You should always watch "TMZ" -- not every night, but at least once or twice a week. It's not the place to go to discover the most pertinent truths about contemporary Hollywood or even current celebrity, but it's certainly what you need to see to check up on the state of malice in America.
One of my favorite recent "TMZ" reports showed us David Caruso arriving at an airport. The smirky ex-surfers, lawyers and fame-dishers of "TMZ" just couldn't get over the fact that Caruso, apparently, travels with a hefty supply of autographed pictures of himself for those fans (or even innocent, unworshipful bystanders) he might encounter -- someone, say, who upon a sudden Caruso meeting might suddenly rhapsodize over how much fuller their life had become.
What ego, said the sluggardly tsk-tskers of "TMZ." What crazy, hard-headed practicality I thought, marveling, as always, at David Caruso's continually hilarious engagement with prime-time TV and what it brings him. Let other stars sign autographs for fans and leak noblesse oblige all over everyone; Caruso merely has to reach into his pocket and hand over a pre-autographed pic without saying a word while going on about his intended business. Why bother pretending that he actually cares about -- oh, you know -- FANS, especially if you're an actor and have to pretend things all the time for a living?
The man's a genuine legend, I tell you.
I love everything about David Caruso on "CSI: Miami": the stylized lunacy of his performance, with his arch line deliveries and constant sideways stances at right angles to other cast members; the sunglasses, which have increasingly come to symbolize his character, Horatio Caine, the way a black mask stood for the Lone Ranger. It's all joyously nuts.
When last we left Horatio Caine at the end of last season, he was face down on the airport tarmac in a pool of blood -- shot and apparently dead.
And anyone who believed Caruso was actually gone from "CSI: Miami" has an Alaska governor to vote for as vice president in the next election.
It took 17 minutes for Monday's "CSI: Miami" to inform us that, yes, Horatio Caine is still alive and David Caruso is still making Monday night a home for the wackiest and most absurd "CSI" show of them all.
It took a half hour to fully impart the information that the episode was lousy -- not quite Sunday Emmy lousy but a profoundly crummy chase after "fused alloy" bullets involving all manner of people who should know better.
Meanwhile, across the dial on "Boston Legal," James Spader was having erotic daydreams about Ally Walker, which only made our hourlong commitment to Caruso's Caravan that much more painful.
Thank God for DVRs. Otherwise, Dave and his autographed pictures might be in trouble.
And by the way, if you ever run into Caruso at an airport or buying a Diet Coke at a Burger King, get an extra pre-autographed picture for me, will you?
I never ask anyone for autographs. But, honest, I'd cherish one of those.