05 July, 2008

"Bad Crime Drama"

Now. Let me just explain something. I LOVE CRIME DRAMA. I don't know how it happened, I don't know why. But I love it ALL. My love for crime drama is RAMPANT. From the truly incredible to the truly atrocious, it doesn't matter. Bring it on.

Perhaps it is due to the fact that one has to use their brain a little bit, they have to do a little bit of thinking, it isn't idle "grazing" it is active and engaging. Sometimes it mixes crime with science (CSI), sometimes with math (Numbers), sometimes the focus is on trauma (L&O: SVU), and sometimes on missing people (Without a Trace).

OR perhaps it's because at it's best you get to see some pretty decent (sometimes utterly excellent) actors in circumstances involving very high stakes (or, in the cases of both Dr. Quincy and Jessica Fletcher, the stakes are VERY HIGH ALL. THE. TIME. with the exception of the first and last two minutes of every episode, culminating in a frozen frame of said characters laughing with appropriate light-hearted music to accompany the feeling that even though murder follows these people around like a stray dog, life really is okay).

The "chunk chunk" sound associated with Law & Order is so divine it creates a Pavlovian reaction in me. I drool for a good re-run with the wonderful Jerry Orbach! I luxuriate in the vintage glory of a Sunday afternoon Poirot on ITV3, and Without A Trace on every day this summer on Channel 4? Better than ice cream or sunshine or kittens.  

CSI: Miami is so bad it's good. I laugh at CSI: Miami more than I become intrigued or moved or genuinely interested. But one has to admit, on the whole, Miami is an incredible setting for crime. Miami is twisted. It's truly creepy. What with the heat, the sultry, sweet, sexy, Southern thing, the voodoo-ish subculture, the crocidiles, and the connection to Latin America and it's subsequent language, social and religious barriers; the truly twisted nature of it's plots far exceeds the general prostitute and gambling crimes of it's predecessor, and could never match the stories we've heard on every other New York based crime show. (I don't like CSI: New York, and wish it were CSI: Chicago).

Plus, David Caruso works the one-liners and specs. And he works them like they’ve never been worked before. What a facial tic is to Robert DeNiro, what a cane was to Charlie Chaplin, sunglasses are to David Caruso. In uniting his limitless repetoire of placement and removal with his unmatched ability to deliver the cutting and dramatic one-liner, this video has perfectly showcased the entire range of Caruso’s talent in less than four minutes. Is there an Emmy for Best Sunglasses Snap? ... No? Well, there should be.

But OH! Ohhhhhhh the joys of what I like to call"CSI Regular"! The gutters of Las Vegas provide the most eloquent background for stories of gambling, alternative underbelly lifestyles, dead prostitutes, aging showgirls, escapist holidays gone awry. It is fast-paced, dark and humorous. It delivers well-acted and well-constructed characters, truly vivid gore scenes (that still manage to be scientific) and wonderfully twisty plots that leave you gaping with awe. All of these are evidence of a brilliant television show and THE EVIDENCE NEVER LIES my friends! So give in to the inner forensic dork you've been hiding from all your friends! I love CSI and I AM NOT afraid to show it.

SO. All of this unbelievable ranting being said, Can you imagine my reaction when I got an audition for one of the above television shows? Well, I just nearly flipping died. I actually did a little dance. 

Television Audition

* * *

[At rise: a church basement serving as an audition room.]

[Al enters the audition room and realizes she is overly dressed. She uses this moment to think about how her agent suggested she look attractive again, and what this might mean about her personal appearance. She shakes hands with the director and writer and casting director. Greetings and all that.]

Director: So. You are American?
Al: The real thing
Director: Yes the real thing indeed. So how are you here?
Al: Um...
Director: ...I meant specifically how are you here, in this country....? [she pauses] working.... legally?
Al: Ah yes, I have a Visa. I am a "Highly-Skilled Migrant." I like it, it sounds like I pick grapes really fast. John Steinbeck, you know?
Director: [unamused pause] Indeed. [next order of business beat] So. What did you think of the script?

[As the Narrator I have to interrupt here. I want to mention the readers that I hate this question. I think this question is really unfair. What are we supposed to say? "I thought your script was utter rubbish and the dialogue, while being trite at best, is hardly as atrocious as the story as a whole. I am only here auditioning because my agent forced me to come." Would that win hearts and minds?? One might as well say "well, the thing is, I didn't have time to read it all because I was just released from Pentonville Prison yesterday, having served 90 days for an assault charge which by the way that b#%*& had coming, and I had to sort a few things out."]

Al: I thought it was super.

["Super"?!!! A beat for lameness.]

Well, the truth is, I absolutely LOVE Bad Crime Drama. 

[OH.MY.GOD. I used "BADCRIMEDRAMA" as a blanket statement again... and THIS WAS NOT THE MOMENT. NOT AT ALL. Save it!

I mean... not that THIS is "bad." Bad Crime Drama is a sort of blanket category I give all crime drama.... I use it to describe the genre.... as my own... little... joke.... with myself... because of my love... of it... 

[There is an utterly horrific moment of shock and horror from all three people behind the table. She attempts to save it one last time...]

I mean of course that it is guilty-pleasure crime drama. The sort of "I really should be doing the washing up, but CSI is on" sort of thing.... [getting worse.]. If you see.... what I mean.... [total. heart crushing. failure.]

Director: ... Well. Thank you so much... we'll be in touch.... 

[...with either your agent or a hospital, she meant to say...]

* * *

Um.... I did not get this job. 


  1. AnonymousJuly 08, 2008

    honesty box:
    my ringtone is the law and order (original) theme song.

    that is all.

  2. I am also a crime drama fanatic. I will watch Law & Order: SVU reruns all day. And I also watched the entire Without a Trace second season.

    Props for you I have to say. You speak for most of us.


  3. was that your attempt at delving into your awesome awesomeness?
    or was it the abyss?

    I must say that's why I think your awesome!

  4. Brilliant story, Al. I'm a big William Petersen fan. Anthony LaPaglia too. These guys are old school. Love it. And love you for inadvertently saying 'BadCrimeDrama' out loud (nerves of course) and blowing the whole fucking audition sky high. I adore and miss you. x

  5. You funny.
    But no mention of NCIS-- those crazy Navy folks don't half like their murdering. The rascals!

  6. When are they going to start shooting "CSI - Mayberry"?

    Oh, you poor thing with the "bad crime drama" slip! I feel so sorry for you!

  7. Smooth! You are so funny honey! But I too love Bad Crime Drama and knowing me, I probably would have made the same mistake!

    M x

  8. it wasnt a mistake.

    Al was cheekily testing her awesomeness!


  9. I'm so glad I'm not alone.

    My cell phone ring for two years striaght was the Law and Order theme song. Nevermind that the notes are so low that you couldn't hear it ring - I LOVED it.

    Here in my house, we actually have to divide our crime dramas into regular-season-worthy and summer-reruns-worthy otherwise our TiVo would fill up in a week! Regular-season-worthy crime dramas include CSI:Regular, CSI: NY, Without a Trace, and Criminal Minds. The remainder (Law and Order, SVU, Cold Case) are summer-rerun-worthy. The Closer is also regular-season-worthy but airs in the summer. I have not yet watched Bones and am hesitant to start because I just cannot watch another TV show.

    But where, you ask, is CSI: Miami? On the new second TiVo in the workout room, of course! Nothing motivates a good work-out like David Caruso and his sunglasses surrounded by beautiful, tan, thin dead people!

    BTW, I get to use some of those fancy machines that they show on CSI, and sometimes when I'm operating them, I sing the sound-effects to make my work seem cooler/more important.



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