May 30, 2008

'I Am The Walrus' Explained.


Wikipedia has an entire entry devoted to breaking down and attempting to make sense of 'I Am The Walrus' but it's plainly evident by the second sentence into the lengthy entry ("Lennon claimed he wrote the first two lines on separate acid trips.") that analyzing a lot of what Lennon wrote is an exercise in futility unless you are on a similar acid trip. Possibly combined with Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.

This Venn Diagram, therefore, is probably the closest we will ever come to a coherent explanation of the mysteries (read: drug-hazed Dr. Seussian nonsensical ramblings) locked away in 'I Am The Walrus'.

I'd give credit where it's due for the diagram if I could be bothered to perform a rudimentary track back to an original source. I can't. Be bothered. Suffice it to say it isn't mine. So good on you, Mystery Beatles Analyzer.

May 27, 2008

Your Weekly Catherine

Week Twenty

Lucky dog.
So what peculiar circumstances led to this photo op (and Tarantino's admittedly smug expression)? Is Marg Helgenberger just a huge Pulp Fiction fan? Or is Quentin Tarantino into CSI? I'll say a little of column A and a little of column B. Quentin Tarantino directed one of the most famous CSI two-parters ever. Grave Danger, the Season Five ender, was a nail-biting, emotional, and very Tarantino flavored doozy of a double episode. In it poor Nick Stokes gets kidnapped and buried alive in a perspex coffin with a limited pumped-in air supply. His fellow CSIs are then given a live video feed into his coffin, a ransom demand of $1,000,000, and very little else in the way of actual evidence along with an expiration date. Nick's air will run out and he'll die unless they pay. Or, through some miracle, find him.

The stakes are high in Grave Danger since CSI started off, way back in the pilot episode, by killing one of their own. Before anybody knew which characters were likely to last and which weren't, one of the team was offed right at the get-go. This produced the lingering effect of uncertainty as no fan could be absolutely sure that other CSIs, regardless of how long the show had been running, wouldn't suffer the same fate at some point. It gave the danger the CSIs seemed to always find themselves in an air of authenticity. I call it the Psycho effect. Kill off a main character before anybody realizes she was actually an extra and it will unsettle viewers who then can't cling to the belief that the core cast are safe from harm. Grave Danger being a season ender, Nick not being one of the two arguable 'leads', and Tarantino in the driver's seat was a mix that meant anything could happen. Nick really was in quite literal grave danger the entire time and watching the episode was an exercise in endurance because of how much he suffered and the lack of guarantees that it would all come out alright in the end.

Besides the glorious real tension, the always visually thrilling blue-hued CSI style, and the roller coaster action, Grave Danger became one of the best episodes committed to film because of the undeniable Tarantino touches that, while still very definitely a CSI episode, set it apart from others just enough that it felt special. Examples of the Tarantino touch came early on in part one.

Warrick: You know, Tina doesn't like me carrying a gun. I play down the fact that I'm a cop when I'm with her anyway.
Nick: Yeah, yeah, you play the scientist card: You're a "copologist".

Catherine: Ah, my two favorite guys. Ok, I have an assult at Stripperama and a trash run at Flamingo and Kovalt. (hands them the assignments) I'm too busy to play favorites so duke it out.
Nick (raises his fists): Duke it out. (pulls a coin out of his pocket) Boy, we better flip a coin. I'll hurt ya.
Warrick: Yeah, you better flip that coin.

(Playing a Dukes of Hazzard game and Greg takes the safer route)
Hodges: I kinda miss the old Greg. Ugly t-shirts, goofy hair, semi-pornographic magazines...
Greg: Yeah, well, at least I had a style change.
Hodges: Oh, by the way, this is the work me. You haven't had the full David Hodges experience.
Greg: I think I'm having it right now.

Does Nick make it out? Well I just posted that George Eads, who plays Nick, is staying with the show through another (ninth) season and beyond so I've unfortunately already answered that question for you. But how does he survive? And in what shape? If you haven't watched Grave Danger you really should. It's a brilliant episode from an always-good series. Quentin Tarantino understood how to keep it true to itself - how to maintain that distinct CSI quality - while still imbuing it with lovely Tarantino style and flair. It has black humor, black and white gore sequences, and victim point-of-view fantasies; in short it possesses all the hallmarks of a classic Tarantino film.

Who climbs into the ambulance with an injured character is always telling of relationships in a film or series. In The Royal Tenenbaums, Chas and Royal's strained relationship was fully mended by the fact that Chas rode in the ambulance with Royal after his heart attack and witnessed his death. Grave Danger is no different. In the end it's Catherine and Warrick who climb into the ambulance with Nick. And those two bonds, however subtly played by a series that admirably refuses to wallow in soapish interpersonal issues, will continue well beyond the end of season five and endure. So it is Catherine and Nick who will likely take the departure of Warrick, however that occurs, the hardest now.