Anachronistic language in Sleepy Hollow

Sleepy Hollow is a TV show currently running on Fox. It reimagines Washington Irving’s classic story by making Ichabod Crane a Revolutionary War soldier who, after decapitating the (now) Headless Horseman, is mortally wounded. He is put into some sort of suspended animation by a witch to awaken in the present-day, 21st-century town of Sleepy Hollow, where he teams up with local law enforcement to fight off a host of supernatural horrors including the (also resurrected) Headless Horseman.

The show playfully uses the introduction of an 18th-century man to the 21st-century world as a way to slacken dramatic tension. Of course (as this show is on American primetime TV), Crane is remarkably enlightened for someone from the 1780’s; he is an abolitionist who, after one surprised comment about women wearing trousers, has no problem with the basic social reality of 21st-century America. But the show constantly uses Crane’s ignorance of 21st-century technology for comic relief; he tosses aside a handgun after firing it once, not realizing it has more bullets; he ends up showering himself with cold water when he tries to investigate modern plumbing; he records voicemails as if writing a letter; computers confound him, and he is flabbergasted by (although perhaps a bit curious about) a popup for sexy internet video chat. This comedy is playful rather than mean-spirited, as Crane excels in other areas his modern counterparts are ignorant of, and he is essential to the fight against the monsters.

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