There's been a lot of fun-making around Beetsland lately regarding the unconventional and questionable acting ability of one Mr. David Caruso, better known as Lieutenant Horatio "H" Caine of CSI: Miami.
Let it first be said that Ida and I guiltily adore this show as well as the entire CSI series - (favorite imaginary subtext in CSI:NY scenes featuring Gary Sinise - "I'm Gary Sinise, by the way, so f*ck you.").
Back to Caruso in Miami, though. We've spent many an evening trying to make sense of the train-wreck that is often the ex-NYPD Blue star's palate of acting choices. Being theatre people ourselves, we spend a little more time on this than others might, however it is a constant and delightful source of speculation for us in the league of, say, our favorite jigsaw or crossword. You know, if we actually wasted our time on those kinds of things. Ida can often be found staring at the television, slack-jawed and mumbling: "How does he get away with that crap?". For, in truth, he is gloriously terrible. Indeed, friends, he is not Gary-Sinise-by-the-way-so-f*ck-you.
After last night's episode, though, I think I may have come closer to making the case for the Defense of David Caruso's Acting Career - how, in fact, he does get away with that crap...
I submit that David Caruso is a scene partner's DREAM!
Any actor who's ever endured trying to tap-dance their way out of a bit of terrible writing knows how it feels to be abandoned by their scene partner. One who either A) actually likes the terrible writing and makes it their own personal audition monologue, leaving you to look pretty along with the other set dressing, or B) flaccidly submits to the horrible text and forces you carry the dead weight of everyone else in the scene. I myself have often silently begged actors, "Good choice, bad choice, just MAKE A CHOICE, for the love of all that is holy!"
Well, Mr. Caruso doesn't know me, so I can't expect him to cater to my individual needs as a viewer, BUT I will allow that he always makes some strong choice or other given the underlying fact that the writing on the show is a true suck-fest. Come on, it's Jerry Bruckheimer, after all.
Caruso always gives his scene partner something strong (sometimes strong-smelling) to work with. Whether it's an obtusely growled threat or his ubiquitous "friendly chat with a child victim that always ends up looking creepy" scene (about every other episode), our red-headed Irishman in Miami never leaves his co-stars lacking for something, anything, to which to react onscreen. It's not the best formula for success, but it sure can be fun to watch. And there's all that lush Miami scenery to chew on.
The real tragedy here is that Caruso, by all fourth-hand accounts, is a Grade-A Diva on the set, or else a stone-cold weirdo. Or perhaps both. Though this is America, where I suppose it's just unrealistic to expect that an actor have the depth of personality to play the Weirdo on TV and be somewhat Normal in Real Life.
Because, let's face it, only the British can pull that off.