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Middle Tennessee Film & Television
Couch Potatoes Without a Cause
Us or them? 
31st-Aug-2006 08:18 pm
I have to wonder, how stupid do television writers think we are? Did they think we wouldn't notice how lame their stories are, or is it that they're the idiots and think they excrete gold bricks?

I've never been a huge fan of the CSIs. I enjoyed season one of the first CSI. Grissom, Warrick, Bellows, all of them solid characters and the show had snappy dialogue and interesting visuals. I never mistook the show for a documentary or believed it employed anything more than a casual adherence to verisimilitude. Jargon has become the new realism; have an actor recite some words he can barely pronounce and all of a sudden he's an expert in whatever. It's smoke and mirrors work, but it's entertaining. At least it's entertaining until the writers decide they can do no wrong and begin talking down to the audience.

"What is he talking about?" you ask. I hear you. Let me explain my ire.

Bored this week, I settled on the last few minutes of a CSI: Miami rerun. I enjoy watching the lovely Emily Procter, even if David Caruso is as one-note as he ever was (boy was leaving NYPD Blue a blessing for him as it would have become very apparent how much he was outclassed by Dennis Franz). Anywho, the episode was called "10-7" and it was the season 3 finale (who says I can't do research) and it involved, I don't know, some Arab bomber thing. I cut it on and Caruso and friends are rushing some Middle Eastern-looking guy trying to escape on a helicopter. Guy throws down on Caruso and earns two in the chest. Now mind you, there is a bomb disposal unit right there. The director takes time to cut away from Caruso's mug to show them at least once, maybe twice: three guys in tons of gear and even one of those bomb-disarming robots. But apparently "Horatio" sent out an interoffice memo that he's the only one allowed to disarm the bomb, with his bitchy little hispanic acolyte looking on in gape-mouthed awe, because not one of these "bomb experts" charge forward shouting "Get back! You're not even wearing a flak jacket, dumbass!" They stand and watch with as much mouth-breathing adoration as Bitchy Acolyte (so named because every episode I catch he looks like someone stole his toys and is always bitching at the other acolyte who looks like a pale imitation of the rookie on the Las Vegas shows). So here's Caruso, looking very intense and knowledgeable with his head perpetually cocked to the side like he's got a spinal cord issue. And after much ham-fisted posing he disarms the bomb and Miami is once again saved by this paragon of men. Only then do the bomb disposal guys get in action and start moving toward the bomb.

Another gem from this turd of episodic TV: what I can only assume is a bad cop, shoots himself on the firing range while the lovely Emily Procter looks on as if he just told her he had herpes and maybe they should put off the whole dating thing. This was not the stupid part. Later, near the end of the episode, we see Khandi Alexander ruling the death a suicide (ya think?) and then cut to the lovely Emily Procter on the firing range and she can't seem to make herself pull the trigger. She takes aim and a drop of blood falls on her sleeve. The camera tilts up and we get to see bad-cop brains above her. sigh Do I have to explain how stupid this is, how stupid the writers have to think we are to assume we'll find this the least bit believable. ITS A CRIME LAB. Their sole purpose is to collect evidence and someone just failed to notice all that evidence clinging to the ceiling and NOT falling until the lovely Emily Procter just happens to be standing beneath it? Assuming the CSIs miss it, what kind of crappy cleaning service does Dade County employ that they'd leave that kind of mess?

This isn't merely pandering to the audience for cheap emotional cues, it's bad writing. I'm pretty easy going. I don't mind that all the CSI series put the lab guys in interrogation rooms with suspects. I can suspend disbelief for the dramatic effect of seeing Grissom perry-mason a guy in the interview room. I know from an actual lab guy with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation that they use their equipment all wrong, but I chalk that up to that whole professional snobbery that has cops bitching about how Brad Pitt holds his gun to my Dad hating Gomer Pyle because "Marines aren't like that" to mob guys griping that The Sopranos doesn't ring true. But this episode of CSI:M was just stupid and asked me to be stupid too, and I really don't like that.

Emily Procter is quite lovely, by the way.
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