A Downside to Research

In my current WIP, RA2, my protagonist comes from a long line of military people. She’s American and her family has long ties to the various entities connected to the Marine Corps. I am neither American nor a part of any military branch, though a fascination with both cultures has helped to keep me informed. However, from day one of fine-tuning my character, I knew I needed to bolster my knowledge.

Like any male dominated body, the military has its dark side when it comes to women in its ranks –that I was prepared for. I’m an open eyed, realistic feminist. Men’s clubs don’t come without their dangers to women.

Doing my research and reading the myriad of different material I could find that was designed exclusively for men that projects misogyny, homophobia, and hyper-masculinity was what I was not prepared for. Even as I write that down I have to sigh at my own naivety. Boys clubs are boys clubs and those three things are heavily tied to most of them.

I won’t point fingers at any specific reading material, but I’m not overly impressed by any of it. There’s one item in particular though that I find exceedingly difficult to swallow, but I have to remind myself that (some) men really do connect with their fellow men by projecting the top dog image whose core is misogynistic, homophobic, and hyper-masculine. I am very much not the intended audience for such pieces. I roll my eyes, scoff, shake my head, and remind myself of that constantly.

I’m learning a lot, that’s my positive. I’m a big believer in learning from and about people you don’t see eye to eye with (an understatement in this case) because that’s the only way you’ll ever see the whole picture. Reading stuff that offends you, makes you mad, or even makes you a little sick to your stomach is definitely the downside of research. Just make it useful in the end.

Personally, for my own sanity and satisfaction, I’m subverting all my anger onto my villainous character who is a monumental jackass. I hate him but he has more ties to my main characters than either of them knows so he’ll be around far more than they know. I feel bad for her, but such is life.

For the record, I have enormous respect for all military branches. I have enormous respect for anyone who serves and protects their country. Every entity out there has dirty laundry they’d rather the world didn’t see. I would love to see a monumental mind shift in all boy’s clubs, that’s all.

When have you experienced a research downside?

CSI: A Fangirl’s Dissatisfaction and An Artist’s Promise

I need to start off by confessing that I watch a lot of TV. Like, a lot. It’s absolutely a guilty pleasure in my life, but I swear it helps me maintain my sanity. I know I would probably get more accomplished in life if I didn’t fill my evenings with time spent in front of the glowing screen. Alas.

CSI Brass and GrissomMany of these hours have been spent watching CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. When it comes to CSI, there are two people: those who love CSI and those who hate CSI. Regardless of what camp you fall in to, my post has something for you. Maybe.

This is also my mini-rant because I have nowhere else to share my thoughts.

Last weekend, on September 27th, the final episode of CSI aired. Shows end. I get that. There was absolutely no warning from the end of the season finale in spring to this September. I don’t follow TV show blogs and I did not see any previews, so I was really in the dark. I can get over that, but this alone was enough to upsets me because I’m really emotionally attached to the characters and the world. It’s not so much the loss of the show as the fantasy. I think any reader can understand where I’m coming from here in this regard. I had no time to learn the information about the absolute end, process it, and come to terms with it before I had to watch the episode.

You might think I’m overreacting, but you have to understand just how long I’ve been watching CSI. I’ve beenCSI Catherine and Grissom watching since the very beginning. I was 9 years old in 2000, but I remember sitting in the living room with my parents and brother watching the “Pilot” episode with its eerie green tinge and overworked forensic perspective. Those two aspects are what I fell in love with. And the science.

I’ve seen every episode over the past fifteen years. That’s fifteen years of me faithfully entering this world of crime and following the lives of the people who populate it. That’s investment.

What’s worse than an abrupt ending though, what I am legitimately angry about, is what a crappy ending the network powers-that-be created for CSI. I was up all night after watching it because I was so frustrated.

CSI DaveI warn you, there will be spoilers.

First off, the premise of the episode that brought all the major characters back into play, Grissom, Brass, Catherine, and Lady Heather, was so tenuous at best that I felt slightly insulted. Things only got worse.

There’s a love triangle, a ridiculous one, between Sarah, Grissom, and Lady Heather that was once again put into play despite the fact that Sarah and Grissom have married and divorced and the fact that Grissom has never been attracted to Lady Heather in a romantic sense. But how could the writers pass up a chance to make Sarah such a jealous nag? It was infuriating to watch her constantly snap like a little girl who’s pigtails were pulled.

Then, none of the current actors of the show were given much air time at all. I know they pulled in the big guns, but these people who have carried the show without them deserved more. And at the end we discovered one was dead via CSI Greg anda memorial plaque that was being placed in a box by another character along with a token mention. It wasn’t even explicit that she’d died.

Beyond all of that, the investigation was barely given any attention. Leads and crime fighting were spottily followed and there was absolutely no discussion or closure at the end which is very much a part of the CSI formula. At one point a third person died and we were never told who it was, why they were where they were, or how that tied in the eventual capture of the main culprit.

But to top off the heaping pile of BS, the story ended with Sarah and Grissom riding on his boat out into the sunset. I should mention this happened roughly five or six seasons back. Both of them quit the crime lab and took off together for happily ever after. Then Sarah came back, still married to Grissom, but wanting to be a part of the crime solution again. Eventually the long distance killed their relationship and it ended in a quiet divorce.

CSI Marcy, Hodgins, GrissomHowever, because they both realized how much they missed each other in this episode, doing the EXACT SAME THING made perfect sense. They talked through none of their problems of course repeating history would be the ultimate solution. My inner hopeless romantic fool couldn’t even swallow that. I won’t even get into how irate I am over them having a woman give up her career AGAIN because the man wants to pursue something else.

I feel robbed. The entire two hour story was fraught with basic plot problems and ended on such a bad note that I still have a sour taste in my mouth. I just want to know how the show’s producers and the TV powers-that-be could do that to their fans. I’m insulted. To the bone.CSI Nick and Russell

So here’s my promise: I will never, ever wrap up any story or series that I write this badly. If I can take away nothing else positive from this nightmare of a series finale, that is it. I promise any fans I may ever have that they will only be angry that the story is over, not that it ended on such flimsy, mediocre legs.

Thanks for bearing with me if you’ve made it to this point. Have you finished any TV or book series that left you dissatisfied?


*All images from IMBD.com