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Monday, 18 September
My Eyes Have Seen
I have before confessed my love for police procedurals on TV. I have very, very low standards when it comes to these shows, be it the skeletal and venerable Law & Order (in any iteration save the appalling "Criminal Intent"), or the needlessly solemn Without A Trace, or the solemnly needless Criminal Minds. I'll watch that bullshit until the sun goes out.
The CSI franchise is a peculiar strain of this old TV stalwart. The original still soldiers on capably enough--it is, of course, laughable and bad, but it is the original mold from which the others would sort of follow--with its noirish labs and stony emphasis on Science and Evidence and Clear-Eyed Rationalism and whatever. It also set the template for the detached, monklike male lead in Gil Grissom, whose asceticism is tempered by his fanatic devotion to his job and, of course, The Truth. It's not William Petersen's fault that the standard-bearers to follow interpreted his character as an excuse to give up acting entirely. In Gary Sinise, this is really sort of galling. In David Caruso . . . well, it's become really awesome.
Okay, look, when CSI: Miami debuted, I was as embarrassed as anybody to admit to watching it. It was (and certainly remains) a cynical excuse by CBS to dump another Boobs & Crime show on us, and the program has never been shy about its ridiculous trapped-in-amber cinematography or the number of women falling out of their shirts in every episode. (The original CSI, set in Vegas, naturally has a rich history of loving stripper and hooker shots.) CSI: Miami originally featured Kim Delaney when it first aired, setting her opposite her old NYPD: Blue costar David Caruso, was almost instantly written out of the show when it turned out that she and Mr. Caruso had about as much chemistry as Waylon Flowers and Madam. The show was, to sum up, a nightmarish dud, and I never told anyone that I watched it.
Not any more! HEAR ME NOW! You need to watch this amazing show.
You see, it has morphed from a disastrous, insulting failure--not to mention a criminal waste of talents like Emily Procter and Khandi Alexander--into possibly the most overwrought, over-the-top, hilariously ridiculous spectacle since . . . I don't know. The Piltdown Man? Any Cirque Du Soleil show? This show is so awesomely misguided and bizarre and campy that it could only top itself by having everyone perform in drag. And I feel bad saying that, because I have friends who are drag queens, and I don't want them to feel insulted.
Tonight was the season opener for this mind-eating show; I was giddy with anticipation. Last season had wrapped up with Caruso's character, a certain "Horatio Caine," marrying a subordinate's leukemia-afflicted sister, whose need for chemo-relieving pot made problems for said associate, but who then was shot to death (the sister) by a drug cartel member, who floridly promised Caine/Caruso, "I weel keel everywon you loave!" It's important to note that this threat was delivered alongside GREAT BIG DRAMATIC TEXT that appeared next to the actor giving the line. Why? Nobody knows.
Meanwhile! The lab has some sort of government mole inside, but more importantly, the drug cartel guy, who has murdered Caine's wife, and subordinate's sister, has been released back to Brazil, where . . . Caine's former unrequited flame lives with her husband--who is Caine's brother, who is a former ex-undercover vice cop--and his nephew! Caine still carries a visible torch for her! Despite, uh, the fact that he married improbably gorgeous Leukemia Girl Who Got Shot, So I Guess Chemo Is Out. Anyway, last season's closer ended with a tight shot on Caine saying, "You know what this means, Eric?" (Pause.) "We're going to Brazil."
Tonight's episode was . . . well, it was brilliant. What can you say about a show that starts out with Caine--somehow magically locating the cartel guy right when he's exiting the courthouse--and says, without a hint of acting at all, as if his young wife hadn't been shot before his eyes, "I know exactly how this will end," and then does a famous "I'm disappearing behind a passing bus" thing, while the cartel guy is blown away by this truly inspired bit of Copperfield magic. Then, two seconds later, you see Caruso at the feet of the Corcovado, kneeling in an attitude of . . . I don't know. Nothing about this show makes sense at all. Why did he go to the Corcovado? How the fuck did he get there? Why does he look like he's doing some sort of mangled deep plie, which has to be wreaking havoc on that poor old Irish groin? I suppose it's all supposed to be symbolic, like, "In this shot, we'd like to grotesquely imply that this terrible actor is doing Christ's work on behalf of the Dead Leukemia Chick Who Always Looked Positively Healthy To Us, But Whatever, Can We Go To The Beach Shots Now?"
It's sort of impossible to get into this with any level of comprehensibility. Later, Caine finds his brother, savagely beaten and strung up like a ham by the cartel guy. Caine cuts him down, and of course he dies right in front of Caine's eyes. (Just so we're up to speed, that makes his wife and brother killed by this guy, not to mention that Cancer Wife was also subordinate's sister.) Caruso removes his sunglasses long enough to say, pointlessly, "I love you," to the dead brother, and despite my desperate mental pleading, the corpse refused to fulfill my every wish to spring back to life to gasp "I LOVE YOU TOO, MAN!" before clomping back down on the floor. I was kind of surprise that they resisted.
Later, after ABSOLUTELY NO EXPLANATION AT ALL, brother of Leukemia Lass finds himself on a gorgeously scenic helipad (!) with cartel guy, and is facing him down barehanded as his nemesis unpockets two switchblades. HUH? This scene is dropped down out of the sky without any explanation whatsoever. How did he find the guy? How did he get there? Why doesn't he have his gun? You know, the one that CSIs regularly are not issued? Why were crime scene investigators sent down here in the first place? Oh, never mind.
Grief-stricken brother does heroic knife battle with cartel guy, and of course, he is awesome. He disarms him of one weapon, and things look relatively evenly-matched until . . . Hey, what the fuck, here's Caine, also on the helipad! It's way the fuck up on a mountain, and there wasn't any explanation for anything else, so maybe he borrowed a Zeta Beam from Adam Strange or something, but anyway, then Caine gets involved in the knife fight, and it's some really sort of bizarre Mexican Standoff, but with knives, and with nonacting, and it's such a big surprise that Caine is also an awesome knife-fighter, and so he guts the cartel guy and then they just leave the guy's corpse to rot on the helipad.
Having betrayed everything they usually profess to believe in, the dedicated CSIs then head back to the states and complete the episode's secondary who-gives-a-fuck storyline, and we're reliably back in the series' usual state of shambling irrelevance, and it's sort of shocking, mainly because we're back again to a lousy storyline relegated to some unlucky actors who can, well, act. One expects Caruso to gut them all unconvincingly with a switchblade.
You should all be watching this show. It's the most amazing thing you'll ever see, unless, I don't know, you film guys blowing loads on crocodiles or something.
Shit. I hope I didn't just telegraph next week's episode.
Postscript: Look, am I going crazy? Is Apple really trying to sell computers based on the idea that tripping over their power cords is A-OK and probably won't kill you? As opposed to those death-dealing, data-destroying PCs, with their CORDS OF DOOM? That's swell. I can't wait for Apple's next Mac pitch, where they explain that most homosexuals own PCs, and you don't want that, right? This is such a shitty ad campaign.
Note: Comments are closed on old entries.
I find that only really, really awful television inspires one to write a blow-by-blow summary like this. I often find myself recounting episodes of Beverly Hills, 90210 for no reason at all.
As for CSI: Miami, I would watch it, I really would. But every time Caruso (excuse me, HORATIO) calls another character by their first name, I die a little inside. As you can see, one full episode would surely kill my soul.
Thank the dear Lord above. I thought that I was just too stupid to comprehend what was going on on this show. And that would make me too stupid to live.
I admit, I also share a secret love for this show. Now I understand why! It's in the "so bad it's good" category. Also, I like Emily Proctor. Can they give her a non-crazy bf already?
All I can think of is Luke and Laura finding the gold hidden behind the word "gold" on the statue before Scorpio caught up with them.
Mom was a big GH fan.
You foist a lunatic screed like this on your tens of readers, and then (under the pretext of Apple commercials) have the temerity to ASK if you're crazy? Why do you think any of us come to this website?
"...she and Mr. Caruso had about as much chemistry as Waylon Flowers and Madam."
Oh thank you for this one. I vow to steal it.
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