Wednesday, April 16, 2008

CSI: Never watched a single espisode

I Couldn’t Do It:

Confession of a crime-fiction lover who can’t and never did watch a single episode of CSI.

I have loved crime-fiction all my life. Okay, probably not the first six or seven years, when I started life drooling, crawling and schooling and trying to figure out how to spell giraf. Mmm…its giraph, right? Geraff? You know, that animal with long freakin’ necks?

Anyway, the issue I want to talk about today it the fact that I have never watched a full single episode of that damned and popular CSI* series, that bore many spin-offs and wannabes. Okay, the ambulance is ready; you can pick up those fainted gals.

Yes, I never did watch one. Never watched any of the versions, whether it’s CSI: Miami, Vegas or Salt Lake City or whatever. I tried, but by the tenth minute, my fingers itched, and automatically clicked on the remote control to the Cartoon Network. Yes, I learn more about life, existence, eternity, the earth, the universe, and how to catch a mouse in Cartoon Network. You can’t get it anywhere else.

When I told this to a gal, again through online chat, she was shocked! She said she doesn’t know me anymore. She looked like she may distance herself and start working on the manuscript (sure New York Times and News Straits Times Best seller) entitled, “Dazed and Confused: How a Woman Continues The Struggle In Her Life And Face The Society After Learning That A Pal Of Hers Has Never Watched A Single Episode Of CSI.

That’s a definite Pulitzer, I tell ya.

Anyway, that’s a fact. Even Linda, my fiancée, loves CSI, much to my annoyance. The other day, after watching two Clint Eastwood films back to back, I asked, “Do you now, accept Swami Eastwoodandha as your saviour?” There was an almost (I think) approving smile in her face. Then, I continued, “Do you denounce American Idol, CSI_”

I don’t want to continue that, except to tell you that there is still pain in my left arm. I need to take a rest from typing for a while…hang on…

Aside: I would soon be living with a gal who loves JCo donuts, American Idol, and CSI. Sheesh, the sacrifices I have to make. Am sorry, Clint-ji, I will try to do something. End of aside.

Anyway, despite all that, not watching CSI is definitely strange for someone who grew up reading and watching and loving crime fiction. The one name that triggered it all has to be Sherlock Holmes. I was ten when I chanced upon this abridged version of The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes.

I was hooked immediately. I wanted to be him, so much so that I exchanged something for a stolen (from school lab) magnifying glass from my cousin (Attention Sekolah Kebangsaan Seri Bali Cha’ah, he is now hiding in Singapore…I can name him in private if you promise to put me under Witness Protection Program). I was using the magnifying glass on anything, and to my delight, despite the fact that it makes stuff look bigger; it can also be used to kill insects under sunlight. Wooohooo!

Okay, so I was hooked. I was reading more detective tales as I grew up, and in my twenties picked up on the works of Raymond Chandler and Mickey Spillane. I read on serious, but funny crime tales by Elmore Leonard, and I wanted to write a crime fiction myself. In fact, I’d downright say that crime fiction has been the root for my to become a writer. Hey, I wrote a Holmes pastiche when I was thirteen or something. And thinking about the quality of those writings…I mean at that age, with that zeal…I am glad that I lost the papers.

In the meantime, my movie-watching habit was going into that direction as well. You have to admit, all the main stars must, one time or another, appeared in a crime thriller or appeared as a cop. Imagine, one of the best actor of all time, Al Pacino, a purveyor of stage plays, a Shakespearean nut appeared in many crime fiction/cop drama/thrillers. Think about it, Serpico, Sea of Love, Heat, Scarface, Carlito’s Ways, Donnie Brasco, The Recruit , 88 Minutes, and coming soon, Righteous Kill among others. And what are the The Godfather movies, without crime.

And some of my favourite films were of crime genre. From my Swamiji’s Dirty Harry movies, to the mesmerising 1930s-50s Noir films, and 70s offering like Serpico, French Connection, paranoia political crime movies like All The President’s Men, The China Syndrome, Parallax View, Fort Apache, The Bronx, moving on to Heat, LA Confidential and much more. All crime, and most had forensic stuff in it.

And at that time (I still do) I wanted to write crime fiction and I bought books that can help me. I have books on weapons (guns and rifles) and, of course, on forensics. My younger brother then was a cop and we had long late nights discussing crimes and forensics stuff (aided by certain Scottish Beverage).

So, there it was, forensics and crime scene investigation has been part of crime fiction staple, not the main part. And suddenly, what has been the brain of a single fictional character (yes, Holmes) is now show about a unit.

I can’t criticise the show, since I haven’t watched it in full. I may, one day. But having been reading up on it, and having it seen as just one of the element required in crime fiction story telling, I guess I treated it as a well, sub-subject. It’s like always having broccoli as a side dish to your T-bone steak, and suddenly you are looking at it as the main course. No way!

So, I am glad I got it off the chest. Now, I’ve got to get this right. Geeraff. Giraff. Griaph. Gruff. I …just…can’t…do…it….gareff?

*CSI, I believe, stands for Crime Scene Investigation. Or Crime Situation Interrogation. Or One Of The Series For Has-Been Actors and Wannabe Semi-stars Who Just Overacts Like It’s Freakin’ The Godfather or Somethin’