Underneath my yellow skin

A Criminal Mind is a Thing to Waste

So, in the midst of my sickness, I’ve been watching much videos, so binge-worthy. The last few days, I’ve been watching the current season of Criminal Minds, and, well, it’s not been pretty. The first few seasons were pretty strong, though definitely formulaic and graphic. I don’t remember when it started to slide downhill, but it’s in the mud now. It’s become more graphic and less psychological, and they’re repeating stories (which is almost inevitable after 13 seasons). When I started watching the first episode, they did the recap, and I didn’t remember the big cliffhanger of the previous season. I went back and watched the last few minutes, and I didn’t remember it at all. That shows how much of a impact it had and how much it mattered. The teams were in their SUVs racing to find Mr. Scratch and–wait a minute. I need to talk about Mr. Scratch for a hot second. He was the big nemesis of the tenth season (I think), and I hated him. HATED him. Not because he was a bad man (which he was), but because he was so poorly written. He was supposed to be this psychopath who used drugs to mind control people to do whatever he wanted them to do, and it just…sucked. The psychology was wrong, and more to the point, the character was a complete cipher. They tried to give him a backstory, but it just didn’t stick for me. They invoked the so-called daycare sexual abuse hysteria of the ’80s, and another side note, but they are so ham-handed in their treatment of actual issues.

I had to Google the first case in which he appears, and when I read the synopsis, I remembered how bullshit it was. Anyway, Bodhi Elfman is the actor who portrays Mr. Scratch, and he does a really good job with how little he’s given. When Mr. Scratch emerged last season as a major player again, I sighed in annoyance. In the first episode, he kidnaps Emily after ramming into the teams’ SUVs. Of course the one person who dies isn’t an actual team member because that would be way too gutsy a call. Anyhoooooo. The episode is cringe-worthy, and it ends with Mr. Scratch killing Emily. But, of course, he doesn’t, and really? We get to watch Emily fake-die again? Well, to be clear, she actually died the other time, but came back to life. This time, she was fake-killed and–oh, who the fuck cares? At the end of the episode, Mr. Scratch fell to his death (or jumped? It’s hard to say), and I wanted to make sure he was really dead. To be fair, I haven’t liked any of the nemeses on this show, but Mr. Scratch was the worst.

In another episode, there’s someone targeting game devs/coders. In the beginning of the episode, one of the team members says (about the company, which is called, Ori-Gamey), “They’re cutting edge! They do a lot of VR, and I have a few of their flight simulator games.” I literally rolled my eyes because that’s such a stereotypical and non-gamer statement about what is considered ‘cutting edge’ in gaming. It’s like saying a book is good because it has elegant prose and thoughtful ideas. It’s not necessarily wrong, but could you be any more generic? Later in the episode, another team member commented on the perp (a gamer who became a drone pilot. I think? It doesn’t really matter. He’s some kind of geek). “Someone who lives in his mom’s basement might be shocked by it.” I’m surprised they didn’t add, “eating Cheetos”. The fact that it’s Aisha Tyler who says it (she’s a gamer) only adds to the grossness. Later on, the perp talks about how he was looked down upon by the military guys, and I’m so tired of the ‘poor picked on disturbed geek boy turns violent’ stereotype, I could vomit.

For whatever reason, though, I can’t stop watching. It’s like fast food–it tastes good at the time, but I hate myself afterwards. I don’t even feel good as I’m watching it, though. I used to do the same thing with Law & Order–watch countless episodes in a row, even though I knew it sucked. It’s almost like white noise to me, I guess.

When Ian lived in Raleigh, I was there for a visit once. We were walking downtown, and a man in a mini-van stopped to ask if we needed a ride. We declined, and he asked if we were sure. We said yes, and he left. It wasn’t a big deal, and I’m sure he’s a really nice guy, but I’d been watching a shit-ton of L&O, and I joked about how we could have just been the stars of L&O: Raleigh. “A nice man stopped to give them a ride. They got in, and their bodies were found by sanitation workers in the underpass the next morning.” Ian and I have joked about L&O many times. If you’re an unknown actor in the first scene, you’re probably going to find the body. If you’re a guest star with a big name, you’re either the big victim or the murderer. Ian said, “If you’re on screen at the 40 minute mark, you’re the killer.” I tested his theory, and he was pretty much right within a few minutes either way.

I have joked about writing for one of these shows, but I think it’d be a hoot. All the tropes you can cram in forty-five minutes! Oh, another thing that is irritating me about the current season of Criminal Minds. There is an Asian American character, Matt Simmon (played by the yummy Daniel Henney) who doesn’t have an Asian name, nor any Asian characteristics. In a few of the episodes, there are Asian characters, but they don’t have Asian names, either, or Asian characteristics. I’m talking Manning, Spitz, and Miller. I mean, maybe the characters weren’t written as Asian, but the Asian actors/actresses trying out for them were the best (though the case of the Mannings and the Millers, there are family members, which makes this reason more suspect), but it’s still strange that they wouldn’t change the last names. I don’t want stereotypical characters, but I don’t want tokens, either. There’s a lot of visual diversity on the show, but very little identity diversity. Most of the characters on the show could be played by any actor/actress and not make a difference.

Anyway, I’ll probably watch the rest of the season when it becomes available to me (free), but it’ll be like looking at an accident on the highway; I won’t feel good about it in the morning.

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