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Shauna Brock
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If it's a Friday, I'm probably writing.
If it's a Friday, I'm probably writing.

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Shauna Brock is an award winning writer and activist from Salt Lake City, Utah. Born in Syracuse, NY but raised in Salt Lake City, Shauna comes to the writing world with a passion for cultivating the modern fairy tale. Rather than princes and princesses, sh...
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Returning to the blogosphere! 
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If you are a writer of queer fiction, heads up! 
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New post where I ramble about the concept of diversity in media. 
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A guest post regarding last night's CSI.
Guest Post: How Many Times Can I Say "Contrived"I’m going to start this off with a moment of honesty: I am not a hardcore CSI fan. I fell in love with it, bought season after season on DVD. Eight seasons take up a lot of space on my DVD rack. The obvious: We are now on season 14. Those of you that know the show probably understand why I stopped there. That being said, I have my favorite characters that I want to keep up with and I tune in when I hear an episode is going to be particularly good for one of them. So I flipped the channel last night for the 300th episode, touted as Sara-centric with flashbacks to an early case. I’m going to get the petty out of the way and just say shame on the hairstylists. Jorja looks amazing for being in her mid 40s and that hair aged her. Plus they kept it in all the flashback, even when the CSI faithful have the vivid image of curly haired Sara wandering up as Grissom throws dummies off of the roof of a casino. I know it didn’t stay that way long, but it kept some body and wave. If you’re going to be shooting a flashback could you at least try for some continuity? Half an hour with a curling iron, that’s all I’m asking. Now before I get into my serious rant… I didn’t really have a problem with the case itself. I’ve been watching procedurals long enough to know that there isn’t really a lot of new ground you can cover. The “back from the dead” twist has been done before, but to be honest – what hasn’t? It was a way to prove that sometimes they’re 100% wrong, and that the singularly important take-home is the need to follow the evidence. This was Grissom’s mantra from the beginning – don’t let your emotions get in the way; don’t let *your feelings* direct the evidence. How many times did we hear that, particularly with Sara, in the early seasons? The discussion of “Sara, you push too hard” has been had so many times I can’t keep count. And in that aspect, I’m pleased with how the crime ended. It was Sara’s combination of passion and focus that got the case solved. It showed her growth beautifully, and for that, I applaud CSI. Now, the serious business… I know as a 300th episode they were going for nostalgia and they wanted to hearken back to the early days of the team. I know they wanted something fresh, even through a flashback – and they didn’t want to turn this into a clip episode. I applaud them for that. However, the setup felt contrived. You watched the retelling of “Sara’s first high profile case in Vegas” that we’d never heard of? Even in passing, wouldn’t she have thought back on it at least once in the past 14 years? Sure, make it a big case, but please don’t put adjectives in front of it that you can’t back up. It was a case. It was a frustrating case. But her first high profile case? Really? It makes the episode feel… I’ll say it again… contrived. You’ll now notice that is my word for the evening. Also, maybe I’m not remembering correctly – but wasn’t it around season 3 that Greg started expressing interest in going out in the field? He certainly hadn’t been jonesing for it from the beginning. Don’t have Catherine giving out advice that never would have crossed either of their minds 14 years ago. Its inserting emotion into the past; emotion that was never there. Season one Greg was the lighthearted DNA tech, stressed out over his workload but enjoying his job. He wasn’t yet yearning for the field. They weren’t grooming him from irritating DNA tech to stellar CSI back then. Show him as a goof, show the Greg we knew and loved that gave some incredibly intense episodes a much needed lighthearted moment. Again, writers, way to make something feel entirely too contrived. This is the biggest contrived thing for me… and where the episode started to really lose me: Morgan standing in the morgue, Doc Robbins touting the perfect, all-star team that happened to lose the case. For starters – I understand the point of CSI is that this team is great. Who wants to watch a crappy criminalist screw up all the time? I also understand honoring the rift between Grissom and Ecklie those early seasons. But if you’re honoring the team – remember that when Sara first joined the team, they weren’t the crack group they’ve become. Sara was new and people had a hard time trusting her. Nick and Warrick had their friendly feud over becoming level 3’s. Don’t call them perfect- they screwed up a lot. It was what made them human and what made them relatable and made me want to watch. In the end they did usually catch the bad guy, which I suppose is what Doc was alluding to, but it felt a little too contrived. Look at how great they are! THIS is the one that got away! Really? Over 14 years? They’re graveshift CSI’s, not the friggin Justice League. As much as I love Sara, she is not Wonder Woman. They’re awesome at their jobs, but please. They are not perfect. On the flip side, dayshift isn’t a bunch of bumbling idiots that blow cases all the time. If they were, Ecklie wouldn’t still be hanging around. Yes, I know. They’ve been hinting at this the entire series. It just felt worse last night. It all felt like an obituary – no one speaks ill of the dead. Maybe that’s what they were going for. My wonderful friend vegawriters said it felt like a 300th episode for a show that knew it wouldn’t be around for 400. It’s had a long run, it’s had ups and downs, but CSI, I do believe the end is near. Now, the ending is the biggest contrivance of the whole episode… that was where I threw my hands in the air and officially gave up on the episode. CSI writers are tugging on the heartstrings of their loyal GSR fans, making them fall in love with the couple all over again and yet have their hearts broken over the fact that there is still no definitive closure. It felt cheap, lingering on their names as the last shot of the episode. It was a ploy, a tease. Since the ending was hinting at continuity, maybe they will reunite? Maybe the next step is Sara leaving to go save her marriage? Maybe… maybe… maybe… maybe let’s just string them along and not give them closure until we absolutely have to. I am not a GSR fan. I’m not vehemently opposed to it, but them breaking up or getting back together really has no impact on how I perceive the show. It is an ensemble cast of amazing actors bringing great characters to life. They boiled down their 300th episode to a single shot honoring two people. Aside from the bull I’ve mentioned before – it’s making this feel like their relationship is THE most important thing in this entire series. You want to end on an evidence bag? Fine. You want to end to show continuity? Fine. Put Greg on there, or Catherine, or Nick. Even better, put Catherine and Sara, since we just flashed back to a crime scene that they ran together. You end with that shot you aren’t just showing continuity. It wasn’t an accident that they picked Grissom and Sara to have on that evidence bag. So it makes the GSR fans feel simultaneously validated and hurt while excluding the fans who don’t give two craps about the relationship. This show is about so much more than that, and ending on that note is why I will not remember the real name of this episode… it will in my mind just be Contrived. in One Review (A Frame-By-Frame review)
Guest Post: How Many Times Can I Say "Contrived"I’m going to start this off with a moment of honesty: I am not a hardcore CSI fan. I fell in love with it, bought season after season on DVD. Eight seasons take up a lot of space on my DVD rack. The obvious: We are now on season 14. Those of you that know the show probably understand why I stopped there. That being said, I have my favorite characters that I want to keep up with and I tune in when I hear an episode is going to be particularly good for one of them. So I flipped the channel last night for the 300th episode, touted as Sara-centric with flashbacks to an early case. I’m going to get the petty out of the way and just say shame on the hairstylists. Jorja looks amazing for being in her mid 40s and that hair aged her. Plus they kept it in all the flashback, even when the CSI faithful have the vivid image of curly haired Sara wandering up as Grissom throws dummies off of the roof of a casino. I know it didn’t stay that way long, but it kept some body and wave. If you’re going to be shooting a flashback could you at least try for some continuity? Half an hour with a curling iron, that’s all I’m asking. Now before I get into my serious rant… I didn’t really have a problem with the case itself. I’ve been watching procedurals long enough to know that there isn’t really a lot of new ground you can cover. The “back from the dead” twist has been done before, but to be honest – what hasn’t? It was a way to prove that sometimes they’re 100% wrong, and that the singularly important take-home is the need to follow the evidence. This was Grissom’s mantra from the beginning – don’t let your emotions get in the way; don’t let *your feelings* direct the evidence. How many times did we hear that, particularly with Sara, in the early seasons? The discussion of “Sara, you push too hard” has been had so many times I can’t keep count. And in that aspect, I’m pleased with how the crime ended. It was Sara’s combination of passion and focus that got the case solved. It showed her growth beautifully, and for that, I applaud CSI. Now, the serious business… I know as a 300th episode they were going for nostalgia and they wanted to hearken back to the early days of the team. I know they wanted something fresh, even through a flashback – and they didn’t want to turn this into a clip episode. I applaud them for that. However, the setup felt contrived. You watched the retelling of “Sara’s first high profile case in Vegas” that we’d never heard of? Even in passing, wouldn’t she have thought back on it at least once in the past 14 years? Sure, make it a big case, but please don’t put adjectives in front of it that you can’t back up. It was a case. It was a frustrating case. But her first high profile case? Really? It makes the episode feel… I’ll say it again… contrived. You’ll now notice that is my word for the evening. Also, maybe I’m not remembering correctly – but wasn’t it around season 3 that Greg started expressing interest in going out in the field? He certainly hadn’t been jonesing for it from the beginning. Don’t have Catherine giving out advice that never would have crossed either of their minds 14 years ago. Its inserting emotion into the past; emotion that was never there. Season one Greg was the lighthearted DNA tech, stressed out over his workload but enjoying his job. He wasn’t yet yearning for the field. They weren’t grooming him from irritating DNA tech to stellar CSI back then. Show him as a goof, show the Greg we knew and loved that gave some incredibly intense episodes a much needed lighthearted moment. Again, writers, way to make something feel entirely too contrived. This is the biggest contrived thing for me… and where the episode started to really lose me: Morgan standing in the morgue, Doc Robbins touting the perfect, all-star team that happened to lose the case. For starters – I understand the point of CSI is that this team is great. Who wants to watch a crappy criminalist screw up all the time? I also understand honoring the rift between Grissom and Ecklie those early seasons. But if you’re honoring the team – remember that when Sara first joined the team, they weren’t the crack group they’ve become. Sara was new and people had a hard time trusting her. Nick and Warrick had their friendly feud over becoming level 3’s. Don’t call them perfect- they screwed up a lot. It was what made them human and what made them relatable and made me want to watch. In the end they did usually catch the bad guy, which I suppose is what Doc was alluding to, but it felt a little too contrived. Look at how great they are! THIS is the one that got away! Really? Over 14 years? They’re graveshift CSI’s, not the friggin Justice League. As much as I love Sara, she is not Wonder Woman. They’re awesome at their jobs, but please. They are not perfect. On the flip side, dayshift isn’t a bunch of bumbling idiots that blow cases all the time. If they were, Ecklie wouldn’t still be hanging around. Yes, I know. They’ve been hinting at this the entire series. It just felt worse last night. It all felt like an obituary – no one speaks ill of the dead. Maybe that’s what they were going for. My wonderful friend vegawriters said it felt like a 300th episode for a show that knew it wouldn’t be around for 400. It’s had a long run, it’s had ups and downs, but CSI, I do believe the end is near. Now, the ending is the biggest contrivance of the whole episode… that was where I threw my hands in the air and officially gave up on the episode. CSI writers are tugging on the heartstrings of their loyal GSR fans, making them fall in love with the couple all over again and yet have their hearts broken over the fact that there is still no definitive closure. It felt cheap, lingering on their names as the last shot of the episode. It was a ploy, a tease. Since the ending was hinting at continuity, maybe they will reunite? Maybe the next step is Sara leaving to go save her marriage? Maybe… maybe… maybe… maybe let’s just string them along and not give them closure until we absolutely have to. I am not a GSR fan. I’m not vehemently opposed to it, but them breaking up or getting back together really has no impact on how I perceive the show. It is an ensemble cast of amazing actors bringing great characters to life. They boiled down their 300th episode to a single shot honoring two people. Aside from the bull I’ve mentioned before – it’s making this feel like their relationship is THE most important thing in this entire series. You want to end on an evidence bag? Fine. You want to end to show continuity? Fine. Put Greg on there, or Catherine, or Nick. Even better, put Catherine and Sara, since we just flashed back to a crime scene that they ran together. You end with that shot you aren’t just showing continuity. It wasn’t an accident that they picked Grissom and Sara to have on that evidence bag. So it makes the GSR fans feel simultaneously validated and hurt while excluding the fans who don’t give two craps about the relationship. This show is about so much more than that, and ending on that note is why I will not remember the real name of this episode… it will in my mind just be Contrived. in One Review (A Frame-By-Frame review)
vegawriters.com
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