CSI
Fur And Loathing

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Aaron: B- | Grade It Now!
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Yiff-A-Dee Doo-Dah
So did you know this show was set in Las Vegas? Yep, that's right. Vegas! Where even the deepest desert is lit by the garish glow of neon. We fade up this week on a frightened-looking blonde woman (whom I'm going to call "Have Another" Sherri Lewis, for reasons that will become obvious approximately forty-three minutes into the episode), who cranes her head rapidly from left to right as she drives along a dark and deserted desert highway. She suddenly swerves to avoid something in the road that we can't see, and ends up smooshed across the front grille of an oncoming eighteen-wheeler soon thereafter. After a nicely edited pull-back from said relatively unscathed grille, we see that Gil and Catherine are already on the scene, trading observations about vehicular physics and lingering over Sherri's bloody corpse (StC = 28. Nice!) for a lengthy amount of time that's in direct inverse proportion to her importance in the episode. Rubbernecking thus completed, they next proceed to use their Mood-LightTM flashlights to follow the trail of Sherri's skid marks along the highway (and no, not those kinds of skid marks. Sherri's mom will be gratified to know that she died with clean underwear on) until they find a set of ridiculously large animal paw prints. "What kind of animal?" wonders Catherine. "A big one," replies Gil. Oh, please. Those prints are so obviously fake, they might as well have Acme© stamped on them.

Our intrepid investigators follow the paw prints into some underbrush by the side of the road, where they're soon confronted with what appears to be a dirty, amorphous lump of fur. The director heightens the "What is the hell is that, an elephant with alopecia?" suspense for as long as humanly possible by instructing Gil and Catherine to only shine their lights on bottom half of the corpse. Eventually, however, we do get a shot of the thing's head, and it's soon revealed to be an actual human being in a full-sized, extra-fuzzy raccoon costume, complete with striped tail and oversized headpiece. Hmm. Millions of Americans wait on the edges of their seats for the expected snappy wisecrack, but the ever-diplomatic Mr. Grissom decides instead to simply observe a moment of silence in honor of the absent Sobell, and we go shockingly quip-less into the credits.

The Who, however, have noted the StC reference, and are understandably curious as to my identity.

When we come back, Catherine is just removing the raccoon's head to reveal the dead guy inside. Gil is shocked by the extensive detail work on the mask, but Catherine is rather blasé. "I once dated the Detroit Lions mascot," she explains. "Off-season. His name was Dutch." Ooh. Ouch. The Lions? Off-season? Dutch? That's just harsh. What's next, an affair with that University of Colorado buffalo that craps on the field every time they bring it out? Although dating a former stripper would seem to be about par for the mascot course. The Pittsburgh Pirates' former mascot once did a season of Road Rules and then came home and got busted for having sex with a sixteen year-old in a public pool at three in the morning. His name wasn't "Dutch" (and there's no word on whether or not he was wearing the costume at the time), but if you read enough recaps, it's not real hard to figure out who I'm talking about. "The breadth of your social experience never ceases to impress me," offers Gil. But not the depth? That doesn't exactly bode well for dear old Dutch. Also impressive, incidentally, is Catherine's ability to find the evening's real first clue, in this case a tiny clump of blue fur that was lodged in Rocky Raccoon's teeth. "Dutch never had furballs," she observes with a curious tone. Well, thank God for that, at least.

Next onto the scene is Emergency Backup David, who looks surprisingly queasy for man who's dealing with what must be the tenth corpse he's seen this week. "It's just…disturbing," he confesses. "There was a raccoon who hosted an after-school kids' show when I was little. Stripey. Everybody loved him. I loved him." Sniff. Aww. Stripey, of course, was exactly like Barney, although not purple and without any other elements that a reasonably talented attorney could possibly construe as a copyright infringement. Gil explains that "Stripey's brother" took a Ford to the face at 250 knots, which leads us into a flashback that starts with Rocky Raccoon waving cheerfully at Sherri's oncoming car and ends with his now-mangled body getting flung straight into the camera. Hee! Then David finally overcomes his childhood anxieties like the emergency backup man that we all knew he could be, and manages to wheel the body off to a waiting ambulance. And then, at long last, Catherine finally coughs up a quip: "The eternal question: Why did the man in the raccoon suit cross the road?"

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