I happened to come across the “In the Air Tonight” scene from the pilot for the old TV series Miami Vice the other day (below). For those who aren’t familiar with the show and the scene (and yet still care), there is of course a wiki page for it, as there is for nearly everything involving pop culture. What struck me when watching the scene was the bizarre stop off in the middle of the lead up to the climax of the pilot. One minute they are cruising along in Crockett’s Ferrari with Tubbs loading his shotgun, and then suddenly they take a pit-stop into the land of divorce drama:
During the long drive towards the inevitable confrontation with Calderone and his goons, Crockett pulls over at a desolate phonebooth to call his ex-wife Caroline, asking her if their relationship was “real”, knowing this may be his last chance to speak to her. She confirms that it was. As the climactic drum crash of the song kicks in, Crockett and Tubbs pull away, their minds now focused on the impending showdown with their nemesis.
This is just a cheesy TV show, but it does give a sense for how immersed our culture is in the embrace of frivolous divorce and the elevation of romantic love (with the accompanying obsession over accurately identifying “true love”). These themes weren’t new 30 years ago when the episode aired, and of course now we have Christian movie makers picking up the mantle teaching the same themes, only darker. Still, it struck me that a scene I had enjoyed so much as a teenager had this painfully awkward chick crack moment welded into the middle of it and I hadn’t recalled that this was the case.
There is a bit of irony here as well, since Phil Collins wrote the song while going through a divorce:
What exactly is ‘In The Air Tonight’ about?
I don’t know what this song is about. When I was writing this I was going through a divorce. And the only thing I can say about it is that it’s obviously in anger. It’s the angry side, or the bitter side of a separation.