Was this any way to treat a teen heartthrob?
He’s Justin Bieber, for heaven’s sake – a clean-cut kid, not even old enough to shave (he’s 16), beloved by screaming, impressionable girls aged 12-14. And yet, on “CSI” Thursday night on CBS, wholesome Justin went down in a hail of bullets like he was Sonny Corleone or Clyde Barrow.
What’d Justin do on “CSI” to join the ranks of James Caan in “The Godfather” and Warren Beatty in “Bonnie and Clyde”? Facing a small army of police, he pulled out a pistol (a handgun so big he could barely get his fingers around the butt of it), got off at least one shot that appeared to hit a cop in his bullet-proof vest, and before you knew it, Justin was Swiss cheese.
And just in case our meaning eludes you: The police opened fire and Justin (reprising the role of troubled teen Jason McCann) was writhing in simulated pain as the “squibs” – which is what the special-effects people call the little pellets of red-dyed sugar water that they affix to shooting victims in TV shows and movies – exploded beneath his sweatshirt, soaking the front of it in simulated blood.
Watch Bieber’s “CSI” Death Scene:
Certainly, you might say this Jason character “deserved” his fate. To get to this point, he had already conspired with another guy – a psychopathic Army vet who learned all about rigging explosives while in the service – to wire a warehouse with a timebomb to entrap and murder CSIs Nick Stokes (George Eads) and Catherine Willows (Marg Helgenberger). They survived, but only because a courageous bomb squad officer smothered the bomb with his body and paid for this brave deed with his life.
But come on, really? Justin Bieber as a crazed, pistol-toting, cop-killing mad bomber? What’s next for Justin, the title role in a TV movie about Ted Kaczynski (working title: “The Unabomber: The Early Years”)?
And what about all the young fans who watched “CSI” because their idol was appearing on the show? For the record, nearly 1 million kids, ages 2-17, watched the show, according to Nielsen overnight data for the 9-10 p.m. hour (8-9c). To be exact, the total was 965,500 – 478,000 teens aged 12-17 and 487,500 kids aged 2-11. In total viewers, the show attracted 13.266 million.
Sure, maybe Jason McCann’s death made a certain amount of sense as far as the show’s storyline was concerned. But for the sake of the young fans who would certainly be watching, couldn’t the producers have come up with a less-jarring, more chaste way of choreographing his sendoff? Perhaps one bullet would have sufficed instead of 600.
Or to pose a more general question: Isn’t anyone concerned about TV violence anymore?