"In cooking, as in all the arts, simplicity is a sign of perfection." - Curnonsky

Sunday, June 15, 2008

CSI: Two and a Half Deaths

Writing CSI is easy, writing Two and a Half Men is hard—or so the writers of Two and a Half Men would have us believe. There were Two and a Half bodies on CSI as the writers from Two and a Half Men crossed over to write an episode of CSI. I think this was the first time that writers crossed over instead of cast members, and I'm not sure it's something that I want to see done again.

The show starts, appropriately enough, with the dead body of a sitcom actress, Annabelle, star of the show Annabelle, played by the wonderful Katey Sagal. She's found dead with a rubber chicken stuffed in her mouth. A search of her room finds lots of water and no alcohol even in the mini-bar. There are also candy wrappers and a bottle of urine found in the closet.

It becomes clear very quickly that Annabelle was no angel. Spencer, the Executive Producer of the show, reports that Annabelle had a few problems, like alcoholism, bulimia, and a drug problem.

As Grissom tries to work the scene, Bud, Annabelle's husband of two days, arrives. Bud will inherit Annabelle's fortune, which gives him a fine motive, but Bud denies killing Annabelle. He claims that she was alive when he left her.

The autopsy shows that she was killed by a blow to the back of the head and that, despite having had a hysterectomy, she was using a tampon. A little research shows that she used her tampons as a vodka delivery system. Can we all say yuck?

A video of the elevator to Annabelle's apartment leads the team to Natasha, Annabelle's assistant/stand-in, also played by Katey Sagal. She claims at first not to have seen Annabelle or Annabelle's body, but when Warrick finds a bloody, female footprint on the carpet in the room, Natasha becomes a suspect. Unfortunately, before I can wonder why this episode of CSI only has one body, Natasha becomes our next victim.

Grissom and Brass go to Hollywood to visit the sitcom set where Natasha was found dead after crashing Annabelle's car. Someone modified the computer chip in the car and Natasha lost control.

Meanwhile a video of Bud and “Annabelle”'s wedding surfaces showing that Bud actually married Natasha, not Annabelle. Bud admits that he and Natasha faked the wedding to try to get Annabelle's money, but that they didn't kill her—she was already dead.

The CSI team finds DNA on the rubber chicken that matches the urine found in the closet. Fingerprints on the bottle lead them to struggling actor Richard Langford. Richard once had a cameo on the Annabelle show before Annabelle fired him after he refused to sleep with her. When he realized that she was in town, he decided to try to get his part back by sleeping with her. He snuck into her room and hid in the closet until she was alone. Unfortunately, it all went wrong when Annabelle slipped and hit her head. To try to shift the blame to Bud, since Annabelle liked to hit Bud with the rubber chicken during sex, Richard shoved the rubber chicken in her mouth.

End of story? Not quite. It turns out that Annabelle had high levels of blood thinner in her bloodstream. Without the blood thinner, Annabelle probably would have survived the head injury. The team discovers that the blood thinner was in her vodka stash. They track the blood thinner to Annabelle's co-star Megan. When Grissom and Brass confront her, she admits nothing and points out that they have no hard evidence. She walks off with her lover, Spencer, to start her new job as the lead on a CBS sitcom.

The Good
The cameo of the actors from Two and a Half Men.
The lighter tone and most of the jokes. I especially liked the differing responses to the Rorschach-like blood blot. Catherine: a puppy. Grissom: a hermaphrodite on roller skates.

The Bad
Too many puns and inside jokes. Granted, I have a low pun tolerance, but by the end of the episode, I was just sick of them.
The EXTRA scenes were just awful. One would have been more than enough.
The "half death" of Bud cutting his neck while shaving. Is that something that happens on Two and a Half Men? Or was it just to get two and a half deaths on the show?

The Science
What science? They didn't find any hard evidence! On CSI!

I was not a fan of this episode, but then again, I don't watch Two and a Half Men, so I may have been missing something. I wouldn't want this kind of episode on a regular basis, though.

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