Monday, August 18, 2008

The Bizarro World of CSI Miami

All Orange, All the Time

I admit it, I was tired of the Olympics and decided to watch a few episodes in a row of CSI Miami (the show I sometimes love to hate) on A&E last week. I came to the conclusion that CSI Miami is set in some Bizarro-like world. This series has become so stylized that it’s not even real anymore. This partly has something to do with the story lines, which I’ve commented before are somewhat laughable. But there is a lot more to this show that makes it hard to accept that it’s set anywhere near reality. I state my case with these facts:

Fact #1: All the women are dressed to the nines (often in white) when examining bloody, messy crime scenes, and have perfect posture while collecting evidence. Everyone knows that no real woman would wear such nice clothes if there were a chance that a speck of dirt would get on them, much less blood. And why is it that the women are constantly showing cleavage, even when examining dead bodies, and men are always conspicuously covered up, wearing jackets or long sleeved shirts? Don’t the guys get a little hot wearing all those clothes in the Miami heat? And what man would wear dark colors all the time, as does Horatio, in Miami?

Fact #2: In one episode, they had a tidal wave that floods a bank, but the streets everywhere else look perfectly normal and the city itself looks virtually normal after that. Not to mention that Horatio only seems worried about one singular crime that he doggedly follows, despite the fact that there must be tons of other things the police should be doing in a disaster like a tidal wave. I guess in Miami they have super duper drains that helped all the tidal wave water drain right off, and along with it, all the debris was cleaned away as well.

Fact #3: The sky always has an orange glow, from the top down. It doesn’t matter if the sun is high in the sky, rising, or setting, the sky is often completely orange. In fact, everyone else has an orange color to them, like the whole cast was dipped in a self-tanner every day for six weeks.

Fact #4: It almost never rains. In fact, I have a hard time remembering when it every really DID rain on the show.

Fact #5: The medical examiner performs autopsies almost like she is making love to the bodies, and calls the dead people "baby girl" and "baby boy" even when they are adults. It's sickening, actually. And the morgue looks lighted like a Hollywood set.

Fact #6: There are never any overweight people in town, all the women have perfect bodies and wear designer clothes. They have the best looking criminals in the world.

Fact #7: The fact that Horatio Caine (David Caruso) has a son staggers the imagination. The thought that any woman would have sex with him is beyond belief. In fact, just look at the women that seem to be so smitten with him. They must have some sort of vision problem. There is no way in the real world that women would be even remotely attracted to someone like Horatio. Or, maybe it's his sunglasses that exude special pheromones that make him so attractive? Now that his sunglasses of magical powers are broken, maybe all the women in the world are finally free of his spell? We can only hope.

Fact #8: Miami is supposed to be such a large, vibrant city, so why is it that when a crime is committed out in the open on the streets, there are almost never any witnesses? Do the people living in and visiting Miami have a sixth sense that tells them to get off the streets or go indoors before any crime is committed?

Fact #9: Everyone lives in spacious homes or apartments, often on or overlooking the beach. People work in beautiful offices or trendy nightclubs. There is no “bad neighborhood” in Miami, and crimes never happen anyplace other than designer homes and offices. Well, sometimes there are warehouses by the docks where crimes happen, but even those look overly clean.

Fact #10: They always seem to find a magic piece of evidence that ties the whole case together.

If one looks at other crime dramas, such as Law & Order or even the other CSI shows like CSI and CSI NY, they all seem to have some level of believability. While the Law & Order franchise seems to be truest to the grittiness of crime in a big city, even CSI and CSI NY seems to be able to transmit some feeling of reality amidst the glitzy effects and sets.

So, you be the judge. Watch a few episodes of the Law & Order franchise (they are hard to miss), or CSI or CSI NY, and then take a look at CSI Miami. I think you’ll agree that the only place Horatio Caine and his band of criminalists can exist is in Bizarro world. And, maybe that’s a fitting place for them. But I’m not sure it’s a safe place anymore for any viewers who like good television. Don't get me wrong, I don't hate the show. But I do think it's only fair to help viewers see what it is and what it's not. It's not real drama, and it's not all that good. But it can be fun to highlight how bad it really is. In fact, some people make that their own cottage industry. Me? I just like adding fuel to the fire, because it just adds to the orange glow.

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