Wednesday 12 October 2011

I prefer to use my infinite imagination cause I ain't got no damn money

Watching: Unforgettable, a show in which character A tells character B what character B used to do for a living, or what character B was doing last week, or how character B feels about stuff. There is a lot of exposition in this, but then it is a first episode so I suppose it might just be a matter of getting this out of the way now rather than how the writers intend to conduct themselves in future. The main character has a photographic memory and this allows her to rewatch events as if they were a music video, with lots of slow motion, meaningful close-ups and warbling soundtrack, and apparantly it's based on a series of books called "The Rememberer", which I fear takes it all a step too far towards being something the Simpsons would do as a satire on bad television rather than an objectively good idea for a series being made in a year beginning with a 2. I've seen worse, I guess, but this is no recommendation at all as I actively seek out terrible television.
Raising Hope, which is what the production team - sans Jason Lee - made after My Name Is Earl finished. It's not as good as My Name Is Earl, but then it's not as terrible as Memphis Beat, either, which is what Jason Lee made after MNIE. Memphis Beat is a dreadful cop show, made all the worse for Lee massacring Elvis songs and the cast acting like he is not doing so because acting, that's why. Shoulda got someone in to dub that shit in post, but for some reason they did not and it's toe-curling. Raising Hope is alright, I guess, but a little unfocused, being at its best when it's a sprawling ensemble piece about a poverty-line community rather than when it's a pratfall-heavy sitcom about a dullard young man trying to be a single dad. It passes the time.
Speaking of bad cover versions, though, I have been watching my way through the CSIs from the first season onwards and gradually taking in the spin-offs as they turn up, CSI begetting CSI Miami and CSI Miami begatting CSI New York, and on the surface each is a logical progression from the originating series by giving the audience more of the same kind of thing but with a different cast and setting, justifying making a separate series rather than the commissioning networks just doubling the number of episodes they order from the production company, and yet there is a problem...
You see, I started watching CSI in all its forms only with the the last two tv seasons for reasons I can't recall but which likely center on my belief that if I'm going to continue slagging off the shows and their audience I should be armed with enough knowledge to at least make me an informed elitist, and while each spin-off has a distinct identity on the starting blocks - particularly CSI New York's monolithic and foreboding skyscrapers shot with blue filters and scored with a soundtrack that makes it seem like you're looking at the desolate wastelands of Mordor - eventually they all ran together to become an indistinguishable neon blur, with the current season of CSI New York serving up a slice of bad tv that even I balked at swallowing, with the New York punk scene represented by a long haired twentysomething blond doing an appalling cover of Blitzkrieg Bop whilst showing her punk credentials by citing the Ramones as being the first "real" punk band. I have four words to say to this kind of thing, CSI New York, and that's "fuck off" twice.
There's this bit where the cast were doing investigations in a tattoo parlor and the shots were not only framed around a woman's very large breasts, but the set designers had obviously asked that on the wall be mounted a 'chopper' - a motorbike with customised parts beloved of the biking communities who are often the lifeblood of tattoo parlors - and the people who made the set mounted a chopper bicycle, as beloved of 8 year old girls. Now, I'm not saying this was shoddy research, I'm just saying that if there is a subculture of tattooed 8 year old girls who stab people at Rolling Stones concerts, there's probably a better story to be told there than one involving a tv writer's view of 'punk' that clearly extends no further than the music, clothes and hair of Avril Lavigne. Man, but it is bad television, topped off with 911 references and a lighters in the air final scene that had me in fits. I don't know what to make of it - on the one hand it's appalling to the point it's funny, but on the other you get the impression if you told those involved that this was why you enjoyed it, they'd take the huff or give you a slap in the beak.

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