumsy manner.
3. The Taser Wailer
When confronted about his lewd intentions, this guy decides to exercise his right to remain silent. Until, that is, he gets grazed by a misfired Taser from the cops waiting outside. The shock isn’t enough to drop him, but it’s enough to send him running and squealing like a little girl (the kind of girl he digs, apparently).
2. Marvin the Cat Lover
This guy is repulsive on so many levels. Sure, his desire to see a young girl perform sex acts on a cat is by far his most repulsive tendency. But there’s so much more. The tight, white wifebeater shirt, the bad moustache, the nudity — and the creepy out-of-sync way he speaks like in an overdubbed kung fu flick. Gross.
1. Catch me once, shame on me. Catch me twice, double-shame on me
Just 24 hours after getting nabbed butt-naked in an undercover sting, this schlub unwittingly arranges to meet another decoy at a McDonalds. His alibi — I was just getting something to eat — doesn’t quite add up.