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Following Seas

Posted by Baceseras on June 16, 2009 at 18:49

In Reply to: Following Seas posted by Smokey Stover on June 16, 2009 at 04:37:

: : : : "...Following Seas" discussion. The fuller quote is: "Fair winds and following seas and long may your big jib draw". It's a Navy benediction recently brought out into the current daylight by a TV series, NCSI, in which the actor, Mark Harmon, offers this appropriate valediction to another naval officer. This is probably the dead end of the search. The quote's origin has likely snapped off in history.

: : :
: : : ..
: : : Lest anylone find the typo, NCSI, confusing, the name of the series is "NCIS" (Naval Criminal Investigative Service). "Fair wind and following seas" is one of several mottos or slogans injected by producer/writer Donald Belisario to . . . what? To remind us that the NCIS is a naval outfit? To curry favaor with SecNav? The series if full of authentic service abbreviations as well as other insiders' lingo. The Marines, as part of the Navy, get all their own slogans and lingo as well. We hear Semper Fi (perhaps related to Semper Fidelis, which you never hear uttered), as well as plenty of Oo-rahs.

: : : The ostentatious chauvinism towards the U.S. Armed Forces, particularly the Navy, which was also evident in Belisario's "JAG," pays off big, as the Navy appears to put its ships to a remarkable extent in the service of the show. But Belisario comes by his worshipful attitude honestly, as he is a Navy veteran himself. He has had to give up writing for the show because of a sort of cast mutiny. They were not getting their scripts on time.

: : : It will not have escaped your attention that the name Belisario is the Italian version of Belisarius, the greatest general the Byzantine Empire ever had, who served Emperor Justinian I ably during the 6th century.
: : : SS, TMI?

: : [The typo NCSI must have come about naturally because the show seems to be a "Naval" version of "CSI", the cluster of shows with that name standing for "Crime Scene Investigators", about the fantastic adventures of some intrepid forensic scientists with extrasensory psychic powers (never mentioned but on display in every episode). The "ostentatious chauvinism" in the presentation of the military justicers (and the science cops, too) strikes me as just the flip-side of the mechanical "irreverence" larded over other teams and institutions, in much of the rest of TV programming. I disregard it. On occasion I have watched "JAG", often with the sound off, and I disregard every shot that doesn't contain the lovely Catherine Bell. When they weren't photographing her they were wasting film, and they'll have to answer for it if God is just. - Bac.]

: Our British friends must wonder about all the todo over a couple of American television shows devoted to the naval version of cops-and-robbers. I have watched most of the episodes of JAG, including those featuring the busty Catherine Bell, of Persian-American ancestry. (She speaks some Farsi in one or two episodes.) I also saw the opening of the series when it was on NBC, first with Andrea Parker (who soon left to star in The Pretenders), then with Tracey Needham playing Meg Austin. My take was that the story-line was better when the series was on NBC, and the elegant, somewhat willowy Tracey Needham (as Meg Austin) fit the story's needs perfectly. She was far from a wimp, neither was she a hotsy-totsy, but she was strong and classy. When the production moved to another network, and Catherine Bell replaced Tracey Needham, Bell became the story, and the narrative therefore changed drastically.

: "CSI" and its offspring, even while sharing the law-forensics-adventure axis with Bellisario's work (under the rubric Belisarius Productions), is more typical of Jerry Bruckheimer's type of show, in which many episodes end in tragic irony, often provoking tears in those with tears to spare. I'll gladly put up CSI's Marg Helgenberger (Catherine Willows) against Catherine Bell. Helgenberger, more beautiful than ever in her late 40s, is what keeps CSI alive. Hide her, as they seem to be doing lately, and the show will die.
: SS, definitely TMI.

[And every time I see the abbreviation 'TMI', I think, "What's Three-Mile Island got to do with anything?" - Bac.]