Archives for the month of: October, 2011

So if I was a man making this presentation

CSI Effect

Yes this was an actual presentation at an actual academic conference ATTENDED BY ME

rather than beginning my talk with the unpromising announcement “I don’t watch CSI” (which is what actually happened), I might instead select some episodes which relate to my avowed academic interest in the ‘CSI effect’. I’m sure everybody who reads this blog will know what that is but if you don’t, in summary the CSI effect is the idea that the success of CSI has not only made students desperate to become forensic scientists because they have a false idea of the glamour of the career, but that it has had the more serious consequence of giving jurors unrealistic expectations about scientific evidence. Apparently (the theory goes), prosecutors find it harder to get a conviction in cases where they don’t have DNA evidence (as is often the case), because jurors think life should be like CSI where you can narrow down hairs from every crime scene to a single criminal. Now what this dude was saying in his paper is that this effect seems to be a myth rather than an actuality – but what I thought as I watched it was that CSI is actually somewhat more self-referential in addressing this problem than all the people who are moaning on about its lack of realism (of course it’s unrealistic, it’s a TV show) ever acknowledge. And (finally getting to the point) this is one of the episodes where CSI does deal with the issue of evidential reliability. That is, they acknowledge that they don’t always have a watertight case or, necessarily, the right guy in the dock.

So, the case in question concerns this little dude

Hapless berkum

Nice but dim

who seems to be guilty as can possibly be after a random ranger type finds him hastily burying not one, but two murdered bodies in a handy stretch of desert.

Desert burial

Don't mind me

With a little help from their magic lawnmower

Magic lawnmower

Sadly it doesn't also blow bubbles out of it, as many excellent lawnmowers do

the CSIs are soon in possession of all the evidence – OR ARE THEY? Nick and Sara certainly think so, making a super-smooth presentation to Grissom

Nick Stokes and Sara Sidle smug

A job well done?

and pressuring him into asking the DA to file charges, even though he’s not yet 100% convinced about the suspect’s guilt.

Patented Petersen Pout

PPP sez... "I'm not convinced of the suspect's guilt"

Nick Stokes pout

Stokes Counter-Pout of Doubt

OF COURSE, Grissom is right (snore) and before long the kid’s evil brother makes an appearance

Evil brother

What, me?

… but it is TOO LATE, the WONKY WHEELS OF JUSTICE have been set in motion, the STUPID PUBLIC will surely convict the wrong guy (at least that’s what Gretchen from Dawson’s Creek seems to think)

Lawyer (Gretchen): A jury doesn’t understand epi–whatevers, OK? They understand a twisty tie, and blood all over Ben’s car seat.

Gretchen from Dawsons in CSI

Yes I am Pacey's badass elder sister, what of it

and before you can say ‘Patented Petersen Pout’, weedo brother has self-destructed

Killed himself

Bad times

leaving Grissom with BLOOD ON HIS HANDS. Yes, literal blood.

Grissom blood

Out, damn spot!

All very grim. (As well as fodder for DEEP AND IMPORTANT THOUGHTS about forensic evidence and the place of CSI within the justice system.)

HOWEVER! Don’t despair! There are laughs along the way (if not as many as usual)! Notably, this (which reminds me of the car door moment in this episode):

Griss: Sometimes, when I leave a crime scene where I’ve been particularly involved with a dead body, I sit in my car, and it hits me – how close I was. How heavy the body is. The texture of the body. How it feels.

Grissom dirty talk

Do I make you horny, baby?

After that Grissom’s weird and inappropriate sexualness kept playing on my mind, so that I couldn’t help reading too much into his relationship with the oddly intense Catholic priest who appears throughout the episode:

Priest on CSI

"I'm not here to tamper with your evidence"

Sexy Grissom

'You can tamper with my evidence any time'

Grossed out priest

...That's disgusting

… and I enjoyed this demonstration of expertise, harking back to Grissom’s secret fatboy past.

Sara (finding a substance on the victim’s forehead): Flour maybe?
Griss: But what kind? All-purpose? Self-rising? Pastry? [*salivates*]

Also, finally, a brief note from elsewhere. Warrick and Catherine work on the case of a girl found dead in a hotel spa (they hear the world’s most unconvincing story ever from her best friend, concerning a torn blouse), and Warrick gets the kind of look from the receptionist more usually directed at a certain Mr Stokes.

Lust for Warrick

Sheer... unbridled... LUST.

Grissom bitchface

(That’ll be why I’m not the one presenting academic papers.) (Not on CSI, at least.)

PS Many apologies for the delay to this post – got off schedule and then cos this ep was quite scarce on the laughs it took me a while to get down to writing up. I will sort my life out and be back on track for next week, I promise!

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Unfortunately after last week’s enjoyable smellfest this week’s episode is pretty mediocre. It feels like the writers (let’s name and shame: Elizabeth Devine and Andrew Lipsitz – both regular contributors) were more interested in the setup than in the payoff; unlike the tight theming of the previous episode, this time neither story feels cohesive.

That said, there are still some things to be enjoyed. This is CSI after all!

So, the main plotline begins with this guy, Cliff, aka ‘nose man’ (Sara), aka ‘the Schnoz’ (Grissom), ‘expirating blood from his nose all over his apartment walls to get back at his manager’.

Bloody wall

Exhibit A

Jim Brass grossed out

Yes you're right Jim, that IS disgusting

Cliff

Cliff is unrepentant (also, looks like a fat Charlie from Busted)

Charlie Simpson

(sorry Charlie)

Confusingly (disappointingly?), Cliff turns out to have done nothing wrong, beyond being kind of gross; but JUST BY CHANCE a crime HAS been committed in the neighbouring apartment.

Grissom realisation face

My spidey-sense is tingling! (aka, realisationface)

Room 101

The number on the door should probably be a clue this guy is up to no good

Thank goodness Grissom is able to save face by stumbling fortuitously upon an unrelated criminal proceeding!

Dead woman

Also, this gnarly-looking corpse (to borrow a phrase from last ep's emergency dude)

Maybe you can see why I wasn’t that overwhelmed with admiration.

Nick’s storyline feels similarly halfhearted. He and Catherine are, briefly, excited to be confronted with a scuba diver unexpectedly roosting in a tree. He’s the ‘rocket man’ to Sara’s ‘nose man’.

Scuba diver in a tree

The stuff of (urban) legend

However, all too soon it becomes clear that the guy wasn’t scooped out of Lake Mead by firecopters (as Nick spends a few minutes energetically hoping):

Nick Stokes disappointed

Nicky: he can't handle the truth

rather, this is a much more straightforward story of Friendship Gone Bad.

Jolly lawyer

Also of Matt Damon and Kiefer Sutherland's evil lovechild, and his lawyer, friendly George Bush

Zzzzz! It’s like a less exciting version of the spontaneous combustion story from the previous season. With that in mind, all the excitement this ep does have to offer comes from the CSIs’ romantic relationships… and most of all, from Greg.

So: GSR alert as Sara ‘wipes some chalk’ off Grissom’s face, in a lingering moment of desire.

Grissom and Sara romance

Ohhhhhhhh myyyyyyy love... my darling... I HUN-ger for... your touch

Grissom intrigued aroused

"I'm intrigued... AND AROUSED"

Unfortunately for Sara, she has to compete with this guy:

Griss: Either Paul or John.
Sara: A Very Important Beetle?

Grissom beetle

A true look of longing

By the end of the episode, Grissom is turning down breakfast with Sara (AND NICK! crazy fool) to spend more time with his new friend.

Grissom beetle friend

Gotta take your friends where you can get them, especially when you're Gruesome Grissom I guess

Catherine meanwhile is pumping our old pal the district engineer for information (hahaha pumping BET THEY’VE DONE THEIR SHARE OF THAT [too far?])

Catherine Willows kiss

Willowz meanz bizniss

and letting Greg off lightly when (in a moment of giddy madness) he refers to her as ‘Cat’.

Catherine: I’m going to forget that you called me that.

Greg Sanders sorry

Sheepish (a little bit)

Greg Sanders coffee

On the other hand, it's apparently fine for her to call him 'coffee boy' (alongside Nose Man and Rocket Man, part of the world's weirdest superhero supergroup)

I love it when they flirt. But the best romance of the episode? One I promised myself I wouldn’t get involved in… come on people, SOMETIMES THIS STUFF JUST WRITES ITSELF.

Cath: I just talked with your partner – you’ve been working this case without me, huh?
Nick: ?
Cath: Greg SANDERS?
Nick: Let go of my Greggo! He’s a CSI wannabe.

Let go of my Greggo? I LOVE IT!!!!!!

Greg Sanders bad shirt

Almost as much as I love this ridiculous shirt...

Nick Stokes Greg Sanders romance

... but not even as much as I love this moment! (it's a gif, click it)

So. Good. (Anybody know the appropriate portmanteau for the Nick/Greg ‘ship??!)

This episode STINKS! No don’t worry I am not being uncharacteristically harsh and judgemental, just typically witty and insightful. This episode is brought to you by the sense of smell. That is, odour provides the unifying thread which runs through the two plots and through this week’s CSI banter as well. It’s subtle like a gentle whiff of blossom (i.e., it isn’t made explicit in the episode’s title – maybe they couldn’t think of an appropriate pun); but it’s definitely there.

Poor old Sara gets a particularly harsh deal. She and Nick are on B-plot duty, kicking off their assignment with a dramatic helicopter mission to pick up ‘one gnarly-looking head’

Sara Sidle Nick Stokes helicopter

Badaba-ba... bada-bababa... badaba-ba... bada-babababa-ba-bababa-bababaaaaaaaa...

and (on Sara’s part) some banter with a hunky emergency services guy.

Hunky dude

Windswept

 Sara: Down boy!

Nick loves it

Nick loves it

Nick: Nothing like flirting over a DB…

Nick Stokes eyebrows

... unless it's Nick's eyebrow ear-lift of course (this should move! click on it if it doesn't!)

Unfortunately the gnarly-looking head proves to be gnarlier than anybody would like to hope, belonging to a chappie who quickly gains the nickname ‘Liquid Man’.

Human soup

Human soup

Liquid Man is not only a pungent presence

Bad smell

Ewwww

Bad smell

Euuuurgh

Bad smell

Pewwwww

Sara Sidle vom

Bleuuurgh

but also an unfortunately pervasive one.

Bad smell

*struggling to control nausea* *not very sexy*

To be explicit…

You smell like death

Greg: "You smell like death"

Best get changed, eh? Oh wait:

Still smell like death

Nick: "...you still smell like death."

There’s only one solution.

Shower lemons

Lemons!

Sara Sidle shampoo

Gonna wash that (liquid) man right outta my hair...

Nick Stokes SUPERHOT

That's better! (just an excuse to use this hot picture, I hear you cry? WELL DUH)

It will not surprise you to learn that the culprit in this whiffy wrongdoing is, in fact, an evil egg.

Evil egg man

He is the eggman

Elsewhere in the land of scents (??!), Warrick is trialling a $10,000 electronic nose…

Catherine and Warrick flirt

Also, flirting with Catherine

Warrick: I bet you were like that in high school [mean].
Catherine: Worse.
Warrick: You’d be the girl I ran away from.
Catherine: Until you caught me…

Nick Stokes aw shucks

(so is Nick) (Catherine is the only person for whom I'd 'llow it)

[Cath admits she was a bully in high school -] ‘but not the kind that people wanna take a gun out and shoot.’
Nick: No, you were the kind that guys fall all over themselves trying to impress.
Cath: Like you, Nick, huh?

… and a bottle of women’s perfume

Chanteuse

Chanteuse - or, as Grissom calls it, 'shan-toose'

Patented Petersen Pout

PPP sez... 'French is for LOSERS'

proves key to solving the A-case, a murder in a local high school.

Beautiful sister

Would it surprise you to learn that this beautiful lady...

School counsellorface

... smells the same as this, erm, other lady?

Catherine Willows classy

She's like a less classy version of Catherine

Finally, Grissom comes out with (emits?) a smelly non-sequiteur.

Grissom fart face

Grissom: "Did you ever smell a fart and end up blaming the wrong guy?"

Catherine Willows and Jim Brass

Was that some kind of elaborate double-bluff?

Other items necessary for discussion:

Dennis

This is Dennis

Dennis’s dad: I know I must sound like a typical parent, but my son had nothing to do with the death of the Schickel boy.

Patented Petersen Pout

PPP sez: 'OH YEAH DATZ WHAT ALL DEM PARENTS SAY'

and apparently, working to pay the rent is equivalent to putting your children through the trauma of a familial break-up:

Guidance Counsellor

Guidance Counsellor: You have no idea what these kids go through. I listen to them every day. Divorce - working parents - cliques...

However, there was one further SERIOUS REVELATION that rocked my world this episode. (You’ll want this playing for the full effect.)

McKinley High poster

WHAT'S THAT????????

MCKINLEY HIGH

IT NEVER IS

Guidance Counsellor: Look. He was a popular kid, but he was a bully. So there were probably a dozen kids who wanted to see him dead.

Yeah, but not all of them are 5’4 and wear women’s perfume.

Kurt Hummel guilty

Care to provide an alibi, Mr Hummel?