Throwing words away one syllable at a time.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

CSI: bullet holes in the plot

OK. So, I don't watch TV but I do download CSI every week. I discovered that on Google video. Oh sure, one day Google and Walmart are going to own our souls. (I notice Googlezon isn't listed among the fun clips from Google video.) But while Google is buying my soul for the price of allowing me endless free searching, free e-mail, a blog and letting me see CSI every week without having to commit to the brain melt of cable, I don't seem to mind.

CSI is the only reason I really miss TV. Well, I get a jones for the local news periodically but mostly CSI. The rest of TV programming is generally vapid. I used to wait and watch CSI on DVDs when they came out. I don't watch the "how we did it" voice-overs. I dig CSI so much I don't want to see behind the curtain.

But sometimes, the writers leave the curtains open and it pisses me off. Since I've been watching 'em online, I've started noticing inconsistencies -- which supports my theory that the moment you look to a small screen across your living room your reason leaves your mind. Usually, I think the writing is tight. But this last episode... "Kiss-Kiss, Bye-Bye" bothered me. The holes got to me -- the ones in the plot left by stray bullets.

Basically, a waiter, Vincent Pullone - aka Tim Duke, is found dead in the closet of Lois O'Neill, an aging Vegas showgirl with mob connections. Pullone was shot in both the the heart and the head. The head shot was a "through and through" according to David at the scene. Over the autopsy table, Grissom fingered the bullet hole in his brain -- commenting there was no blood in the wound track. Doc Robbins said the shot to the head happened 10 mintutes after the shot through the heart.

OK. Great.
But when Sara and Greg take to Lois' closet collecting evidence, Sara finds a bullet hole in the floor about 5 feet away from blood spots on the nice white carpet -- which means this bullet hole would not be from the through and through to the waiter's head. And the bullet from the waiter's heart was found lodged in his spinal column. Personlly, I think the purpose of this hole was to allow Sara and Greg to use Hawkeye -- a gadget that looks like a plumbers snake with a camera on the end --- to discover $1 million under the floor. A nice plot point but where did the bullet hole come from they were probing?? There was no blood around it and nothing in the plotline ever explained it.

Further, when they wrapped up the "whodunit" for the waiter, they don't explain the trho shot. The head shot is supposed to connect the mob to the hit. Are we supposed to assume Louis or her assistant came back and shot a man who was already dead, as well as shoot another errant hole through the floor into a million dollars which they both know is there? I suppose that's viable but the second shot Sara and Greg find doesn't make sense.

Then, there are the plane tickets.
Nick and Archie pull images from the survelliance tapes to find that Pullone and his girlfriend were taking off to Sarajevo but the waiter missed the plane. The problem here is that the tickets were purchased by Lois' company but Nick didn't figure that out until much later in the episode. But early in the episode, when Warrick and Sophia interview Lois' assistant Eve, they know the tickets came from the someone in the house. Now that information just wasn't apparent at that point in the plot -- nothing disclosed that information at that point. They don't figure that out until they find Lois dead in her bedroom later. That information comes out a few minutes from the end of the show when Grissom reports over Lois' dead body that "Nick just found out" the tickets were purchased by someone from Lois' company. The official recap on CBS's website even corroborates that point.

Somebody fucked up in the editing room.

Don't get me wrong, it was a nice piece. The intro cameos of old footage of Dean Martin and Joe DiMaggio at a fight are a nice stylistic visual tying together the mob, the history and touching on the fact that Pullone was supposed to be a fighter. Overall, the theme touched on sentimentality and it was a lovely way of bringing Sam Braun back into the picture, dating Catherine's mother again. An interesting vignette in the closing seems to suggest that Braun actually loves Catherine. Very well acted on his part. Marg Helgenberger gets on my nerves for some reason -- I think it's because her character rocks between stringent ethics and bending them. And, even dressed to the nines like she was at the end of this episode, she looks a little cheap. She's believable as a former stripper.

Best lines:
When pop star Lil' Cherry, whose alibi was going down on her bodyguard as a birthday present, asks Brass what she can do to get him to believe her story, he replies, "I already had my birthday."

Sara tells Hodges gray hair can be very attractive, visbily unsettling Grissom for the second week in a row. Is Bill Peterson looking old around the eyes lately, or what?

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Joining in the Frey.

I don't watch TV; I don't even have cable.
Normally, I'm proud of this. I think it keeps my mind from going completely to Playdoh. But I have these moments when I miss it. After seeing a segment of Oprah tearing into James Frey on, I'm dying here from trying to find the transcripts of that episode. If I'd seen it, I could join in the fray -- and not of Frey but of his publisher, Nan Talese.

I've read the op-ed pieces from the NYT and the Washington Post and the LA Times ... and am I the only person in America who notices and see's the irony in the fact that Nan Talese is married to Gay Talese? Maybe I am just the only person gracesless enough to bring it up and say, "Ms. Talese, you knew better." Not she *should* have known, but she knew. There's just no way she didn't know better.

Maybe I'm this graceless because I'm not married. I'll allow that point straight-up. But I've had relationships. I couldn't carry a note if it came with it's own designer bag but my ex-boyfriend was a musician in Atlanta. I hung out at enough gigs to pick up a few thing about the his job. When you share a life with someone, you learn the ropes of your partner's occupation. Doesn't matter what it is. Office politics come up at the dinner table. Some details just ooze into you like osmosis when you share a bed with someone. When that someone does something as personal and creative as writing, you dig in and see even more of the inner-workings of the profession.

Tom Wolf points to Talese and says (figuratively), "It was his fault, he did it first" when it comes to narrative nonfiction. Gay Talese is adamant about his facts and his accuracy. He even fessed up to affairs and his penchant for massage parlor hand jobs at the end of "Thy Neighbor's Wife" in the spirit of full and truthful disclosure. (You would think from that book alone, Nan would have a quite thorough understanding of what truth in nonfiction.)

I keep seeing journlists note that Talese is famous for her imprint. Why is that imprint famous, do you think? One writer noted her represented authors include George Plimpton. Yes, Gay wrote a story on him in the '60's for Esquire. One that Plimpton did not initially agree with even though Gay stood by it writing him lengthy letters. You think that's not the kind of thing you take home with you and chat about over meatloaf with the wife? Come on, she may not have a practice of fact-checking but she KNOWS the ethics and meaning in labeling nonfiction as nonfiction.

A memior just isn't that far a leap from literary journalism. Instead of someone else writing it about you, you write it yourself. Seems pretty simple to me. Nan Talese knows better.