CSI: Miami
Camp Fear

Episode Report Card
Sobell: C+ | Grade It Now!
Gassy and Sassy

There's no such thing as a rainy day in Miami. At least, there isn't in the establishing shots, which feature glistening white buildings set against a sparkling blue waterfront, bordered on one side by long, empty highways upon which a brooding lawman can speed in the stud vehicle of his choice and on the other by verdant wetlands that the Bush administration will no doubt decide to drain and sell off for commercial development, if their current track record in re: America's natural resources and wonders is anything to go by. But I digress, and thus almost miss the schoolbus wending its way down a dusty road. It stops and disgorges a bunch of preternaturally blonde and clean-cut teenagers wearing blue-sleeved baseball jerseys and toting bright orange trash bags. I think it's sweet of the Villagers of the Damned to adopt a highway in between killing sprees. One blonde girl bids her less blonde friend to ditch this boring highway job with her, and they head off into the dry and abundant brush to smoke, since Floridians are in no danger whatsoever of epidemic wildfire sweeping across their state. The tall blonde girl pulls out a pack of cigarettes, and her shorter friend gasps, "Where did you get those?" "My mom's purse," Blondie replies. "You are so busted," the other girl continues. Yes, especially when Mom finds out her daughter has absconded with her smokes to the foot of the Appalachian Trail in Amicalola Falls State Park in Georgia, if the mountains in the background give any indication as to where this schoolbus took the children. Or maybe Mom thinks that Florida's naturally mountainous; Blondie seems to be dismissing her materfamilias's mental capacities in a series of remarks about how not-busted she and her friend will be. Blondie uses a book of matches to attempt to light the cigarettes, fails, and has to lean into the underbrush to retrieve them. I get my first good look at her shirt, which reads "Briar Bay Baptist Church: Adopt a Highway." Give the producers points for getting that detail right: the biggest adolescent hell-raisers I knew were all active members of my church youth group. Anyway, the two girls lean down into the underbrush to get their matches and apparently find something else that sends them screaming back toward the highway.

The camera gets all arty here, panning quickly from the trashbags to the bare, splayed legs of a girl clad in bikini underpants, up her torso, to her rolled-back eyes. This reminds me a little too much of a high-fashion ad -- the kind of thing that some talentless hack looking for some free publicity for his label would do, then insist is meant to be an artistic representation of un petit mort -- and the next series of shots, which are accompanied by the clicking of camera, focusing on her well-manicured hands and feet, her arm flung behind her head in a classic cheesecake pose, and her vacant face, do nothing to dispel the impression that we've just witnessed a prime-time eroticization of murder. Seriously: this is the kind of segment that would fit right in with Jean Kilbourne's Killing Us Softly series. It is amazing to me that this show -- and, to be fair, the original CSI -- has no problem portraying dead women with such strongly erotic imagery; while it's true that we did have dead male stripper plotlines on both this show and the original, the dead men weren't depicted with the same strongly sexualized camera treatment. In fact, their deaths demonstrated the fatal results of deviant female sexuality. There's a whole thesis to be written on sexual imagery and CSI shows here, but y'all aren't here for a discussion of the forensic male gazes. You're here for the derisive comments about Horatio. So let's get to those.

Cut to Horatio looking down and saying, "Well, we've got a Jane Doe. She could be a runaway." The camera keeps clicking as Alexx says, "She's not a street kid. Not with these nails." Sevilla suggest that the girl could be a victim of a hit-and-run, but Horatio disagrees, noting that the girl's too far from the road. Alexx adds, "Looks like she's been hit by every bug in south Florida, though. Poor baby's been eaten alive. Smells like beer. You are much too young to be out drinking, sweetheart." Sevilla suggests that the beery young miss was coming home from a party, but Horatio pooh-poohs that idea too. He then commands Alexx, "Check her lividity." Alexx does not ask him for the magic word, but merely rolls the girl a little and pulls up her tee, noting, "I've got double lividity. Her blood's settled twice, meaning she's been moved." Sevilla concludes, "So it's a body dump." Horatio leans back, squares his shoulders so he's filling ninety percent of the frame, casts his gaze into the middle distance, and decrees, "So we are in search of a crime scene." Roger Daltrey immediately screams his agreement and we go to the Kim Delaney-less credits. Yeahhhh!!!!

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CSI: Miami




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