Monday, October 02, 2006

In Honor of CSI: Miami's 100th Episode

I will say that CSI:NY is still far and away my favorite, but I do enjoy CSI: Miami.

As a fan, let me offer some compliments, and a few (I hope) constructive criticisms.

I think Khandi Aklexander is one of TV's finest actresses, but I find the way she speaks to the dead irritating. And in one episode I saw recently she actually tenderly caressed the hair of an 18-year-old girl's corpse, which I found downright disturbing. Let's try to keep it all-business.

Second, I don't want to give his/her name, but
the worst actor or actress in prime-time TV is on this show (IMHO). It's impossible to believe one wooden word. If you agree, you know whom I'm talking about. (If you disagree, you have no idea whom I'm talking about, so I know I haven't offended you.)

On the other hand, Eva La Rue is so gifted, natural and relentlessly attractive as Natalia that you wish she were onscreen more. (The same is true, by the way, of Milena Govich on
Law & Order. Dennis Farina for Govich is the best trade since Olden Polynice for Scottie Pippen.)

Also on the plus side, this show looks
outstanding in HDTV. It also features the most dazzling and opulent architecture on television; the HQ alone is an improbably gaudy masterpiece. (That's another thing I like about CSI:NY: its crime lab actually looks like what I imagine a lab looks like.)

And then there's David Caruso. He seems to have embraced his Shatnerian side, to the extent where he should have "Honeybaked" stamped on his forehead. My favorite moment in each show is when Horatio arrives at the crime scene.

Well, "arrives" is the wrong word.

He actually stands near the body but a little ways away, posing manfully, until Frank notices he's there. Then, without looking, he says, with gravity, "Fraaaank...?"

And Frank fills him in on the details of the body's discovery.

Then Horatio takes off his sunglasses (a la Robert Stack in Airplane!) and says something very dramatic, usually implying that Frank doesn't appreciate the seriousness of the situation. Something like, "This is just the beginning" or "Trust me, this is no game." Then cue The Who.

Somehow, Caruso makes it work perfectly. And thanks in part to his character's gravitas, the shot in the Rio season premiere where Horatio is praying for vengeance at Christ the Redeemer was dramatically right, visually stunning and a Who fan's dream.

My only hangup -- and I admit this could be all in my head -- is that the brightest, sunniest show on TV also stars TV's palest, freckliest actor. Every time I see David Caruso on this show I pray that he's slathering on the sunscreen.


gina said...

I'm a CSI: Original Recipe girl. I catch the first-run episodes when I can and I'm always scanning Spike to see if they're showing an episode I haven't seen yet.

Your description of Caruso as "Shatnerian" is superb, btw. If I knew that he was camping it up the way Shatner does now I would probably be able to handle watching him for more than one scene.

Great post, btw!

Michael Markowitz said...

Thanks, g... Now you'll have to watch CSI:M in a whole new way.

Original Recipe (which is a great name!) lost me when it got too into the characters' personal lives. CSI:NY is more all-business, which I like. Also it's hard to argue with Gary Sinise. The man is The Man.

topcad said...

omg. Eva La Rue. Wow! I may watch CSI Miami just for her.

paul israelson said...

If you're referring to the worst actress in prime-time TV...yeah, you're probably right.

But she's so darned cute!

Ellen said...

Your description of Caruso was spot-on. I also love the way he always says Eh-rick (Eric). Weird choices.
I Googled Caruso recently and found a bunch of hilarious posts critiquing his acting style. Many refer to his shades as SOJ...Sunglasses Of Justice..and how it's practically another character in the show.

Michael Markowitz said...

I just read a mention of his sunglasses move in Entertainment Weekly! It's become a "thing." If there were a studio audience, there would be applause.

I love the "Eh-rick" too... but I'm still not able to parse what governs when he uses their first names and when he calls them "Mr."

If he and Vincent D'onofrio ever did a one-hour show together my head would explode with pleasure. It would be a quirkfest.

Michael Markowitz said...

topcad, she's even better in motion.